Fazoli's was in a major slump by the time Carl Howard took over as CEO in 2008. The chain that opened in 1988, in Lexington, Ky., had just closed 150 units, and it was Howard's job to steer it back on track.
And that he did; same-store sales growth at company-owned units in August marked the 25th straight month of increases, while franchisee-owned restaurants broke their record in July and experienced 26 months in a row of same-store sales growth in August.
During the Oct. 23rd panel at Fast Casual Executive Summit, "From Turmoil to Turnaround," Howard will share his turnaround strategy.
Jim Greco, CEO of Sbarro restaurants, will also discuss how his team is working to reinvent Sbarro after it filed for bankruptcy last year. His goal is to transform the brand's image from a shopping mall-based QSR to the "preeminent Italian fast casual brand," and he will share his strategy with attendees.
The panel also includes Mark Wayne of ANX Data Protection, who will discuss the increase in cyber criminals and what operators need to do to protect their customer data and their brands from these new cyber-hacker criminals.
"Unfortunately this is a subject that needs to be addressed," said Linda Duke, the session's moderator and 20-year restaurant marketing veteran. "I will be sharing some scary details from a fast casual chain that was recently hacked and how they were damaged and how they are trying to turn it around. It isn't a pretty story, but today's savvy operators must be prepared."
Duke, chief executive of Duke Marketing, has attended every Fast Casual Summit since its inception seven years ago, and is one of the founding members of the Fast Casual Industry Council, FCIC.
"I am truly excited that the Summit is coming to my native California this year," Duke said. "The Summit is a unique event where the young and upcoming fast casual concept leaders share information, and are really open. There really isn't any other segment of the restaurant industry that is so forthcoming, and creates a community for better food in better environments."
Read more about the summit, or register for the event by visiting Fast Casual Executive Summit.
Cherryh Butler has been a reporter and editor for nearly 15 years, writing on a variety of topics, ranging from the restaurant industry to business and health and fitness news. Before joining Networld Media Group as managing editor of Food/Retail Publications, she was content specialist at Barkley ad agency in Kansas City and has served as editor for several publications. She's also written for several daily newspapers, magazines and websites, including Forbes, The Kansas City Star and American Fitness magazine.