Zaxby’s SPE Franchisor LLC, doing business as Zaxby's, is an American chain of fast casual restaurants offering chicken wings, chicken fingers, sandwiches, and salads. The chain operates primarily in the Southern United States and has more than 900 locations. Most Zaxby's restaurants are owned by franchisees, but 123 locations are owned by Zaxby company.[1]

Zaxby’s SPE Franchisor LLC
Company typePrivate
GenreFast casual
FoundedAugust 1990; 33 years ago (1990-08)
FoundersZach McLeroy
Tony Townley
HeadquartersAthens, Georgia, U.S.
Number of locations
941 (2022)
Area served
United States
Key people
Bernard Acoca (CEO)
Zach McLeroy (Chairman, Former CEO, Co-Founder)
Tony Townley (Former Chief Strategy Officer, Co-Founder)
David Waters (Former Chief Operating Officer)
Blake Bailey (Former Chief Financial Officer)
Joel Bulger (Former Chief Marketing Officer)
ProductsChicken wings, french fries, Texas toast, chicken fingers

History and locations edit

Zaxby's in Adel, Georgia

Zaxby's chicken and Zax Sauce is based on another smaller chicken finger chain called Guthrie's that existed in Athens, Georgia, while Zach McLeroy attended the University of Georgia. The first Zaxby's was established in Statesboro, Georgia, in March 1990, near the Georgia Southern University campus, by childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley.[2] The company's first restaurant outside of Georgia was opened in September 1994 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. In 2013, they opened locations in Utah, the first expansion outside of the southeastern United States.[3]

As of 2023, Zaxby's has locations in 19 U.S. states.[4][5] In December 2019, the Oklahoma-based Zaxby's franchisee announced it would be shuttering five of its nine locations across the state.[6] Like other restaurants, since mid-March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused Zaxby's dine-in lobbies to shut down indefinitely.[7][8] Some locations had reopened by mid-May 2020.[9]

In 2022, Zaxby's introduced a new CEO, Bernard Acoca; he was the first CEO that was not one of the co-founders.[10] Outgoing CEO Zach McLeroy stayed on as Chairman.[11]

Menu and themes edit

Zaxby's chicken fingers, drink cup, crinkle fries, and Texas toast

The company operates as a fast casual dining restaurant, offering prepared-at-order chicken fingers, chicken wings, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers.[12] Dipping sauces are offered with chicken finger orders, and range from mild, to the moderate "Zax sauce", to the intensely hot "Nuclear". Dining rooms at Zaxby's restaurants are decorated with assorted whimsical objects and signs, which often vary in theme by location and region. Some locations in college towns feature objects and decorations related to the local university. Similarly, citrus-industry themed decorations line the walls at a location in Orlando, Florida.

Zax sauce

Since the December 2013 announcement that Zaxby's would begin to offer the Coca-Cola Freestyle machine at their locations, the decor in the fountain drink dispensing area has been dominated by that distinctive dispenser and other Coca-Cola branding.[13][14]

Advertising edit

In late 2007, the chain began running a series of commercials featuring celebrities eating Zaxby's menu items. The celebrities of 2007–2008 included Laverne and Shirley stars Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams, Bobby Allison, Diana DeGarmo, Herschel Walker, Evander Holyfield, Elijah Kelley, Lorenzo Lamas, Cody Linley, Jerry Rice, John Schneider, Alyson Stoner, Kerri Strug, Richard Thomas, Richard Karn, Reginald VelJohnson, David Garrard, and Spud Webb. In 2009, celebrities included Orange County Choppers Paul Teutul Sr. and Michael Teutul, Béla Károlyi, Fred Willard, Paul Sorvino, and Mike Ditka. 2010 and 2011 celebrities included Doris Roberts, E! News host Giuliana Rancic, Jaime Pressly, Ryan Stiles, and musician Little Richard. In 2012, the chain featured celebrities Rachel Dratch, Chris Kattan, Jill Hennessy, Lee Ann Womack, and National Football League linebacker Clay Matthews in its commercials. Zaxby's 2013 commercials featured David Alan Grier and Waylon Payne, with comedian Wayne Brady and actress Leigh-Allyn Baker.[15]

In October 2008, the video game Midnight Club: Los Angeles featured Zaxby's as a restaurant on the streets of Los Angeles. California, however, has none in reality.[16]

Sponsorships edit

John Wes Townley's Zaxby's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series truck in 2013

Zaxby's is "The Official Chicken of Sports Fanz" and has collective intellectual property rights at nearly 30 Division I colleges through 2015 through a deal with their football and basketball teams. The sponsorship, which was made through IMG College, includes 25 states, seven conferences, and the entire area of Zaxby's locations. Included are ten colleges from the Southeastern Conference, six colleges from the Atlantic Coast Conference, three colleges from Conference USA, two each from the Big Ten Conference and Sun Belt Conference, and one college from the Big 12 Conference.[17] Additionally, Zaxby's has a separate agreement with Clemson University to provide brand presence at all football and men's and women's basketball games.[18]

Zaxby's was also the sponsor of the Heart of Dallas Bowl, played at the Cotton Bowl Stadium.[19]

Zaxby's was a sponsor for Joey Clanton in the No. 09 JTG Daugherty Racing truck in the NCWTS. Zaxby's also sponsored the late John Wes Townley (son of co-founder Tony) in NASCAR's Camping World Truck Series and Xfinity Series, and Townley's Athenian Motorsports.[20] John Wes retired from competition after 2016, thus ending the sponsorship.

In honor of the children the restaurant chain serves every year, Zaxby's is a supporter of Make-A-Wish.[21]

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Spotlight on Zaxby's" (PDF). Greysteel. October 2016. Retrieved May 28, 2018. Zaxby's primarily operates a franchise model with 123 corporate-operated locations.
  2. ^ Healy, Jim (November 30, 2020). "Business Focus - Zaxby's expansion plans". Statesboro Herald. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  3. ^ Fitzpatrick, Hayley (August 5, 2015). "A billion-dollar fast-food chain no one ever talks about is taking over America". Business Insider. Axel Springer SE. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  4. ^ "Zaxby's Locations". Retrieved December 4, 2019.
  5. ^ "Net Lease Zaxby's Property Profile and Cap Rates - The Boulder Group". The Boulder Group. 2017-02-25. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  6. ^ "Stillwater Zaxby's among five in franchise to close | Stillwater News Press". Retrieved 2019-12-04.
  7. ^ "Zaxby's Limits Service to Drive-Thru Only". QSR. March 17, 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  8. ^ Higginbottom, Andrew (17 March 2020). "Zaxby's moving to drive-thru-only due to Coronavirus concerns". WKRG News 5. Retrieved 4 February 2022.
  9. ^ "Respect, trust and partnership drive Zaxby's success during COVID-19". May 20, 2020. Retrieved 5 February 2022.
  10. ^ Lalley, Heather (2021-10-26). "Zaxby's hires Bernard Acoca as CEO". Restaurant Business. Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  11. ^ Ewen, Beth. "Out as CEO, Zaxby's Founder Reflects on 30 Years of Growth". Retrieved 2022-02-25.
  12. ^ "Zappetizers". Zaxby's Franchising LLC. 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  13. ^ "The Extra Mile for Freestyle". Here Comes the Shrink. September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  14. ^ "Zaxby's Saturday & Today | My Clinton News". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  15. ^ "Watch "Escape - Zaxby's" Video at Nation's Restaurant News". Nation's Restaurant News. Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  16. ^ "Zaxby's Ads Featured In Video Game". The Franchise Mall. October 15, 2008. Archived from the original on May 3, 2010. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
  17. ^ "IMG College - Zaxby's Scores Big With Major College Sports Sponsorship". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  18. ^ "Army defeats North Texas in overtime at Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl: Score, stats, recap". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  19. ^ "Playing Chicken: Georgia-Based Zaxby's Signs Sponsorship Deal With 25 Colleges". Retrieved 2017-03-23.
  20. ^ "John Wes Townley Joins Red Horse Racing". Speedway Media. December 18, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2013.
  21. ^ tamara (2013-12-02). "Zaxby's Teams Up with Make-A-Wish for Third Year". QSR magazine. Retrieved 2017-03-23.

External links edit