Fazoli's ditching artificial ingredients

The menu at Fazoli's will be free of all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors by June 19. With 220 units, Fazoli's is the first national brand under 1,000 units and the third restaurant overall — behind Panera Bread and Chipotle — to offer a completely clean food menu, according to a company press release.

Fazoli's supply chain is 80 percent clean of all artificial ingredients, but on June 19  it will be completely clean of all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors. To achieve this important milestone, Fazoli's has invested more than $1.5 million, said Carl Howard, president and CEO of Fazoli's.

"Fazoli's is proud to take the lead among national brands under 1,000 locations to offer a completely clean food menu," he said.  "We credit Panera and, recently, Chipotle in doing the same, and are surprised that other larger restaurant systems haven't done so as well."

"We began this effort over a year ago with a commitment to our guests to deliver the best tasting, highest-quality food as possible — and going clean was the only option. They deserve to enjoy delicious, clean food and our size was not going to get in the way of us accomplishing this significant milestone."

As part of its "Naturally Italian" initiative, Fazoli's worked with nearly 50 suppliers to guarantee that a total of 81 artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives were eliminated from its food menu. A few of the additives being removed from menu items include calcium propionate, nitrates and sodium benzoate from its proteins, salad dressings and signature bread sticks, as well as artificial flavors, colors and high-fructose corn syrup from all desserts. 

New menu, redesign coming soon

The brand will also roll out a premium menu in June in its 122 company-owned locations across the country. The remaining 91 and all new franchised locations will feature the newly upgraded menus in January 2018. It will feature premium ingredients and offerings such as table-side grated Parmesan, upgraded plates, as well as new dishes such as "Create Your Own Lasagna," "Spicy Sausage Rigatoni," and "Brownie Gelato Sundae,"  Howard said.

Fazoli's clean eating initiative is a significant part of the company's brand turnaround, which has been fueled by its strong financial performance, underscored by 15 consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales growth. In addition, Fazoli's franchisees are experiencing nearly three times the industry average growth rate with new franchised restaurants continually setting new system-wide sales records, Howard said.

Building on this financial success, Fazoli's will begin remodeling select locations with a new, contemporary look and feel to create a better customer experience for its guests. Several locations are scheduled to be remodeled through this summer and will feature textured white brick and other natural materials, as well as Wi-Fi bars and communal dining tables.

Fazoli's is seeking single- and multi-unit operators to join its growing, successful franchise network and is targeting new markets across the United States, Howard said.

Most recently, the brand launched a multi-unit franchise development incentive program available through June 30, 2017. New franchisees that sign a new multi-unit agreement for three or more locations will receive reduced franchise and royalty fees for the first two years of operations. A reduced franchise fee is also available for new multi-unit agreements for three or more non-traditional units, including college campuses, airports and casinos.

Topics: Customer Service / Experience, Food & Beverage, Food Cost Management, Food Safety

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