America’s largest premium QSR Italian chain prepares for breakout year with focus on technology, menu innovation and brand expansion
Lexington, KY (RestaurantNews.com) After ending 2019 up 1.23% over its other QSR competitors, Fazoli’s – the brand known for serving premium Italian recipes at a great value – is poised to make 2020 the brand’s best year yet.
“2019 was another triumphant year for Fazoli’s,” said Fazoli’s President and CEO Carl Howard. “We made huge development strides to expand our brand’s footprint into new markets throughout the country. For 2020, we are gearing up for major enhancements in technology and menu innovation – plus, we will continue our aggressive development plans. 2020 is going to be a breakout year for Fazoli’s.”
The iconic Italian brand is committed to enhancing all off-premise business and digital technology. Fazoli’s established a new partnership with Olo that expands its capabilities to streamline mobile ordering. Following the transition to Olo in late 2019, Fazoli’s online ordering channel was up 79.7%. Upgrades to the mobile app resulted in creating a frictionless user experience for guests – highlighted by enhancements to mobile ordering and a new points-based rewards system. With the new and improved Fazoli’s app experience, guests order, earn and redeem faster and easier. Just one month following the launch, loyalty sales increased 42%. Maintaining this momentum in 2020, Fazoli’s will set its sights on opportunities to further utilize technology to create a quick and seamless ordering experience for busy, on-the-go consumers. New initiatives like AI voice ordering and self-serve kiosks provide opportunities for Fazoli’s to be easily accessible for consumers – the brand is focused on staying top of mind by integrating technology that allows guests to access their favorite menu item when they want it, where they want it.
Fazoli’s drove menu innovation to new heights in 2019 and 2020 will be no exception. In December, the acclaimed chain became the first Italian brand to debut plant-based Impossible™ meat sauce, which it tested in Spaghetti and Baked Spaghetti dishes at all locations in Lexington, Kentucky, where the brand is headquartered. This spring, Fazoli’s plans to roll out Impossible™ meat sauce and Impossible™ meatballs systemwide. While delicious pasta is the heart of Fazoli’s, the brand is continuously exploring new menu items that address changes in consumer dining behavior, such as lower carb and gluten-friendly options.
A key to the brand’s expansion success in 2019 was the execution of five area development agreements in Missouri, Florida, Eastern Kentucky, and North Carolina. In 2020, the brand plans to open nearly a dozen new locations and sign an additional 15 new franchisees who will open a total of nearly 30 new locations by the end of 2021. Fazoli’s accelerated growth plan doesn’t stop there. With remodeled locations up nearly 8%, Fazoli’s will continue to drive its remodel initiative, with several locations currently underway. The brand has a goal of completing a total system remodel by the end of 2021.
“We look forward to another year of dominating the industry,” Howard said. “With all of these initiatives in place, we certainly have our foot on the gas for 2020.”
Fazoli’s: Fast. Fresh. Italian.
Founded in 1988 in Lexington, Ky., Fazoli’s owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states, making it the largest elevated QSR Italian chain in America. Fazoli’s prides itself on serving premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. Menu offerings include freshly prepared pasta entrees, Submarinos® sandwiches, salads, pizza and desserts – along with its unlimited signature breadsticks. Named one the “Best Franchise Opportunities for 2018” by Franchise Business Review, a FastCasual.com “Brand of the Year,” and an Entrepreneur 2018 “Franchise 500.” Recipient of the 2019 American Business Awards Gold Stevie Awards in Food & Beverage for Company of the Year and Achievement in Management by CEO Carl Howard. For locations, hours, menus and more information, visit fazolis.com.