Premium quick-service restaurant Fazoli's, recently rated No. 2 overall among large national fast-food chains in the prestigious Zagat Survey, is continuing its expansion into travel-center and convenience-store locations.
Franchise operator Aditi Italian Fast Food, headed by Chintu Patel, has opened the newest location on Interstate 74 in Shelbyville, Indiana, 25 miles east of Indianapolis. It offers dine-in, carryout, and drive-thru options.
This is Fazoli's second travel-center locations. Par Mar Stores opened the first earlier this year in Fairmont, West Virginia.
Patel, developer of the travel center, is also the franchisee of the center's Dunkin' Donuts and Orange Leaf frozen yogurt units. In addition, he operates the center's convenience store and gas station, and has leased remaining space to Penn Station Subs.
Elsewhere, Patel owns and manages five other travel centers in the Southeast, 54 Subway restaurants in two states, nine Orange Leaf units in three states, and several hotels.
Patel says he was attracted to Fazoli's for a number of reasons, including its position in the fast-casual segment. "People are spending less money, but they want a dining experience that goes beyond fast food," he adds.
Craig Sherwood, Fazoli's vice president of franchise development, says, "Fazoli's offers harried traveleres a unique combination of high-quality, quickly prepared Italian food; table service; and a contemporary, comfortable enviornment."
Another four travel-center locations are set to open next year in Ohio and Indiana.
"Travel centers are a strong growth vehicle for Fazoli's, with operators increasingly looking for more compelling restaurant concepts," Sherwood says.
Patel says initial sales are exceeding expectations. He has agreed to open two additional travel-center units before the end of 2013 in Indiana, with the next one expected to open next summer.
Fazoli's also has developed a new stand-alone prototype, which is scheduled to open December 18 in Murray, Kentucky. TeCaSe is the franchisee.