Fazoli's Ramps Up Growth In Non- Traditional Channels

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Fazoli's is going small to grow big. Ramping up non-traditional channel growth, it opened its second non-traditional store in a travel center on Interstate 74 in Shelby, Ind. Partnering with Aditi 3 Fast Food, LLC, it expects success with this dine-in, carry-out and drive-thru combination unit. The I-74 unit was developed within the travel center C-store unit that is helmed by Aditi partner Chintu Patel, who is also a Dunkin' Donuts and Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt franchisee.

Compacting a concept for non-traditional venues, such as travel centers, C-stores or airports, is a precision process. The Lexington, Ky.-based chain has been targeting about 1,800 square feet but is currently looking at units that are 1,500 square feet. In West Virginia, Fazoli's is testing a compact, reduced-menu unit that is about 1,200 square feet.

The first non-traditional unit was built inside a Wal-Mart in St. Louis, Mo., and is about 2,000 square feet. Fazoli's will continue to test size and adaptability with the need to service customers in a way that is true to its fast casual, personalized fashion.

When reductions in size are tested, tweaking the menu to accommodate as much of the original as possible is as important as perfecting the kitchen and back-of-house design, says Craig Sherwood, VP of Development. Although both of the units that it has built are in C-stores within travel centers, Fazoli's is also looking at units in airports. Sherwood says his experience with Yum Brands' non-traditional program will boost his efforts in developing successful relationships with airport concessionaires.

Entry into the airport transportation channel isn't easy, and many concepts never make it into airport locations because of a lack of expertise in working with concessionaires. Companies like HMSHost and AirMall are opting to develop relationships with proven concepts and find it appealing to work with those with which they already have a relationship.

Sherwood says Fazoli's is perfecting its non-traditional system to prepare it for units in dense traffic locations like airport terminals. Stress tests that vet out speed of service by pushing through 100 guests at a time to simulate the disembarking of a big airliner in an airport transfer terminal has decreased Fazoli's wait time down to four minutes or less ─ very much in line with it's target to compete effectively in airports.

For the C-store units, Sherwood suggests the concept has hit the ground running. "We're a bit more sophisticated, providing to the customer pasta and more than you'd get in a typical quick-service restaurant. We've upgraded the offering that's offered in the convenience stores." Fazoli's will build out the non-traditional channel units with single- and multi-unit partners. Potential franchisees can access more information at Fazolis.com.

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Fazoli's Systems Inc.
2470 Palumbo Dr.
Lexington, KY

Phone: (859)268-1668
Fax: (859)268-2263

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