At Fazoli’s, Women Are a Driving Force Behind the Brand’s Success

According to a study by McKinsey & Company, about 53% of entry-level positions in the foodservice industry were held by women. But the percentage of women in leadership roles showed a steady decline as positions rose. Women represented about 37% of managers, 31% of senior managers/directors, 24% of vice presidents, 22% of senior vice presidents and 18% of C-Suite executives.

But at Fazoli’s, talented women hold leadership roles across every department in the organization and at the executive level. Women have a seat at the table at Fazoli’s and continue to be key players in the brand’s overall success by encouraging a collaborative and supportive environment across all departments and with franchisees.

Recently, three female leaders at Fazoli’s received accolades for their roles in leading various product launches, programs and initiatives throughout its most successful year in brand history:

Chief Marketing Officer Jodie Conrad

Conrad has worked at Fazoli’s for five years, and this year she was named to Nation’s Restaurant News’ “50 Most Influential Women in Foodservice,” a power list of women in leadership roles ranging from highest-ranking females within global companies to prominent owner/operators across all industry segments.

As CMO at Fazoli’s, Conrad plays two parts – she considers herself the chief advocate of the brand to the consumer, as well as the chief advocate of the consumer to the brand. With diversity of perspective and individual strengths in mind, she has assembled an impressive marketing team to conceive, develop and execute significant initiatives. Her team collaborates across all of Fazoli’s departments to effectively understand and improve upon all aspects of the consumer’s experience with the brand.

Seventy-five percent of Fazoli’s restaurants are franchise-owned, so Conrad’s marketing team also focuses on creating strong relationships with franchisees early on to help them create opening plans and cultivate their ongoing marketing efforts. Marketing plans differ drastically across local markets based on what mediums are accessible and what works in different areas. Without the scale for a national marketing program, Conrad and her team work closely with franchisees to understand each individual market to maximize marketing dollars.

Senior Director of Supply Chain Teresa Broaddus

Broaddus is one of Fazoli’s longest-standing employees, having grown and evolved with the brand for 15 years. The company recently named her “Fazoli’s Game Changer” which is the iconic Italian brand’s Employee of the Year Award. It’s given to a team member who had a monumental impact on the trajectory of Fazoli’s business. Recognized as the “quality assurance queen” by CEO Carl Howard, she was instrumental in establishing and leading the brand’s safety protocol during the pandemic.

In her role, Broaddus ensures food safety with Fazoli’s suppliers and distributors and in its restaurants. She and her team collaborate with all of Fazoli’s departments, but they collaborate most closely with the operations team, making sure company and franchise locations have everything they need to run a successful restaurant.

During COVID-19, she immediately jumped into action, working diligently with Fazoli’s training department to send ongoing COVID-19 updates systemwide based on CDC guidelines and local health agencies’ mandates. Broaddus and her team communicated constantly with Fazoli’s operators and franchisees to share up-to-date reminders about what frontline team members must do to keep guests safe. They also took a proactive approach to the reopening process by sharing their COVID-19 Safety Reopen Plan with local health departments in the brand’s markets. Many departments even shared Fazoli’s plan with other local restaurants as a guide for reopening safely. The health department in Anderson, Indiana said, “Fazoli’s has been one of the leaders in establishing protocols for COVID-19 from the beginning,” which is a testament to Broaddus’ experience and expertise.

IT Manager Johanna Miner

With the brand for five years, Miner won Hospitality Technology’s “2021 Top Women in Restaurant Technology Lifetime Achievement Award,” which is presented in recognition of someone with at least 15 years of service and accomplishments in the foodservice technology industry. Through the award, Hospitality Technology seeks to honor women who have impacted the foodservice technology industry, as well as their team members and industry peers through enthusiasm, mentorship and commitment, all while showing how new technologies are creating innovation in the industry.

At Fazoli’s, Miner promotes a culture of collaboration with franchisees and other corporate departments to reach the overall goal of elevating the brand. She was first drawn to IT because it’s a mix of many different aspects of the company. A natural problem solver, Miner was drawn to the challenging, always evolving nature of IT. Over the years, troubleshooting has become one of her strengths, and she has honed this skill and spent her career helping brands find solutions that make all departments and franchisees happy.

Miner has made it a point to build relationships with other departments and franchisees and encourages her IT team to do the same. Because they can’t launch new solutions without all parties working together, her team is inclusive of the entire Fazoli’s system. She has an open-door policy so others within the organization can feel comfortable coming to IT with whatever challenges they may face. In addition to communicating with all Fazoli’s departments, Miner has a great relationship with the brand’s franchise operators. She works with franchisees to help them adapt to an ever-changing technology environment and puts herself in their shoes to provide the best support possible. Her favorite part about providing IT support for Fazoli’s is getting franchisees involved in the technology rollout process and watching them embrace change and figure out ways to collaborate.

By promoting support and collaboration across the entire system, women at Fazoli’s are innovators. As the brand has achieved impressive sales and franchise development records over the past year, women have been a driving force in Fazoli’s success. And they will continue to be key ingredients in Fazoli’s winning formula for years to come!

As the largest premium QSR Italian chain in America, Fazoli’s is a fast-growing franchise that owns and operates nearly 220 restaurants in 28 states. To learn more about franchising for a record-breaking brand, visit ownafazolis.com or contact Senior Director of Franchise Sales Steve Bailey at steve.bailey@fazolis.com.

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