LEXINGTON, KY. — Fazoli’s, the 243-unit Italian quick-service chain, has opened its first-ever in-line restaurant. The restaurant, which is located in a suburban St. Louis shopping center, is Fazoli’s first new design in more than 15 years and has generated strong initial sales.

“One of our goals with the redesign was to test whether a smaller, less expensive restaurant could still deliver high sales volumes,” said Carl Howard, president and chief executive officer.

The new 2,300-square-foot, 70-seat restaurant opened Jan. 26 in an Edwardsville, Ill., shopping center. By comparison, the chain’s older locations are between 2,900 and 3,400 square feet with 96 to 140 seats. The new Fazoli’s also offers curbside carryout rather than a drive-through, and the traditional Italian interior design has been replaced with a vibrant contemporary look, the company said.

The opening of the new prototype follows last year’s overhaul and upgrade of Fazoli’s food. Eighty per cent of the menu is either new or improved.

“As the economy improves, multi-unit restaurant operators will again be looking for new franchise opportunities,” Mr. Howard said. “This new prototype, combined with the other improvements we have made to the brand, are putting Fazoli’s in an excellent position to grow.”

A second in-line unit is expected to open in Dayton, Ohio, in early March, Fazoli’s said.