Carl Howard Speaks with Pizza Today: When is it Time for a Restaurant Refresh?
Change — just the very word is enough to send some people running for the hills. But at Fazoli’s, we accepted the challenge head-on.
After a successful remodel of several of our restaurants (and more to come) our President and CEO Carl Howard was asked by Pizza Today about just how we knew it was time for a refresh and how we managed to do it the right way.
“Times they are a-changin’.”
With new technology rolling out year-after-year and trends coming and going in the blink of an eye, it’s important for restaurants to always maintain a fresh, updated look.
But knowing when to rebrand is never easy. Essentially, “If you’re underperforming, it’s probably time to rebrand,” said Carl. “Look at same-store sales and traffic, year-over-year, compared to your peer group,” advises Carl, who believes declining sales go hand-in-hand with a stale brand.
At Fazoli’s, we knew it was time to rebrand once we noticed that an influx of thousands of guests a week was starting to take a toll on our dining room, specifically the seats and booths. In Carl’s words, “…you have to invest capital to keep things fresh and relevant or you’ll lose business. People don’t want to sit in an old, outdated restaurant where the paint is chipped and the booths are worn.” We put together a thorough remodel plan that covered both interior and exterior updates.
Updating your brand the right way.
Very rarely does a brand need to undergo an entire overhaul. The key to a successful remodel is to make small changes over time. Too many drastic changes can alienate your existing audience or confuse people. It’s best to start with minor changes, like an improved menu and updated dining rooms.
And the ultimate key to success? Go straight to the source — your guests. To ensure we got our remodels right the first time, we simply asked guests, “What would you like to see in an updated Fazoli’s?” And our guests didn’t disappoint. We received some phenomenal feedback, like differentiated seating options, a peek behind the counter into what our kitchen staff is working on, and quicker on-the-go ordering. Needless to say, we now proudly offer a wide variety of seating choices that cater to everyone, from families and children to the elderly, as well as a partially open kitchen and free WiFi!
Technology, technology, technology.
Restaurants that haven’t yet made their way into the 21st century are going to get left behind. But “going digital” means a lot more than just having a website. We noticed that our guests wanted the option of ordering online and having their meals ready to go when they walked in the door. That’s why, in addition to our existing online ordering of catered meals, we’re rolling out a new loyalty program app and individual online ordering.
If you want to bring fast, fresh Italian food to your local market, contact Sam Nelson at 1-800-446-4368 to discuss franchise opportunities or fill out our information request form online.
- 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.