Italian fast-casual chain will also remodel locations and update menu.

LEXINGTON, KY. — Italian fast-casual brand Fazoli’s announced it has removed all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors from its entire food menu. This clean label commitment follows similar recent announcements from Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread.

Fazoli’s supply chain is currently 80 percent clean of all artificial ingredients, the company said, and on June 19 it will be completely clean of all artificial sweeteners, flavors, preservatives and colors. To achieve this menu makeover, Fazoli’s has invested more than $1.5 million.

“Fazoli’s is proud to take the lead among national brands under 1,000 locations to offer a completely clean food menu,” said Carl Howard, president and CEO of Fazoli’s. “We credit Panera and, recently, Chipotle in doing the same, and are surprised that other larger restaurant systems haven’t done so as well. We began this effort over a year ago with a commitment to our guests to deliver the best tasting, highest-quality food as possible – and going clean was the only option. They deserve to enjoy delicious, clean food and our size was not going to get in the way of us accomplishing this significant milestone.”

As part of its “Naturally Italian” initiative, Fazoli’s said it worked with nearly 50 suppliers to guarantee that a total of 81 artificial ingredients, colors and preservatives were eliminated from its food menu. Such additives being removed include calcium propionate, nitrates and sodium benzoate in its proteins, salad dressings and breadsticks as well as artificial flavors, colors and high-fructose corn syrup from all desserts. The chain’s fresh brewed tea will be clean as well and made with pure cane sugar.

Starting June 19, Fazoli’s also will roll out a new premium menu in its 122 company-owned restaurants across the country. The chain’s remaining 91 and all new franchised locations will feature the newly upgraded menus in January 2018. The new menu will include premium ingredients, the company said, as well as offerings such as tableside grated Parmesan, upgraded plateware and new dishes such as Create Your Own Lasagna, Spicy Sausage Rigatoni and a Brownie Gelato Sundae.

The chain also plans to remodel some of its locations as an additional part of its brand turnaround plan, the company said. The remodeled restaurants will feature a contemporary look and feel with natural materials, Wi-Fi bars and communal dining tables.