When people crave for quality Italian food, Fazoli’s is perhaps one of the top-of-mind restaurants that people really want to go to. Any craving for Italian food will surely be satisfied in any of Fazoli’s 217 stores across 26 states in the US. With the mission of serving America with premium quality Italian food that’s fast, fresh & friendly, you can’t go wrong with Fazoli’s. But how did Fazoli’s come to be? Where does Fazoli’s story begin?
In 1988, a multi-brand group of restaurants that’s based in Lexington, Kentucky created the Fazoli’s brand. This group was named Jerrico, Inc., and it was also the parent company of Long John Silver’s restaurants. In 1990, Fazoli’s had grown into a 5-restaurant brand, but Jerrico wanted to focus on Long John Silver’s. This is when the Italian restaurant concept was sold to SRG or Seed Restaurant Group, Inc. Still based in Lexington, SRG wanted to experiment with and evolve the concept of an Italian restaurant – promptly adding other exciting items in the menu. Another change that happened was focusing more on the pasta selection rather than the pizza, because the pizza industry was already quite well-established at that time, and Fazoli’s didn’t offer home deliveries anyway.
Healthy and Happy Eating
Fazoli’s started shifting to cooking the pasta more firmly (“al dente”), and the market trend towards health consciousness in the 1990s became a very interesting time for Fazoli’s as well. Kuni Toyoda, who headed SRG at that time, wanted to ride on this trend of healthy eating and present the Fazoli’s concept as one that’s a better alternative to traditional fast food like burgers and fries. The strategy worked because the items in Fazoli’s menu were not only healthier, they were more affordable as well. Fazoli’s customers are always treated to free drink refills and an unlimited supply of breadsticks, which was a strategy that made customers keep going back for more.
The happiness that customers feel when they eat at Fazoli’s is not just because of the delectable food. It’s also because Fazoli’s gives premium focus on customer service, making sure that new employees go through a one-week seminar and managers go through a five-week program. Every Fazoli’s employee you come across with, from the waiters to the manager, will offer you the same premium customer service. This emphasis and investment on the development of Fazoli’s employees have made all the difference, and it easily translates to customer satisfaction.
In 2006, Sun Capital Partners Inc. bought Fazoli’s for an estimated $100 million price tag. The new ownership revitalized Fazoli’s menu and plans for expansion. Of course, Fazoli’s has always known that in the restaurant business, you not only need to continue serving quality food in a quality manner. You also have to constantly innovate yourself from within. This is what separates the good restaurants from the great ones. Each dining experience in Fazoli’s is exciting because you never know what new thing to expect. After all, if you look at their history, Fazoli’s has spent many years innovating their menu – from debuting a new six-layer lasagna in 2003 to introducing a 9-inch brick oven pizza in 2004, to introducing over 30 new items in the menu and changing about 80% of their menu in 2009.
Fazoli’s is not only known for its quality Italian food. Beyond the food is Fazoli’s identity as a company, and this is where its values come in. Throughout Fazoli’s journey from its humble beginnings to where it is today, these values have helped shape the company and guide it all throughout:
“Great Guest Service is what we do”
Customers in Fazoli’s are treated like kings, and this is why they keep coming back. With its special meals and activities for kids, guests that tag children along don’t have to worry.
“People come first”
Fazoli’s is very particular with prioritizing people – from its employees to its customers. This is why there’s a focus on the training of its people and making sure that they provide the best customer service possible.
“Integrity is everything”
Integrity is also a critical part of the Fazoli’s culture, and this is apparent in the way employees do their jobs – from preparing the food in the kitchen to making sure customers get only the best ingredients that will satisfy them. Fazoli’s will always deliver its promises to customers.
“Teamwork makes the difference”
To deliver only the best to its customers, teamwork is critical. This is because each dish requires teamwork and collaboration from the time of conceptualization to the time it’s being prepared to the time it’s actually served in the customers’ tables.
“Pursuit of excellence is never-ending”
Of course, from its beginnings in 1988 to its undeniable popularity today, Fazoli’s has always been about pursuing excellence. This is why people keep going back, and that is also why it’s the restaurant has become synonymous to healthy and affordable Italian food.