STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 44

n

STORE OPERATIONS

High-tech Traditional
Fazoli's relies on customer feedback and technology to be successful
by LEN LEWIS

T

here's an old Italian saying: "Mangia
che ti passa!"
Loosely translated, it means: "Eat and
you'll feel better!"
Italians tend to have a lot of sayings that
revolve around food and dining. But this
philosophy has clearly been at the heart of
Fazoli's success in the hyper-competitive
restaurant business where making patrons
feel good about the food - as well as
their surroundings - is crucial.
The customer-centric view has become
even more important as the chain
continues an aggressive remodeling
and expansion program and rolls out a
recently completed menu initiative that
removed all artificial ingredients, colors
and preservatives from its dishes.
"You always have to evolve
the brand or you'll be left
behind," says Carl

44

STORES September 2017

Howard, president and CEO of the
fast-casual chain, which opened in
Lexington, Ky., in 1988. "That's why
our restaurants are being completely
redesigned and remodeled and look
nothing like the older Fazoli's."
Noting that the company's restaurants
seat 3,000 or more people every week,
"after four or five years they look used,"
Howard says. "You can just update the
old look with new carpet and booths.
But we decided it was time to take things
a step further with a fresher, more
modern, look. Last year's remodels look
great, but the interiors were the same as
they were before."
CONSUMER RESEARCH
It's a big job for
the 216unit chain,
which includes
six restaurants
under construction
and 92 franchised
locations.

"Whether you're a large or small
chain, you have to invest capital to keep
things fresh and relevant or you'll lose
business. People don't want to sit in an
old, outdated restaurant where the paint
is chipped and the booths are worn," he
says. "Most of our capital expenditures
are going into remodels as well as
developing the franchise business."
The company is also continuing to open
company-owned locations, including
several in Missouri by 2018.
"Ideally we'd like to grow in contiguous
markets," Howard says. The majority of
the company's locations are in Kentucky,
Indiana, Missouri and Tennessee. "But
we're seeing a lot of interesting growth in
Georgia and Texas, the latter of which is
being explored for future locations."
The rebranding is being phased in over
time in order to gauge customer attitudes
and avoid costly mistakes. Fazoli's
conducted successful "alpha tests" at
three remodeled locations last year and is
planning "beta tests" in more locations,
Howard says.
"We proved it in three and now we'll
prove the new restaurant design in nine or
10 more locations," he says. "We might
continue to find things we want to change
in a faster and less expensive way. Right
now, we have five locations under some
sort of remodel program."
Consumer research is an essential part
of the process. "We found out what
people liked and didn't like in the first two
remodels and applied what we learned in
the next group of remodels," Howard says.
The chain averages between 400 and 500
surveys per location prior to a remodel,
and about the same after it's completed.
"We want to know how we compare
to our competitors and how the
Fazoli's experience has improved
because of the changes we've made," he
says. "We never stop focusing on the
consumer experience. They are the true
North Star."
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine - September 2017

Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
Trends
Retail People
The Favorite 50
RFID Is Ready to Revolutionize the Retail Industry
Playing Their Tune
C2W
Store Operations
Marketing
Payments
How Stonewall Kitchen Boosted Sales and Reengaged Customers
Finance
Store Operations
Inventory Management
Online
How Giant Eagle’s Technology Experiments Reduce Losses From Out-of-Stocks.
Startup Spotlight
Analytics
ORC
Fraud
Stores at 100
POV
Communities
End Cap
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Intro
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - cover1
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - cover2
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 3
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 4
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 5
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Editor’s Page
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 7
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - President’s Page
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 9
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Retail Politics
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - NRF News
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Trends
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 13
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 14
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 15
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 16
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Retail People
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 18
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - The Favorite 50
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 20
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 21
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 22
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 23
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 24
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - RFID Is Ready to Revolutionize the Retail Industry
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 26
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 27
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Playing Their Tune
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 29
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 30
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - C2W
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Store Operations
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 33
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 34
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 35
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Marketing
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 37
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Payments
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 39
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - How Stonewall Kitchen Boosted Sales and Reengaged Customers
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 41
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Finance
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 43
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Store Operations
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 45
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Inventory Management
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 47
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Online
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 49
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - How Giant Eagle’s Technology Experiments Reduce Losses From Out-of-Stocks.
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 51
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Startup Spotlight
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 53
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Analytics
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 55
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 56
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - ORC
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 58
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 59
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Fraud
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 61
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Stores at 100
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 63
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - POV
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - Communities
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - End Cap
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - cover3
STORES Magazine - September 2017 - cover4
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