Fazoli’s Sees Record Sales in 2020: Case Study

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The fast-casual Italian restaurant’s success resulted from proactive management, effective safety protocols, and technology from PAR.

Throughout the Spring and Summer of 2020, stay at home mandates created a challenging environment for fast-casual brands. On one hand, they are more poised than table service restaurants to take to-go orders. On the other, they have historically done less drive-thru business than QSRs and less delivery than pizza-focused concepts.

Like the overall restaurant industry, shifting consumer behavior due to the pandemic presented a challenge for Fazoli’s, one that the company took seriously from day 1. Thanks to the technology and food safety cultures already in place, Fazoli’s was able to make the necessary operational and technological updates to thrive.

Most importantly, Fazoli’s commitment to its guests remained unwavering during the COVID-19 crisis. The Italian chain used the Punchh loyalty platform, which integrates directly into Brink POS software that Fazoli’s uses for its restaurants, to promote a Super Family Meal that could feed a family of eight for under $20. Guests responded extremely well, redeeming the special almost 20,000 times over a five-week period.

The acclaimed brand was also able to use PAR’s Brink POS® cloud-based software to improve its operations in Q2 so guests could get their food faster while still experiencing the same outstanding service they know and love.

“Since the first implementations of Brink software, we have been able to utilize the integrations and partnerships that were formed with several vendors that we couldn’t take advantage of previously.”

-Wayne Pederson, Vice President, IT, Fazoli’s

Throughout the pandemic, Fazoli’s executive team, operations and other departments worked together to adapt, allowing them to capture every opportunity to meet guests’ needs and exceed their expectations.

To increase speed of service, Fazoli’s fast-tracked an oven temperature test and added PAR EverServTM tablets to its drive-thru that allowed team members to expedite the order-taking process.

PAR’s drive-thru tablets help both new and seasoned Fazoli’s franchises overcome the challenges of limited seating capacity, so even stores that can only allow 20 people at a time inside can continue to serve meals and moments to guests outside of their four walls.

One notable example is a new Fazoli’s franchise in Sedalia, Missouri, that still managed to average $11,000 per day despite being restricted to 25% dine-in capacity, all thanks to the location’s ability to efficiently handle a spike in drive-thru orders.

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Using EverServTM tablets in conjunction with PAR’s G5 Drive-Thru System, Fazoli’s brought its average drive-thru window time below two minutes for the first time in its history.

Since the pandemic began, many brands have started letting their stakeholders know that ‘we’re in this together.’ For Fazoli’s, such teamwork has always been a way of life.

Long before the need to equip team members with face masks, gloves and Plexiglas shields, Fazoli’s set KPIs for food safety metrics and conducted yearly food safety competitions. Not only do stores get to compete for trips and cash prizes, but the Director of Operations of the entire concept will wash dishes on a Friday night at the winning location.

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In 2020, Fazoli’s beat Chipotle and Chick-Fil-A to earn the Excellence in Food Safety Award offered by Fast Casual and Steritech and made the Top 75 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 Movers and Shakers List.

The brand also took home 3 Gold Stevie Awards, including the Achievement in Management honor awarded to CEO Carl Howard, the Human Resources Team of the Year Award, and its second consecutive Company of the Year designation from the 18th Annual American Business Awards.

The premium chain’s success became especially apparent in May, when sales increased by 7.3% and it achieved one of the top five sales weeks on record.

By mid June, Fazoli’s 51 corporate locations shattered their all-time sales record, reaching over $1.5 million for the first time ever.

“Even during these challenging times for the restaurant industry, we are thriving and expanding our brand footprint. Fazoli’s technology strategy is paying large dividends for new and current franchisees.”

-Carl Howard, President and CEO, Fazoli’s

Thanks to its focus on innovation, Fazoli’s tremendous success lasted throughout the summer. In July, sales and traffic increased an eye-popping 16% and 17%, respectively – setting four historic all-time weekly sales records. Adding to the success that month, drive-thru sales increased by 65%, delivery orders rose by 200%, and online ordering grew an incredible 410%.

By the end of July, Fazoli’s experienced its busiest Friday ever, with the highest sales and traffic numbers for a single day in its 30-year history. Across Fazoli’s system, 29 restaurants made sales records for a total of 73 weekly sales records that month alone.

The iconic Italian brand ended the summer with the same positive momentum. Fazoli’s closed out August with a 17.4% increase in sales and 21.6% rise in traffic – leading to a 6.4% increase in year-to-date sales overall.

In order to increase operational efficiencies in our restaurants, we have also been implementing PAR’s Everserv Enterprise tablets in our drive-thru over the last nine months and are beginning our first steps in the realm of AI ordering supported with PAR’s G5 Drive-Thru System. Especially in the current climate with so many of our guests focusing on the off-premise dining solution, accuracy in our carryout, and drive-thru areas have become paramount to the success of our business.

-Wayne Pederson, Vice President, IT, Fazoli’s

  • 79.7%

    increase in mobile ordering since implementing Olo

  • 42%

    increase in sales from loyalty customers one month after upgrading its mobile app

  • 10%

    of all transactions now come from loyalty customers

  • 80%

    of locations are expected to set sales records by the end of 2020

  • 32%

    of locations are already beating sales records this year

  • 65%

    of Fazoli’s business now comes from the drive-thru, up from just 35% last year

Fazoli's Drive-Thru and PAR: A Winning Combination

  • More PAR Hardware for Drive-Thru

    Fazoli's expanded its use of PAR Tablets to 13 locations to keep up with the increased demand for drive-thru service since the start of the pandemic.

  • Order Expediting Made Easy

    Fazoli’s team members are taking PAR tablets outside so they can go back 5 cars deeper when expediting drive-thru orders – improving their speed of service to reduce customer churn during peak hours.

  • Many Technologies, One Solution

    PAR’s all-in-one drive-thru system works seamlessly with PAR Pay and Brink POS, allowing Fazoli’s to take advantage of the latest cloud-based software and PAR’s leading electronic payment solution while also integrating different technology providers like OLO for online ordering and Punchh for loyalty.

Fazoli’s guests can place an order on their phone or digital device and have their favorite menu item along with hot, fresh breadsticks through delivery, carryout using our designated pronto pick-up, drive-thru or curbside. With over 60% of our sales coming through the drive-thru, additional technology services, like drive-thru ordering tablets became imperative, and we made the move to include them for all new restaurant openings. Enhanced technology, along with key service differentiators, like delivering hot, fresh breadsticks to guests waiting in the drive-thru have been paramount for Fazoli’s. Nobody delivers the service inside or outside of their four walls like Fazoli’s.

-Carl Howard, President and CEO, Fazoli’s

PAR Solutions

“When initially looking for a new POS vendor for the Fazoli’s brand we had quite a few required points that the system would need to include. First, was to mitigate the need for the internal or external development of numerous integrations as we had with previous systems. Second, our focus was to find a front of the house POS solution that both supported our needs as a quick-service environment, and supported the future of how we wanted to shape the technology landscape of our brand. Lastly, the system needed to be easy for the end user to assist guests, allow us at an enterprise level to manage a number of different menu versions and pricing tiers, as well as allow for outside vendor partners to integrate and provide seamless operations for our restaurant users.”

-Wayne Pederson, Vice President, IT, Fazoli’s

PAR EverServTM Enterprise Tablets

PAR G5 Drive-Thru System

 

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Brink POS® Cloud-Based Software

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PAR Pay

Brink Integration Ecosystem Solutions

“With our partnerships, we can offer our guests new options like Fazoli’s curbside pickup, pickup directly from our drive-thru area, and, most recently, Fazoli’s delivery placed directly on our Fazolis.com ordering site. The ability of all of our systems – POS, Online Ordering, Kiosk Ordering, and Back Office systems – to readily accommodate these changes was instrumental in keeping the Fazoli’s brand available for all of our guests.”

-Tim Kimmel, Senior Director of Company Operations, Fazoli’s

 

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Fast. Fresh. Italian.

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Fazoli’s prides itself on serving premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. The American fast casual restaurant chain is headquartered in Lexington, Kentucky. It was founded in 1988 and is now owned by Sentinel Capital Partners.