Creating a brand that stands the test of time is no easy task. Growing chains are continually challenged with evolving to stay relevant and keep guests engaged. That’s why after nearly 35 years, Fazoli’s takes a modern approach to proactively introduce new brand enhancements that elevate the guest experience and set its franchisees up for success.
In 2015, Franchisee Terry Chepy purchased two existing Fazoli’s locations in Jackson and Lansing, Michigan. In the last few years, he’s seen Fazoli’s launch advanced technologies and new menu items system-wide, and his restaurants underwent remodels, all of which attributed to a jump in sales.
Chepy shared his perspective on operating a Fazoli’s franchise and why he believes the iconic Italian brand has staying power:
What initially attracted you to the Fazoli’s brand?
My whole career has revolved around entrepreneurship, from my 30-year career in catering to owning apartment buildings. When I started looking at franchises, I was living in Florida and wanted to move back to my home state of Michigan. I began looking at established brands that were not only well-known but would continue to progress in the future. While doing research, the Fazoli’s opportunity popped up on my radar, and I knew it was the right step in my future. Fazoli’s is a strong, dynamic brand, and the people in the company are open, honest and transparent. Also, current franchisees told me that with several new developments planned, it was the perfect time to join the brand.
What enhancements have been offered since joining the Fazoli’s franchise family?
Even though fans already love Fazoli’s, there is still an opportunity for the brand to grow and adapt. I’m impressed that the Fazoli’s team continues to modernize. In my first year with Fazoli’s, the brand implemented a new POS and software system that helped increase efficiency. We also completely changed the way we operated. These updates ultimately prepared us for the global crisis that we recently faced. Fazoli’s had the foresight to make updates that have been instrumental to our success. When Fazoli’s introduced its new prototype, the company did a great job of refining the remodeling process and outlining the benefits for franchisees. By the time my locations underwent renovations, it was one-third of the cost initially presented to us. To say it was a good bang for my buck would be an understatement!
How has remodeling affected your sales?
When I renovated my Jackson restaurant in October 2018, we had to close our dining room for a couple of weeks but were able to keep the drive-thru open. For the Lansing remodel, which was completed in 2020, I was more familiar with the process. We closed the restaurant for a little bit during the beginning of the pandemic, but there wasn’t much of an impact because dining rooms were forced to close regardless. Our newly remodeled drive-thru offers better visibility and clearer communication, which has helped dramatically with the upsurge in orders through this channel. Our dining room design looks fresher and more inviting, providing our guests with a fun and comfortable atmosphere. In the second half of 2020, our sales rebounded as guests began to venture back out during the pandemic, and now they are up over 40% YOY in 2021. This has led to greater profitability as well.
How has Fazoli’s helped you succeed?
Any time I’ve had a question – and I had a lot of questions – when getting started, it was always easy finding someone to help me navigate those challenges, and they consistently responded clearly and quickly. From top to bottom, someone was available for support. As we were going through the pandemic, I got a personal phone call from CEO Carl Howard asking how I was doing, and he shared his vision for how Fazoli’s would come out of the crisis stronger than ever. How many franchisors did that? I thought it was inspiring, and it made me feel valued and more confident in the relationship we have with the company.
As a Fazoli’s franchisee, what are you looking forward to in the future?
Fazoli’s continues to be revolutionary in all aspects of the business, and this is something new franchisees should be excited about. By ensuring we have the proper resources needed to be successful and implementing leading-edge technologies, they are partners with us for the future. On the culinary side, I get excited when the brand updates the menu with delicious new items like wings and mozzarella skewers. Guests love coming into Fazoli’s and having the option of selecting a classic Italian favorite or a new craveable, original dish.
In the last few years, the Fazoli’s team has strategically executed inventive initiatives that reflect the brand’s commitment to providing an exceptional guest experience. People love Fazoli’s, which makes becoming a franchisee an easy decision!
As the largest premium QSR Italian chain in America, Fazoli’s is a fast-growing franchise that owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 27 states. For more information about Fazoli’s franchise opportunities, visit ownafazolis.com or contact Fazoli’s Sales Team – Steve Bailey at firstname.lastname@example.org or David Boatright at email@example.com.