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FATZ says rebranding paying off

Chain debuts new Lite Side menu

FATZ, the new name for the former Fatz Café casual-dining chain, has been working for months on a rebranding initiative including a new name and logo, refreshed interior and exterior looks, and a now a new menu that features a Lite Side entrée line.

Showcasing some of its latest steps to Nation’s Restaurant News, FATZ vice president of marketing, Stephen Loftis, said restaurants that have implemented some of the changes have seen sales improve. The first restaurant to remodel to a more contemporary look – and away from Fatz Café’s original rustic, mountain-lodge appearance – has seen same-store sales increase 30 percent from reopening in March.

The unit, in Easley, S.C., was the first of the chain to get remodeled. The full systemwide remodeling is expected to take eight to 10 years for the 48-unit chain based in Taylors, S.C.

As for its menu, FATZ updated the fare to include a new Lite Side line, which ranges from a $7.49 spinach salad to a $12.99 Carolina mahi-mahi dish. Other items include shrimp and grilled veggie harpoons for $11.99, grilled top sirloin for $10.99 and aloha chicken for $9.79.

On FATZ’s website, each Lite Side item has a pop-up window that displays a nutritional profile. Each offering on the menu is under 550 calories.

The overall revamped menu has 24 new offerings, but FATZ retained signature items such as Calabash Chicken, poppy seed rolls and lemonade.

FATZ’s average ticket is just over $13 and it has 48 units in South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia.

The company began to make brand changes, including its new name, in late February, after consumer research showed customers said the restaurant was more than just a café, Loftis said.

First, FATZ updated its website with bolder photos of its menu offerings and an enhanced graphic to better show restaurant locations, Loftis said.

The prototype for FATZ’s new look is its forty-eighth restaurant in Johnson City, Tenn., which opened three weeks ago. Two additional restaurants are scheduled to open in the autumn.

FATZ updated its restaurant color palette with clay pottery serving plates that have purple, red, green, blue and orange-peach rims.

Contact Alan Snel at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @AlanSnelNRN

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