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Carl T. Howard – Bio

Chief Executive Officer and President

Carl Howard is credited with turning around America’s largest fast-casual Italian restaurant chain. When he arrived at Fazoli’s in 2008, the restaurant’s future was in doubt. It had lost its relevancy. Previous management, to save money, had cut food quality and focused on discounts. Traffic was declining, locations were closing and franchisees were losing confidence in the brand.

Today, Fazoli’s is growing again as sales records are being set. Howard reengineered and repositioned Fazoli’s from a struggling quick-service concept to one of the industry’s most innovative, trend-setting fast-casual brands with staying power. His vision: provide the growing, cash-strapped middle class with a casual dining experience at a quick-service price.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Howard previously was president and CEO of Damon’s International Inc. and chief operating officer of bd’s Mongolian Grill. He is a FastCasual.com Top Executive of the Year and American Business Awards Executive of the Year. Howard has a deep commitment to childhood hunger issues. Under his leadership, Fazoli’s received the COEX Innovation Award for Marketing/Service for its ongoing fundraising efforts and food donations to Feed the Children. Fazoli’s has donated more than 12 tons of food to the childhood hunger relief charity and has raised nearly $200,000 in cash.

Awards and Recognitions


  • Top 100 Fast Casual Movers and Shakers
  • Fazoli’s again a Fast Casual “Mover and Shaker”
  • Fazoli’s receives the COEX Innovation Award in Marketing/Service
  • Fazoli’s Listed as one of five restaurants that could be the next Chipotle


  • CEO, Carl Howard, named #1 on Fast Casual’s Movers and Shakers list (People)
  • Fazoli’s listed as #3 on Fast Casual’s Top 100 “Movers and Shakers” list (Brands)
  • Awarded Silver Stevie in the 12th Annual American Business Awards Company of the Year competition.


  • Fazoli’s named Fast Casual’s “Brand of the Year”
  • CEO, Carl Howard, named ‘”Executive of the Year” by American Business Awards
  • Fazoli’s is ranked #2 overall among large national fast-food chains in Zagat Fast Food Survey
  • The University of Kentucky Institute for Workplace Innovation awards Fazoli’s the “Dr. Lee T. Todd, Jr. Bridging the Gap Between Workplace Research and Practice Award”
  • NRA Golden Chain Award Nominee