Zaxby's, a Southeast favorite for chicken fingers and wings, is expanding its Nashville area footprint with three new locations opening over the next several months.
Licensee Robert Ward—who opened Nashville's first Zaxby's fast casual restaurant four years ago at 915 Bell Rd. in Antioch—is targeting September 14 for the opening of his second store at 5228 Nolensville Rd. Construction is currently underway for the approximately 2,900 square foot building that will seat 54.
“The response to our first store has been incredible and there's tremendous opportunity to expand in the Nashville market," Ward says. "The new locations all offer high-traffic areas that are well-suited for our restaurants."
The second of the new locations is in Nippers Corner at 471 Old Hickory Blvd. in the former Jack in the Box building. The 3,000 square foot space that will seat 58 is being renovated for a January 2016 opening. Ward, along with his wife and co-owner Christi Ward, signed a long-term lease on the building.
The third space in the pipeline is at 2241 Murfreesboro Rd. in the former Razz restaurant building. In July, an investment group led by Brandon Plunkett, principal of Forbes I Plunkett Real Estate Group, purchased the building and will be converting it into a Zaxby’s. Ward and Chaz Tippins, who co-owns this franchise location, signed a long-term lease on the building.
"Robert and I have a great relationship and have had a successful year in finding sites," Plunkett says. "He's a strong operator and my partners and I feel that Zaxby’s is a great brand, so taking the relationship a step further to build-to-suit for him was a no-brainer. We plan to keep looking for sites to develop for him as he continues to grow his operation."
The Antioch location was not Ward's first introduction to the brand that according to Business Insider's recent article is a billion-dollar fast-food chain taking over America. In fact, the brand's ownership runs in the family. "My mother, Jeanne Ward, operates nine Zaxby's in the Jacksonville, Florida, area and has plans for 14 more in the state," Ward says. "Over the years I've been continually impressed with the cofounder's leadership and vision for the restaurants and am thrilled to be a part of its phenomenal growth."
Each of the locations will feature Zaxby’s unique interior design: floor-to-ceiling brick walls with modernized tables and booths, all complemented with an eclectic mix of photography. Memphis, Tennessee–based Dimension Construction is serving as general contractor for all stores.