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This Beloved Italian-American Chain Is Opening a Dozen New Locations

The chain is making it easier than ever to become a franchisee.
fazolis outside

While some restaurant chains are filing for bankruptcy and closing up multiple stores, others are well-positioned for expansion. Fazoli's falls in the latter category—and it's bracing to open new locations in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Texas next year.

Fazoli's already has 220 restaurants in 28 states. At the end of October, the fast-casual Italian-American chain announced it had onboarded six new franchisees, which will add 12 new restaurants in the aforementioned states. And that's not the only addition to its expanding portfolio—two new locations are also being opened by an existing franchisee in Georgia. (Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer.)

"It is a very exciting time for the Fazoli's franchise family," CEO Carl Howard said at the time. "During a time when many brands have slowed down, we put our foot on the gas."

And there appear to be plenty of reasons for optimism. The company celebrated its most successful summer in brand history this year, with both traffic and sales up by 16% over 2019, according to Nation's Restaurant News. Digital concept Wingville—a chicken-focused menu previously only available online—was recently added to the chain's brick and mortar locations amid strong performance.

The company has also found a new way to capitalize on its failing competitors. You may notice that Fazoli's is moving into existing locations of other shuttered or struggling restaurants. That's because the company is making it easier than ever to become a Fazoli's franchisee and jump ship from other struggling brands. Though its "conversion strategy," the company is encouraging faltering quick-service or fast-casual restaurants to convert their existing shells into a Fazoli's. Plus, they're offering financially and contractually attractive shortcuts to do so.

Don't be surprised if you see the Lexington, Ky.-based pasta slinger cropping up in even more locations across the country. The enticing family-style menu of Italian-American classics, like pasta, pizza, and salads, is proving to be the perfect offering for those looking to feed a family during the pandemic.

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Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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