Zaxby’s Goes West

Zaxby’s is the fast-casual chicken-focused chain that got it’s start in Statesboro, Georgia. Focused in the southeastern United States, the chain is known for cooking to order and the preponderance of the usage of the letter “Z” in their dishes. As of now, the company has been limited to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Texax, and North and South Carolina, on top of their native Georgia.

MJM 5G, LLC now has the exclusive rights to franchise Zaxby’s in Utah, and will bring the company as far from its Georgia roots as before. According to Nation’s Restaurant News, they plan to open 18 locations over the next five years, with two opening by the end of 2013 (aiming for the first to be open in November). Utah was chosen as a destination given its strong economy and the fact that Salt Lake City appears to be where many young people are starting careers. Zaxby’s caters towards a youthful demographic, and they point out that their menu is “adventurous”. Not leaving Zaxby’s by itself, Dunkin’ Donuts opened it’s first Utah location in June.

Naturally, Zaxby’s is not the only chicken-focused chain to come from Georgia. Chick-fil-A spun from Hapeville, and now operates more than 1,600 restaurants nationwide. While Zaxby’s operates a little more than 570 restaurants, they’ve only been running since 1990 in comparison to Chick-fil-A’s origins in 1946.

Beyond Utah, they have stated they’re looking at Nevada, Arizona, and Ohio.

Have you considered spreading your restaurant into new territories? Zaxby’s going to Utah will undeniably open up new avenues and levels of attention that they’ve not seen before, but it may be a bit out of their oversight. They chance losing a bit of their brand image, if they can’t keep things under wraps. Have you considered the benefits of stepping out your comfort zone, as it were?