Fazoli's President and CEO Carl Howard was named the No. 1 restaurant executive on the 2014 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list, compiled by the editors of leading website FastCasual.com and other restaurant industry luminaries. Judges acknowledged Howard for his contribution to the evolution and health of the fast casual dining segment. Chief executive since 2008, he has directed a turnaround leading to growth not seen in more than a decade.
Readers of FastCasual.com nominated more than 900 restaurant brands, executives, technologies and trends for top 100 consideration. The entries were examined, narrowed and finalized by a panel of judges, based upon innovation, unit revenue growth, use of technology and social media, branding and marketing, as well as, overall contribution to the industry.
Carl Howard's standing as the industry's most influential person on the 2014 Fast Casual Top 100 Movers & Shakers list comes after the popular Italian restaurant chain was named brand of the year in 2013. Howard also has been recognized as Executive of the Year and received a Gold Stevie in the latest American Business Awards.
Fazoli's recently expanded its menu, remodeled its restaurants and enhanced its service by delivering meals on real plates with silverware. Restaurants increasingly are appearing in non-traditional locations, such as inside retail centers anchored by fueling stations. Later this year, a Fazoli's will open in the Texas Tech University student union. Franchisees are consistently reporting same store sales increases exceeding industry averages.
"I am very honored to be recognized, but the award really is a reflection of the great work done every day by the entire Fazoli's team, from the home office to each restaurant," said Howard.
Besides the great success at Fazoli's, the brand also introduced a new fast casual Italian concept, Venti Tre Modern Italian, this year. The first restaurant opened in Baltimore in March. Two more locations are being developed, with franchising to begin next year.
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