Restaurants have had to adjust to a completely new set of circumstances since the novel coronavirus pandemic struck in mid-March, and most of them are still trying to build back sales that were devastated as dining rooms were required to close and people were told to stay home to avoid contracting or spreading the virus.
Forced to find new ways to drive traffic and build revenue, many operators made innovations that will also serve them well as society opens up.
Limited-service Italian chain Fazoli’s made a number of innovations in response to the crisis, some that were focused on the new situation, such as discounted bundled meals, and others that arguably should have been implemented earlier, such as speeding up cook times and streamlining drive-thru service.
Carl Howard, who has been the 215-unit chain’s CEO since 2008, has overseen all that and the result has been an actual increase in same-store sales in May — in fact, it was the highest-grossing May on record.
In this episode of the In the Kitchen with Bret Thorn podcast, Howard discusses how Fazoli’s is on track to surpass last year’s sales, operational changes made to comply with new regulations, and how the chain is moving forward with low-carb and gluten-friendly innovations that were tested last year.
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