The Fazoli's Comeback Is Succeeding - And It's About Time

So many of us like fast food, pizza, pasta, and drive-thrus, and that's part of the reason Fazoli's was such a success as a fast casual restaurant chain. Established in 1988, it quickly began expanding in the mid '90s — until stores started closing in the following decade. In 2008, the Phoenix Business Journal reported that all Fazoli's restaurants in the state of Arizona had closed. Nevada also closed its only location in 2016, and other locations in Texas, Ohio, and Florida shut down as well.

It was a tough blow, but the chain managed to bounce back — much to the satisfaction of fans all over the country, especially in Arizona. In fall of 2022, Fazoli's reopened in Phoenix after announcing the news on Facebook. The post received more than 6,000 positive reactions.  

The beloved Italian chain returned to several other cities, too, in the same year. You can now find 210 restaurants peppered throughout 26 states, with more locations on the horizon.

Eight new locations opened in 2022

The Grand Canyon State was once one of the few states that had more than a dozen Fazoli's restaurants. Now, it has just one in Terminal 4 of Phoenix's Sky Harbor International Airport, but more are expected in the near future. According to Fazoli's' Grand Openings webpage, new locations also popped up in Virginia, Florida, Texas, North Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee — all in 2022.

The previous year, the chain enjoyed another win when it experienced a 22% sales increase and 18% traffic increase after 2020, largely due to new menu promotions. "In over 30 years of senior management and 20 years as a CEO, Fazoli's January sales and traffic numbers are the highest I've experienced in my career," Fazoli's CEO Carl Howard said (via QSR Magazine). "We have never closed a period with sales over 20% or traffic this high. ... This is an incredibly proud moment for myself and our team."

So what does the future look like for the unlimited breadstick-serving, "Real Italian" fast casual restaurant where you can order pasta and pizza from a drive-thru? In January of 2023, Fazoli's parent company, FAT Brands Inc., announced its longer-term plans to bring five locations to Puerto Rico, with the first slated in late 2023. New additions are also planned for Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, and South Dakota, as well as more in Florida and North Carolina, reports RestaurantNews. Talk about a comeback!