Tuesday, March 12, 2024

[ALERT] Growing Chicken Chain Secures Former Intown Boston Market

A longtime Boston Market location in a prized intown market will soon be converted into a new restaurant.  Planning documents reviewed by ToNeTo Atlanta indicate that a new Zaxby's is planned for 2535 Briarcliff Road, near its intersection with North Druid Hills Road, in Brookhaven.

The new Zaxby's (Chicken Coup VIII, LLC) will seemingly make use of the existing structure, including inside dining and a drive-thru.  The Boston Market closed this past July amidst turmoil at the Colorado-based chain.   

Experienced multi-unit Zaxby's operator Dustin Mullis and his "Coup Management" are behind the new restaurant.  Mullis, a former loan officer, had a chance encounter with Zaxby's founder and former CEO Zach McLeroy whereby McLeroy became a mentor to Mullis and was instrumental in facilitating Mullis's first Zaxby's in Marietta in 2012.  Mullis bought out then business partner Greg Shumate in 2019 and now, through both new builds and acquisitions, operates a total of seven Zaxby's in metro Atlanta including a location in Hampton that opened in January.  

Demonstrating his interest in and commitment to the neighborhood, Mullis is under contract to purchase the Boston Market site.

Current Chicken Coup restaurants include Spring Road, Delk Road, Sandy Plains, and Church Street in Marietta, Dallas Highway in West Cobb, and Peachtree Boulevard in Chamblee.  

In a phone conversation Tuesday, Mullis shared that Stephen Hogg will be the local operating partner of the new restaurant and that he and Hogg both live close by.  Mullis also indicated that the new Zaxby's will showcase the latest prototype with enhancements to the drive-thru area, exterior, and interior.  

The Briarcliff site, a nearly one acre parcel with a nearly 2,600 square foot restaurant, had been eyed by several restaurant groups but costs and requirements surrounding any potential improvements seemed to limit the pool of suitors.  Raising Cane's is among the brands that reportedly expressed interest, but they have turned their attention to another site, according to a source familiar with the chain's Atlanta plans.  

Before becoming a loan officer, and long before his involvement with Zaxby's, Mullis spent several of his formative years working at Chick-fil-A.  According to this extensive FranchiseTimes article, Mullis started working at Chick-fil-A at age 14 and spent seven years with the Atlanta-based chain.  

Mullis's new Briarcliff restaurant puts him a stone's throw from the first freestanding Chick-fil-A, a unit that first opened in 1986, was completely rebuilt in 2018 and more recently, got a light reconfiguration. 

Chick-fil-A, which traces its roots to 1946, celebrated the opening of its 3,000th location this past fall.  Zaxby's, which is far younger, currently has about 945 locations and could soon cross the 1,000 unit count based on current expansion plans.  While Chick-fil-A remains family-owned, Zaxby's in late 2020 sold a majority stake in its business to Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division.  

Ranked by average unit volume (AUV), Chick-fil-A reigns supreme with an impressive $8.6M AUV.  While Zaxby's franchise system has an AUV of only $2.66M, Mullis and his six units perform significantly better with an AUV just shy of $3.5M. 

Zaxby's had for years primarily been found off highway exits or in the suburbs, but in the past decade or so, the chain has started to penetrate the in-town market with locations near Decatur in front of North DeKalb Mall, along Roswell Road in Chastain Park and along Ponce de Leon Avenue close to Ponce City Market, among others.  

Established in Statesboro and most recently based in Athens, Zaxby's last month celebrated the opening of its new corporate headquarters at Perimeter Summit in Brookhaven.  

Work on the the new Brookhaven Zaxby's is expected to begin this summer with the restaurant slated to open later this fall.  

Are you pleased to see Zaxby's opening another in-town location?  Who do you think offers the best fast-food fried chicken?  Where else would you like to see Zaxby's open?

Please share your thoughts below.  

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

Salty overrated overpriced chicken! Boo!

Anonymous said...

Great news. Zaxby's will be much closer than the Tucker location. Never cared for Chick fil a.

Anonymous said...

my husband and I were just talking about needing a location on North Druid Hills and then my friend sent me this!! That’s awesome!! Can’t wait til it opens!

Anonymous said...

Couple of thoughts// for an aspiring competitor to Chick-fil-A that location for zaxbys at literally a stone through from the Druid Hills Chick-fil-A is a golden opportunity that hopefully they won’t mess up// the building has a very clumsy and odd configuration. I can’t imagine, retrofitting Zaxby’s in that building without significant effort// the property does have ample space to build one of those dual modernize drive-throughs// hopefully, if they don’t mess this up, they will have some quality outdoor space for dining on that property// my final thoughts are that having the Corporate Office recently relocate to Brookhaven. They were likely offered a sweet deal by the city to also build their new restaurant in Brookhaven versus other restaurants that may have also looked at that same space. I agree with one of the previous posters that Zaxby’s is over priced and oversalted low quality fare. I believe that they single-handedly pushed up the price of wings. I remember even Buffalo wild wings was not as high before the advent of Zaxby’s.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully it will have an OPEN dining room. I know of three intown that are still drive thru only.

Anonymous said...

I am 3 1/2 months into my commitment to not eat fast food for a year. So far so good havent missed it. CFA consistent most of the time, Zaxbys used to be but been hit and miss when I take the kids.

Anonymous said...

Should have been Canes!

Anonymous said...

Never have liked Zaxbys. Their food is just blah and I would prefer nearly every other chicken finger place over them. Do they really consider themselves a CFA competitor?! Ha.
That's like saying the local high school football team considers the Chiefs a comnpetitor.

Anonymous said...

re: canes - meh. talk about a one hit wonder - not “what would you like to order?” but “how many chicken fingers do you want? what’s that, you want something other than chicken fingers? sorry!”

Tim said...

not to hijack - but any idea what's going on with the starbucks at lavista and briarcliff? it's been closed for a few months, and they even covered up the signs a few days ago.

John said...

Glad to see it, though that location is a bit tough. The new Children’s campus should drive a lot of demand. I greatly prefer the food at Zaxby’s over CFA. The CFA workers are always pleasant enough, but the chicken is too salty and pricey for what it is

Anonymous said...

To anonymous who is giving up fast food, after 3-1/2 months, should you "fall off the wagon" now, you are going to be really surprised at how greasy it is. Don't be surprised if it makes you a little sick! Good luck.

Anonymous said...

People just love to be negative. So annoying!

Anonymous said...

I agree…there is better chicken tenders out there.

Anonymous said...

It saddens me to see the continuation of the poisoning of America with high salt, high fat fast food. Atlanta must be one of the most unhealthiest cities in America. How much salt you consume in your lifetime determines your length of life.

Anonymous said...

Highly inflammatory…….PLANT oils and SALT……there is no reason to return to fast food after you have detoxed the toxins in your body after a year of not eating it…..your blood vessels and heart are VERY HAPPY that you are not returning to fast food.

Anonymous said...

That’s a TERRIBLE location for any high volume restaurant because of the traffic at that intersection. Getting in and out will be a nightmare. A better location would’ve been the old Krystals lot on North Druid Hills off I-85 or maybe the inactive Starbucks at Lavista and Briarcliff. If I can’t get in to the parking lot of a location without risking my life, I’m not going!

GIL QANEIDA said...

Looking forward to dining there.

Anonymous said...

as for me, one of my aspirations is to eat more and more fast food. The more salt and oil, the better. And with a large Coke every time. It’s always great to dream and reach for the stars!

Anonymous said...

Agreed!

Anonymous said...

I would of loved to see Super Chix 😭

Anonymous said...

YUCK

Anonymous said...

But YOU may NOT BE happy if you ONLY eat leaves AND BROCCOLINI!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I eat lots of salz so I probably live 4-EVAH! Ha ha

Anonymous said...

LOL but so true!

Anonymous said...

I am going to live forever!
I'm gonna learn how to fly
I'm gonna make it to heaven
Baby, remember my name!

Anonymous said...

Time to get me some chick-inn!

Anonymous said...

That is so honorable of you.

Anonymous said...

Yeah. Salty! Git it.

Anonymous said...

Canes does it consistently good though. They are good at what they do, they bring crowds, that’s all they need. Zaxbys was good years ago but once they started growing so much their quality plummeted. Their food usually tastes old, overcooked, dry, too salty. Their toast is dry almost like it’s stale. I just had Canes again yesterday and their food tasted so fresh, the toast so soft and tasteful. What a pleasure. Zaxbys would boast so much about being a chicken place. And now they have shrimp? IMO when you try to be all things to all people you are stretching and losing your focus and identity on what you do best. These days, I can’t name a single thing Zaxbys does best.

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