Fazoli's Italian Restaurants

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Company: Fazoli's Italian Restaurants
Company Description: Fazoli's is the leading quick-service Italian restaurant chain in the U.S., with 127 Company-owned and 93 franchised locations in 26 states. Founded in 1988 in Lexington, KY, Fazoli's employs 4,845 Associates. The Company has won several awards for its progressive and innovative human resources practices, including being named finalist for the restaurant industry's SPIRIT Award in 2010.
Nomination Category: Human Resources Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Human Resources Department of the Year

Nomination Title: Fazoli's Restaurants HR Department Pursuit of Excellence 2011

Tell the story about what this nominated organization/department achieved since January 1 2011 (up to 500 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Fazoli’s HR department consists of 4 Associates with a combined 51 years’ experience with the company and 59 years of total HR experience. The department provides HR support to 4,845 Associates in 127 Company-owned and 93 franchised locations in 26 states. Fazoli’s HR Team was selected #1 for HR effectiveness/efficiency in 2010 by parent company Sun Capital Partners, which owns and operates 70+ companies worldwide. Fazoli’s was also a finalist for the SPIRIT Award in 2010, recognizing best-in-class HR practices and results throughout the restaurant industry.

In 2011, Fazoli’s HR has been instrumental in propelling our brand to its best sales and profit performance in over a decade. A 39% reduction in Associate turnover resulted in annualized savings of $2,192,000, while a relentless focus on “Right People, Right Places, Right Now!” contributed to an 18-month streak of same-store sales growth, despite challenging economic conditions.

Accomplishments for 2011 include:

• Implementation of PeopleAnswers®, an automated pre-employment application, assessment and background check solution. The PA program raises the bar on the quality of new Associates and provides hiring managers with insight on where to deploy new Associates (service or non-service positions). The hospitality industry is heavily dependent on the ability of front-line service workers – usually paid at or near minimum wage in a high stress, high turnover environment -- to win and keep customers. Managers needed a reliable and predictive instrument to ensure top quality Associates are hired and deployed according to their unique talents and abilities. The PA system also enhances efficiency of hiring and selection processes, saving hiring managers an average of eight hours per month, per restaurant.

• Implementation of Silk Road’s® automated “Red Carpet” program, featuring automated on-boarding, orientation and electronic employment records archiving. This solution standardized new Associate on-boarding and orientation processes and automated new hire administrative workflow. Calculated ROI exceeds 3:1.

• Implementation of EBix®, an electronic benefits enrollment and total compensation statement solution. EBix eliminates paper enrollment and shifts HR focus from manual benefits administration to proactive marketing and educating of essential benefits information.

• Development of a best-in-class GREAT GUEST SERVICE index, combining several workforce matrixes to create one combined customer service metric. The Index is used by Operations to predict customer service levels by location and prioritize management focus accordingly. Customer complaints have decreased 39%, while the Index revealed that higher-scoring restaurants achieved 54% more incremental sales than lower-scoring restaurants.

• Completion of a 3-year Associate Engagement study revealed a direct correlation between engagement, sales and profit. Every point of enhanced Associate engagement equals $12,539 incremental sales and $21,446 additional profit annually per location).
HR results in 2011 validate the department’s 5-year plan, which was developed when the Company was acquired in 2006. The plan centered on adding enterprise value through enhanced customer service and increased sales and profits via measureable enhancements to human capital.

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Provide a brief (up to 100 words) biography about the leader(s) of the nominated organization/department:

Vice President of HR Dave Craig has been an HR practitioner in the restaurant industry since 1986, including the past 17 years with Fazoli's. Dave is a 1984 graduate of Ohio University and has earned certifications as Senior Professional, Human Resources (SPHR, 2000) and Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE, 1993). Dave's Team has been nationally recognized for excellence in human resources programs and practices, including: Finalist, National Restaurant Association's SPIRIT Award, 2010; Winner, The Nation's Restaurant News' People and Performance Award, 2000; and Winner, Bluegrass Compensation Association's COIN Award, 1999.