Carl Howard Sits Down with Lane Report, Talks All Things Fazoli’s
Carl Howard, CEO of Fazoli’s, recently sat down with Mark Green, Executive Editor of Lane Report, to discuss everything about our brand. From how we started to our competition, our leadership support, our growth/future plans and so much more, Carl opened up about all the ins and outs of our brand, and today, we’d like to share with you some of the key points that were brought up.
Let’s start with some background on our company. For those of you who are new to the Fazoli’s brand, we were founded over 25 years ago by Jerrico Inc. when there was a need for a new restaurant concept – at first it was called Grazie’s, but later it became Fazoli’s. After selling the restaurants to Kuni Toyoda, Fazoli’s began to expand quickly and the brand went through a bit of a rough patch through the mid-2000s. After the company was sold again to Sun Capital, Carl had the opportunity to come on board in 2008, and the rest, as they say, is history!
At Fazoli’s, we consider ourselves to fall into the “Premium Fast” category – in his interview with Mark Green, Carl explains that this has to do with the way we’ve repositioned ourselves to not be a QSR brand. Rather than compete on speed and price, we’re truly focused on food service and quality, so while we still have a drive-through and other features that resemble quick-service restaurants, it’s our dine-in experience that really sets us apart from the rest.
Carl later goes on to discuss where you can find a Fazoli’s near you, and how many of our franchisees operate. Right now most of our locations are in the Midwest, including Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and Missouri. However, we also have restaurants in Texas, California, Michigan and Wisconsin, and we’re certainly hoping to expand into new markets in the near future. When breaking things down, we have a great mix of single-unit and multiple-unit restaurant operators – it’s really 50/50!
Why We Succeed
During his interview, Carl touched on how Fazoli’s is continuing to see such tremendous success despite what others in the restaurant industry are experiencing. Simply put, it has to do with our unique positioning. As Carl states:
“No one can do what we do, as I said, at a $7 price point. The brand’s really right for the times. We can still provide a much better experience in our restaurants than you can get at the grocery store or replicate at home, and we’re not done. We’re constantly working on improvement. We’re working on our facilities. At the end of the day, we’re just different. We’re better, and we’re less expensive than our competitors. And it’s a good business model.”
Something else that we believe contributes to our success is the wonderful leadership team that provides support to each of our franchisees. As Carl explains, all members of our leadership team are former franchisees, so they know what it’s like to be in our current franchise owners’ positions. That said, we’re always focused on providing the best support possible, which is why we’ve set things up for our business consultants to be able to form great relationships with the franchisees they oversee. For example, the territories they are responsible for are smaller than most franchise business consultants. Ultimately, this really enhances communication and results in a more positive (and successful) experience.
Our goal is to open 16 new locations next year, and we’re excited to be able to say that we’re getting a lot of activity from prospective franchisees. Last summer, we signed nine new franchise groups with commitments to build 22 locations nationwide (a record for us), and in this fiscal year, we’ll have 12 new locations open.
And why is right now the prime time to franchise with Fazoli’s? Carl puts it like this:
“The return on investment is strong, our positioning is great, we’re unique – we’re different from chicken, Mexican, burger-and-fries, so it complements your portfolio if you already have something like that. And in six months to a year from now, some of the things that we’re going to be doing are really going to surprise people. We’ve got some major consumer upgrades in test and what we call ‘Fazoli’s 3.0’ And we’re going to do it without having to charge.”
If you’re interested in franchising, we highly encourage you to speak with one of our franchise development team members to learn how you can get involved with Fazoli’s.
To learn more about our current franchise opportunities, contact Sam Nelson at 1-800-446-4368 or fill out our information request form online.
To read Carl’s full interview with Lane Report, click here!
- Trusted and experienced leadership
- Strong brand reputation
- Stable and growing system performance
- High growth potential
- Attractive financial performance
- Operational & portfolio compatibility