Zaxby’s Chain Opens Norman Location

July 19, 2015

Sarah Kirby

The Norman Transcript

Zaxby’s, a chicken restaurant chain popular in the Southeast, will hatch its Norman location today.

The fast-casual restaurant, 1839 W. Main St., will open at 10:30 a.m. today with a ribbon cutting ceremony. According to a Facebook status, the first 100 guests in line will receive a Zaxby’s Fanatic Pack with 52 free Dealz, granting a free item at Zaxby’s each week for a year.

Expect to see a large crowds of customers and large smiles from employees, District Manager Terry Moon said.

“We’re going to give you hot, fresh food — through our drive-thru, as well as inside,” Moon said. “We’re asking that you be a little patient, but we’re going to push out food as fast we can with great guest service. We believe in putting the guest first and we do that now with our 600-plus stores, and we definitely want to continue that reputation of the Zaxby’s brand while we’re here.”

Zaxby’s will offer hand-breaded “chicken fingerz” and traditional or boneless wings, smothered in a choice of nine signature sauces that range from “wimpy,” “tongue torch,” “nuclear” and “insane.” Its “zappetizers” include onion rings, spicy fried mushrooms and fried white cheddar bites.

Several Norman restaurants have already sampled what the restaurant has to offer. Family and friends of employees were invited to sample menu items from Friday to Saturday, followed by a Zaxby’s Important People (ZIP) event Sunday that saw community leaders and business owners crowding inside the chicken restaurant.

Moon, who in June relocated from Atlanta to oversee the opening of the Oklahoma stores, said he is excited to see the response from people who have been waiting for the restaurant to open.

“It’s been awesome to see people stop by,” Moon said. “We’ve had a lot of people that have watched the building come up during construction and have come by — they thought we were open. Today alone, we’ve have to turn away about 50-plus people.”

About 60 employees have been hired at the Norman location, Moon said. Each new employee underwent an education program to learn how to prepare each menu item and every process involved with the restaurant.

The classes were led by eight trainers, who were all flown in from Atlanta. The team will stay in Norman and continue training new employees until Aug. 9.

“They won’t have to open up by themselves and be left alone,” Moon said. “They’ll have people from our Atlanta stores with them.”

The opening marks the start of an expansion into the Oklahoma City area, which includes 28 markets. The Norman location, which was licensed by Sterling Coleman of Lady Di I LLC, was the first city chosen for the Oklahoma City market — a deal that includes 28 locations in total.

The building that housed a Long John Silver’s was demolished in December to allow construction of the new property to begin in January. Measuring 30,000 square feet, the exterior of the drive-thru restaurant was built to resemble a barn with a silo — a new concept for the chain.

The company operates more than 580 locations in 13 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

The Norman location will operate 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Sarah Kirby

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