Industry News | March 31, 2008

Zaxby's Expands to Texas

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Zaxby's is spreading its wings to the Lone Star State. The 420-unit restaurant chain is laying the foundation for growth in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with its first location in Mansfield. The new Zaxby's opens today at 3181 Matlock Road. This opening will be the first of two new market entries for the rapidly growing chain in the next month, with the other in Ohio.

"We've been fortunate to have guests who are fanatical about our food who have helped us achieve tremendous growth throughout the Southeast," says Zach McLeroy, Zaxby's co-founder and CEO. "We believe the Dallas-Fort Worth area is ripe with opportunity for Zaxby's and that Texans will feel the same excitement about our food. Our fast-casual concept is perfect for people who are looking for a freshly prepared, delicious meal at a price point that wont put a big dent in their wallets," added McLeroy. "Guests order and pick up their meal at the counter and eat in a dining room similar in style to a casual dining restaurant with comfortable booths and tables. Our team members provide warm and friendly service that guests want to come back for again and again. And in these unsteady economic times, guests like that they can sit down in a great environment and don't have to tip a wait staff."

Zaxby's success is rooted in a simple operating philosophy developed by its founders that has matured into the company's mission statement consistently create encore experiences that enrich lives one person at a time. That statement is not only the driving force behind the company's pursuit to provide fresh, delicious food and excellent customer service, its also what helps the company create a fun work atmosphere for employees.

Menu & Restaurant Design Zaxby's differs from its competitors at other chicken restaurants because its menu items are prepared at order to suit each guests tastes. Zaxby's most popular items are its hand-breaded Chicken Fingerz and Jumbo Buffalo Wings, smothered in a choice of eight sauces with zesty names like Wimpy, Tongue Torch, Nuclear and Insane. The menu also offers innovative Zappetizers Onion Rings, Tater Chips (home-style potato chips) and Spicy Fried Mushrooms, as well as a variety of Party Platterz perfect for any family gathering or special occasion.

Additionally, Zaxby's offers five salads, or Zalads: The House, The Blue, The Caesar, and The Chicken Salad Zalad. All of Zaxby's Zalads offer more chicken and unique ingredients, such as French-fried onions, fresh veggies and juicy tomatoes, and are larger than most salads offered elsewhere. Each is prepared with chicken, three kinds of lettuce, and a variety of unique, fresh toppings. All Zalads are assembled at the time the order is placed, versus being pre-made and stored in a cooler.

Zaxby's is also bringing its fresh new restaurant design to Texas. Guests will notice interior floor-to-ceiling brick walls and large windows providing natural light, all complemented by an eclectic mix of photography and interior and exterior signage. The restaurant is 3,640 square feet and can comfortably seat 94 guests. Zaxby's also provides drive-thru and phone-in services to meet the needs of customers on the go.

The entire Mansfield restaurant team is excited with the way the new restaurant looks and feels, says District Manager James Bagwell. "I think Texans who have never before heard of Zaxby's or indulged in the indescribably good food are in for quite a pleasant surprise. We've had a few employee training sessions where we invited residents and businesspeople of Mansfield, and we appreciate the warm welcome they've given us."

Texas Growth Areas While this is the first location in Texas, there are already three more locations in the works throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area, in Richardson, Keller and The Colony. And while these first few locations will be corporate-owned, franchise-licensing opportunities are available to help fuel growth in the state. Company officials think the Texas market can support as many as 250 restaurants, with about 50 of those in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. The Zaxby's system is 80 percent franchisee-owned, with the rest corporate-owned. Restaurants typically have 30-50 team members employed in management, kitchen and cashier positions.

"We are confident that once area residents and entrepreneurs experience our food and service, they will want to bring a Zaxby's to their own communities as well," McLeroy says. "We have many successful licensees who started out as Zaxby's guests who just loved the food."

In addition to the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the company is looking at Austin, Beaumont-Port Arthur, Corpus Christi, Houston, Laredo, Tyler-Longview, and Waco-Temple-Bryan for future development. Interested entrepreneurs can visit zaxbysfranchising.com for more information.

Zaxby's Stats Zaxby's now operates its 420 restaurants throughout the South in 11 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia. Its largest market is Atlanta, with more than 60 locations in the metro area.

Zaxby's is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. The company opened its first restaurant in Statesboro, Georgia, in March 1990, and by December 2005 observed its 300th opening in Dallas,Georgia. In 2007 Zaxbys opened its 400th location in Macon, Georgia.