Fazoli’s Untold Truth

The 1990s were a bad time for Italian restaurants, thanks to the low-carb diet. As consumers shift to lean proteins and avoid starches, products like bottomless breadsticks and baked pasta have been taken off the table. Naturally, Fazoli was caught in a bind. How do you sell spaghetti and meatballs to a health-conscious public?

Then-CEO Kuni Toyoda tapped into the restaurant’s strengths to come up with a solution, and it turned out to be similar to his approach to pizza. Saying that diners “know what good pasta is,” according to Funding Universe, he led the charge in promoting the nutritional superpowers of pasta to the masses. The idea was that the pasta, unlike the greasy drive-thru fast food choices, actually provided food for low-carb dieters.

Admittedly, most of Fazoli’s menus don’t inspire much confidence in this claim – his gigantic “Submarino” sandwiches come to mind. But there is some truth to the relative health benefits of pasta. And as one Quincy, Illinois franchise owner attests, deep fryers aren’t really a restaurant thing (via the Quincy Area Chamber of Commerce). This makes baked meatballs and a salad a healthier choice than, say, a breaded chicken sandwich with mayonnaise. The chain continues to serve low-carb dishes, with options like the Keto Pepperoni & Bacon Flatbread available on its Lifestyle menu (per Fazoli’s).

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