Zaxby’s CEO and Co-Founder Zach McLeroy to Transition To Chairman; Bernard Acoca Appointed As New Chief Executive Officer

Zaxby’s Franchising Inc., one of the nation’s largest fast-casual restaurant chains specializing in chicken fingers and wings, announced today that its co-founder and current CEO Zach McLeroy would transition on an ongoing basis to the position of Chairman.

Bernard Acoca, former president and chief operating officer, is appointed the new chief executive officer of the company. Acoca joined Zaxby’s in 2004 and has held many key roles with the company, including president of its franchise business unit, vice president of franchise communications and marketing, and most recently, was responsible for leading its information technology organization.

Zaxby’s CEO, Zach McLeroy, has been instrumental in building this company into one of the nation’s largest fast-casual restaurant chains. As a franchisee-based business model, Zaxby’s Franchise has over 900 locations in 17 states and enjoys a 98% franchisee retention rate. McLeroy continues to play an active role in the day-to-day operations of Zaxby’s Franchisees. He will continue to operate one location directly managed by him and oversee the local day-to-day operations at the other franchisee locations he works. He will also continue to handle all domestic franchise sales, marketing, processes, and technology.

Zaxby’s CEO Zach McLeroy is excited to welcome Bernard Acoca as their new CEO. Acoca brings extensive knowledge and experience in the restaurant industry from his time at McDonald’s Corp. and his role as COO at Zaxby’s Franchise. We believe that Bernard is the right fit for Zaxby’s Franchise,” said McLeroy.

Zaxby’s has been selling delicious chicken fingers and wings since 1990, when two college friends opened the first restaurant in Statesboro, Georgia. Bernard Acoca has over 30 years of experience in the restaurant industry and has held various positions at McDonald’s Corp. for over 20 years in multiple capacities, including operations, marketing, and information systems management. Bernard Acoca has served at CEO of El Pollo Loco for the past five years. Acoca’s leadership style is similar to McLeroy’s; he will work closely with the management team to ensure a smooth transition. He is also committed to continuing the tradition of exceptional service and high-quality food that are cornerstones of Zaxby’s culture.

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