The taste of Italy can be as close as your local shopping mall thanks to this company. Fazoli's Restaurants operates a leading quick-service Italian food chain with more than 220 locations in about 25 states. The eateries serve pasta, pizzas (whole pies and by the slice), and panini sandwiches, as well as soups, salads, and dessert items. Many Fazoli's locations can be found in shopping centers, highway service areas, and other high-traffic locations. Most of the chain's locations are operated by franchisees. Fazoli's was launched in 1988 by restaurant operator Jerrico, which also started the Long John Silver's chain. The company is owned by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners.
Sun Capital has a number of investments in the quick-service and casual dining restaurant segment, including Boston Market, Bruegger's, and Real Mex. It acquired Fazoli's in 2006. Two years later the private equity firm brought in Carl Howard as CEO after Bob Weissmueller retired. Howard previously served as head of sports bar and grill chain operator Damon's International.
Fazoli's was spun out of Jerrico in 1990 when Kuni Toyoda, with the backing of Japanese franchising conglomerate Duskin Co., took control of the chain through Seed Restaurant Group (SRG). The company formed a joint venture with McDonald's in 2002 to develop about 30 new franchised locations; however, the burger giant exited the development deal the following year to focus its energies on reviving its core business. – less