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When it comes to running a franchise system, there’s one very important ingredient that we just couldn’t do without — and that’s our dedicated franchise owners!

Hailing from Springfield, Missouri, James Jacobsen has had his head and his heart in the restaurant world since the young age of 14. He started out working as a dishwasher at a nursing home, and from there, the rest was history!

Today, he is one of many proud Fazoli’s franchise owners across the nation. So, without further ado, we’d like to introduce you to James and his story, both before and after Fazoli’s — check out his interview with us below:

Q: Where is your Fazoli’s franchise located?

I actually own two Fazoli’s restaurants — one in Springfield, Missouri and another in Joplin, Missouri.

Q: When did you become a Fazoli’s franchisee?

Back in 1995, I began my Fazoli’s career as director of operations, working for Fazoli’s franchisee, Larry Graham. Twenty years later, in 2015, I became a partner in the business.

Q: How many people do you have on staff?

We currently employ more than 80 people across our two locations.

Q: How did you first learn about Fazoli’s?

Believe it or not, I learned about Fazoli’s from a good old-fashioned recruitment ad in the local newspaper!

Q: What prompted you to choose Fazoli’s over other franchises?

Like any good entrepreneur, I made sure to do my research and was impressed by what I found — high-quality food ingredients and a unique market positioning of the brand.

Q: What advice would you give someone looking to buy a Fazoli’s franchise?

Follow the systems and recommendations that have been established by Fazoli’s Management Group, L.L.C. — no deviations! And hire the best people to operate your business. It’s almost that easy. The systems in place –  from the design, equipment package, operations and training – are in place to help ensure each franchisee’s success.

Q: How do you feel about being part of the brand?

Energized and enthusiastic. It seems that the brand is always evolving to meet the high demands of the consumer. What more could you ask for in a franchise system?

Q: What do you think have been some key factors in your success with Fazoli’s?

We are a people-based business first and foremost. Hiring the best, training them according to established training procedures, and following all operational procedures can all attribute to the successes we’ve seen. On top of that, my wife and I are proud to be connected to Fazoli’s in our local community. It is important to get involved with the community as business owners and support local schools and other non-profit charities that are established to help those in need.

Q: What did you do prior to franchising with Fazoli’s?

Before deciding to take the plunge and own my own business, I was employed in healthcare foodservice for several years, working my way up to executive chef by joining the Springfield, Missouri Chefs Association. After six years as an executive chef at a major healthcare facility, I became the executive chef of the largest hotel in Springfield for another six years. Following my stint in healthcare foodservice, I was offered an opportunity to open a new fine-dining restaurant in Branson, Missouri and accepted the position of general manager/executive chef of a 600-seat, two-story restaurant. Finally, I joined Fazoli’s in 1995, and it has remained a perfect fit for my family and myself ever since!

Q: Are you involved in any community organizations personally?

Yes! I’m on the Advisory Board for Crosslines in Springfield, Missouri — a food distribution pantry for those in need.

And there you have it — a behind the scenes look at one of our franchisee superstars! And that’s not all. When James is not busy running the show at one of his two restaurants or helping out at Crosslines, he loves spending time with his family camping, hunting, and fishing.