Quick-service Italian chain Fazoli’s is looking to take customers on a tour of Italy this summer, with five new limited-time offers and a sweepstakes to send two winners on an Italian vacation.
The brand is tying promotional muscle to its latest round of menu upgrades after successfully driving sales with limited-time offers earlier this year with little marketing. In an early April interview, chief executive Carl Howard told Nation’s Restaurant News that four Mini Bakes items accounted for as much as 15 percent of sales with “very limited advertising support.”
The current “Tour of Taste” sweepstakes runs through July 31, and contestants receive game pieces by upgrading to a large soft drink. Other prizes include free food, gift cards to other retailers and music downloads.
The promotion will support five new menu items meant to highlight the flavors of different regions of Italy: Tuscan Ravioli, Penne Roma, Citrus Apple & Roasted Chicken Chopped Salad, Pasta Napoli and the Sicilian Smasher sandwich. All the items are offered for $4.99 and will be available through Aug. 31.
Fazoli’s also will roll out two new flavors of its Italian Lemon Ice blended beverages, Pomegranate Passion Fruit and Orange Italian Cream.
“Italy offers such a large variety of food flavors,” chief marketing officer Cathy Hull said in a statement. “From the use of the sun-dried tomato in Tuscany to the fresh taste of marinara sauce in Rome, each region has different signature dishes and flavors. It’s great to offer our guests the opportunity to taste these regional Italian dishes featured on our menu this summer.”
Howard said back in early April that a total menu overhaul should be ready by October for a systemwide rollout. He added that 80 corporate Fazoli’s units remained to be remodeled to include the “Enhanced Service Program” with fast-casual touches like food runners and real flatware. The brand is projecting that those upgrades would be completed by the beginning of 2012.
Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli’s was founded in 1989 and has 250 restaurants in the U.S. It was purchased in 2006 by private-equity firm Sun Capital Partners.
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