Leaders prove critical to brand’s aggressive growth and guest experience strategies
Zaxby’s, the premium quick-service restaurant brand founded in Athens, announced today that industry franchising veteran Mike Mettler has been named chief development officer, while former interim Chief Digital & Technology Officer Mike Nettles has been elevated to the position long-term.
“These are seasoned executives who have achieved great success within some of the most recognizable brands in our industry,” said Bernard Acoca, CEO. “With development and digital strategies central to our growth, I am confident that both are the right people to move our brand into the next phase.”
Mike Mettler brings with him significant experience and expertise in the areas of franchise recruitment and development. He joins Zaxby’s from Orangetheory Fitness where he has spent the past four years leading franchise development, serving as chief development officer for the last three. Prior roles include seven years in senior franchise development for Dairy Queen and four years for Domino’s Pizza.
“Zaxby’s is focused on DMA prioritization, developing a more robust recruitment platform and delivering options that provide flexibility while maximizing profitability,” Acoca said. “Mike Mettler will guide these targets, cultivate relationships and collaborate with our franchisees to continue scaling the brand.”
“Franchising growth requires four things,” said Mettler. “A strong business model, a solid culture, passionate franchise owners and strategic areas to develop – Zaxby’s has them all.”
In addition, former interim Chief Digital and Technology Officer Mike Nettles will move into the position long term. Nettles joined the brand in 2021 with a focus on developing a strong digital infrastructure that improves guest experience. He is leading the development and design of the new mobile app, loyalty program and ecommerce platform that are set to launch in summer 2022.
“Mike Nettles has made incredible strides in advancing our efforts to provide guests with a personalized digital experience,” Acoca said. “We are thrilled to welcome him as a long-term addition to our executive leadership team and look forward to fully transforming the Zaxby’s guest experience under his leadership.”
Prior to Zaxby’s, Nettles spent thirty years in the retail and hospitality sectors, holding leadership positions at Papa John’s and Panera Bread where he was responsible for leading the technical design, development and implementation of digital and in-store assets.
“We are working to remove all the friction between our guests and their cravings to the point where the tech is totally transparent and entirely under their control,” said Nettles. “Zaxby’s has had a great ride thus far, but digital accessibility will be our ‘secret sauce’ for the next phase of our fantastic growth story.”
Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. For the second year in a row, Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist’s 2022 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 18 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit zaxbys.com or zaxbysfranchising.com.
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