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WESTLAKE, Ohio — Motorists will soon have more food options when traveling across the country.
The TA Restaurant Group, a division of TravelCenters of America LLC, finalized a deal with Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli to open four locations at Connecticut, Oklahoma, Texas and Michigan TA and Petro locations over the next year.
"Our mission at Fazoli's is to serve America premium quality Italian food, fast, fresh and friendly. I can't think of a better opportunity to do this than on America's highways with a company like TravelCenters, which is known for meeting the needs of today's travelers," said Carl Howard, president and CEO of Fazoli's.
The first of the four restaurants will debut late this summer in Milldale, Conn., followed by two opening early fall at TA and Petro locations in Oklahoma City, and San Antonio, Texas. The fourth is slated for early 2018 in Monroe, Mich.
"At TravelCenters, we focus on providing our customers with the variety they crave for while traveling the interstate," said John Ponczoch, senior vice president of TA and the leader of the TA Restaurant Group. "Fazoli's provides us with a quality Italian cuisine offer that both interstate travelers and local residents will find themselves coming back for."
This agreement is the latest in a series of business moves and continuing brand refresh efforts for Fazoli's that has contributed to now 16 consecutive quarters of same-store sales growth.
Building on this success, Fazoli's will begin remodeling select locations with "a new, contemporary look and feel to create a better customer experience for its guests," according to the company. Several locations are scheduled to be remodeled through this summer and will feature textured white brick and other natural materials, as well as Wi-Fi bars and communal dining tables.
With nearly 220 restaurants in 25 states, Fazoli's is currently seeking single- and multi-unit operators to join its franchise network and is targeting new markets across the United States. Most recently, the brand launched a multi-unit franchise development incentive program available through June 30. New franchisees that sign a new multi-unit agreement for three or more locations will receive reduced franchise and royalty fees for the first two years of operations.
A reduced franchise fee is also available for new multi-unit agreements for three or more non-traditional units, including college campuses, airports and casinos.
Fazoli's opened its first travel plaza unit in 2012 at an interstate exit near Fairmont, W. Va., as CSNews Online previously reported.
At the time, Howard said travel centers offer a major growth opportunity for the company, and noted that larger national brands are saturated in most travel plazas.
In February 2016, the CEO exclusively told CSNews Online that, with a fresh infusion of new capital, the Italian fast-casual restaurant chain was poised to more than double its franchising growth pace for the year, and convenience stores were a main target of the company's expansion plan.
Westlake-based TravelCenters of America operates in 43 states and Canada, principally under the TA and Petro Stopping Centers travel center brands and the Minit Mart convenience store brand.
The TA Restaurant Group includes more than 850 quick-service, full-service restaurants and other food outlets, including 10 proprietary restaurant brands including Quaker Steak & Lube, Iron Skillet and Country Pride.