Fazoli's Opens Three More Travel Center Restaurants

Eight more in convenience channel pipeline this year

Fazoli's (CSP Daily News / Convenience Stores / Travel Centers)

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- Fresh Italian food concept Fazoli's has opened three new restaurants in travel centers. Fazoli's opened franchised units in Dubuque, Iowa, in May at a Rainbo Oil Kwik Stop, in Glenwood Springs, Colo., in early June at a LOCO Inc. location and in Whitehouse, Texas, in late June at a new gas station development.

All three are operated by new franchisees, the first of 11 franchised and company restaurants scheduled to open this year.

Fazoli's said that another location, operated by the company, is scheduled to open in late August in Dayton, Ohio, followed by franchised restaurants in Elkins, W.Va., Franklin, Ind., Parkersburg, W.Va., Indianapolis, Morehead, Ky. and Tyler, Texas. This fall, Fazoli's will open its first college campus location, which will be operated by Texas Tech University.

The chain operates on the border between fast-casual and premium quick-service restaurant (QSR), has ventured into the convenience store and travel center space in the past two years and now has a total of six travel center locations.

Footprints range from 1,700 square feet to 2,400 square feet with full menu with seating and drive thru; a 500-square-foot foot court-type floor plan is also available. The company has also launched the Venti Tre fast-casual concept.

Franchisees, which make up approximately 45% of Fazoli's total units, reported May same-store sales jumped 8.3% over last year, adding to a 14-month streak of comp-store sales increases, the company said.

"Consumers today want high quality, flavorful food at an affordable price, which is exactly what Fazoli's is delivering," said Carl Howard, president and CEO.

"Innovative new promotions, like the Ultimate Pasta Bowls and the extremely successful Cheesecake with Nutella are creating a lot of enthusiasm among guests and franchisees," said Bob Hoseus, a Columbus, Ohio-based franchise owner. "Along with strong sales, it's very exciting to have new operators invest in the Fazoli's system."

The chain also recently added several stuffed pasta dishes to its menu.

Howard added that new franchisees--especially convenience store and travel center operators--are attracted to the brand because it offers a compelling alternative to other QSR concepts. "Fazoli's is helping them elevate the quality of food and level of service they offer their customers, enabling them to generate more traffic."

He said that convenience store and travel center restaurants units draw local guests as well as travelers.

Fazoli’s features a premium menu of freshly prepared Italian entrees, Submarinos sandwiches and salads, a new service style featuring table service and a contemporary new restaurant design. With approximately 220 company and franchised restaurants in 26 states, Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli's was acquired by Sun Capital Partners in 2006.