|Headquarters||Athens, Georgia, U.S.|
|Zach McLeroy, Tony Townley (Founders)|
|Products||wings, french fries, Texas toast, and chicken fingers|
Zaxby's is a franchised chain of fast casual restaurants offering chicken wings, chicken fingers, sandwiches, and salads. The company operates primarily in the Southern United States with more than 800 locations.
The first Zaxby's restaurant opened in Statesboro, Georgia in March 1990. The company's first restaurant outside of Georgia was opened in September 1994 in Bowling Green, Kentucky. Zaxby's now operates in 18 states.
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, near the Georgia Southern University campus, by childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley. The company operates as a casual dining restaurant, offering prepared-at-order chicken fingers, chicken wings, sandwiches, salads, and appetizers. Dipping sauces are offered with chicken finger orders, and range from mild, to the moderate "Zax sauce", to the intensely hot "Nuclear" and "Insane". 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 an Orlando, Florida location.
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.[better source needed]
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.
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, brokered by IMG College includes schools across every state where Zaxby's is located, representing seven major athletic conferences in the South, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest:
Southeastern Conference: University of Alabama, University of Arkansas, Auburn University, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Kentucky, Louisiana State University, University of Missouri, University of Mississippi, University of South Carolina, University of Tennessee, Vanderbilt University
Big 12 Conference: Baylor University
Sun Belt Conference: Arkansas State University
- Green, Alex (March 16, 2015). "Love of poultry drives fast-casual chain restaurant". Times Free Press. Retrieved March 22, 2015.
- "Zappetizers". Zaxby's Franchising LLC. 2016. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "The Extra Mile for Freestyle". Here Comes the Shrink. September 11, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2016.
- "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.
- "John Wes Townley Joins Red Horse Racing". Speedway Media. December 18, 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2013.