Fazoli's adding beer, wine to 2 more Lexington stores

ssloan@herald-leader.comNovember 6, 2012 

Fazoli's, which is based in Lexington, is expanding its test of beer and wine sales to two more stores in the city.

Customers at the chain's restaurants on Richmond Road and Nicholasville Road at Zandale will be offered beer and wine in the next week to 10 days, said CEO Carl Howard.

Earlier this year, Fazoli's began selling alcohol at its store near the University of Kentucky. Customers are able to buy Budweiser, Bud Light, Peroni and Kentucky Ale beer, and Copa di Vino pinot grigio and cabernet sauvignon wines.

"It's not that we had such dynamic overall sales or this huge demand," Howard said. "It's that we had no negative feedback."

Only one customer has frowned on the offerings, while "I can count on both hands and my feet" the customers who have thanked him personally for the beverage expansion, he said.

In addition to the beer and wine sales, Fazoli's is also replacing both restaurants' soda fountains with Coca-Cola Freestyle machines that offer a broader combination of beverages. The same move at the UK campus restaurant has spurred increased beverage sales, Howard said.

"Even if we're not selling a lot of (alcohol), the beer and wine has a quick return on investment and helps us pay for the Coke machine and the remodel of the drink station," Howard said. "There's a quick payback, even though we're not selling a lot."

Unless the company receives a number of complaints, Howard anticipates eventually rolling out beer and wine sales throughout the Lexington market of company-owned stores, as well as testing them in a franchisee market.

"It's not something we're in a huge hurry to do, because we want to see what the guests have to tell us first," he said.

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz

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