Carl Howard: The Man Behind It All
Our first restaurant may have opened back in 1988, but it was in 2008 that we first found our secret ingredient (and no, it’s not something we put in our food, it’s our CEO!).
We’ve always been proud of our brand and our franchise, but in recent years, Carl Howard has taken our restaurant to an entirely new level. In a recent article by the Franchise Times, Carl reflects on his early days as our new leader:
“The brand was really in dark times. The consumer was migrating away and leaving because of food quality and menu variety, and there was really no strategy in place to study the consumer.”
Realizing that something had to be done to enhance the customer experience and improve the overall quality of our brand, Carl shifted his focus from competing on speed and price to competing on service and food quality. After completing a number of internal and external surveys, he developed a plan to bring Fazoli’s back to the top – his plan included actions such as:
- Ensuring that food is freshly prepared – nothing is made until you order it
- Improving 90% of our menu
- Refreshing the look and feel of our restaurants
- Eliminating foam plates and plastic cutlery
- Bringing back a fan favorite – the breadstick delivery service
At first, Carl had some push back from owernship, as well as some members of his own executive team, and didn’t receive the feedback he was looking for (in part due to financial circumstances), but despite that, he was so committed and dedicated to making a positive change that he went ahead with his plans in Dayton, Ohio. Here, he rolled out new menu items that were developed by restaurant consultants from The Culinary Edge, introduced better cheeses and richer sauces, brought in authentic dishes and cutlery, and made some cosmetic changes to the dining room.
By 2012, Carl explains that once again our brand was stable, and he eventually got the go ahead to make these same changes nationwide (being persistent pays off!). Under his leadership, we’ve seen the following:
- 13 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth to date
- 91 locations break sales records
- Overall sales up 4.8% on a 3.5% traffic increase during the last fiscal year
So how would Carl sum it all up? It’s simple:
“These are the fun days. These are the days you can celebrate, sit back, reflect and say it was really worth it.”
Carl has been an incredible asset to our brand, and we are so thrilled to have him on our team. He was named the No. 1 restaurant executive on the 2014 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, named the Gold Stevie Award Winner in 2013, named the 2013 Food and Beverage Executive of the Year by the American Business Association and so much more – the list of his accomplishments goes on and on!
If you’re looking to break into the franchise industry, we would love for you to consider joining us. Between our incredible franchising team and training/support alone, we have everything you need to have a successful franchising career.
To learn more about our current franchise opportunities, contact Sam Nelson at 1-800-446-4368 or fill out our information request form online.
Click here to view Carl’s full story in the Franchise Times!
- Our franchisees are enjoying record sales with over two years of same store sales growth!
- Flexible footprint with inline, freestanding, and conversion options.
- Highly regarded by customers and the foodservice industry.
- Recently expanded Real Estate support.