ATHENS, Ga. (March 7, 2012) — Recognized for the first time, Zaxby’s has been ranked number seven in the Top 10 Excellent Large Fast-Food Chains with 500 or more U.S. units in the recently published Quick-Track study conducted by Sandelman & Associates in 2011. Ranked alongside chains like Starbucks and Panera Bread, 51 percent of Zaxby’s guests rated their overall experience a five, or “excellent,” on a five-point scale, showing the company’s distinction in customer satisfaction in the restaurant industry.
“Zaxby’s is rooted in keeping the guest at the center of everything we do,” said CEO and co-founder Zach McLeroy. “This guest-focused mentality has allowed us to grow and improve excellence, and is the link to our success.”
Awards of Excellence are given for overall satisfaction and performance based on 16 attributes of the guests’ dining experience, including “friendliness/courtesy,” “quality of ingredients,” “taste or flavor of food” and “value for the money.” More than 107,400 fast-casual restaurant diners were surveyed in 2011 by Quick-Track in a total of 87 U.S. media markets. 2011 marks the first year Sandelman & Associates has specifically recognized chains with 500 or more U.S. units in a separate ranking.
“It is much more challenging for a chain to operate in multiple markets with hundreds of units and still sustain the quality environment, food and service that consumers expect from a restaurant,” said Vice President Paul Clarke. “To make the top ten means that diners rate you as one of the best in the country,” said Clarke.
Known for its indescribably good chicken, Zaxby’s is one of only two regional chains to be ranked in the top 10. One of Zaxby’s core values, developed by its founders, is based on operational excellence: “We strive to achieve the highest quality possible in everything that we do.” This simple operating philosophy is one of the many driving forces behind the company’s steady growth.
Quick-Track is a syndicated research study that tracks attitudes, awareness and usage for all major fast-food and pizza chains in individual media markets. Quick-Track has been conducted continuously and reported quarterly since 1988 by Sandelman & Associates, a San Clemente, Calif.-based market research firm. In 2011, Quick-Track surveys were conducted in 87 media markets across the U.S. among a total sample of 107,400 fast-food users. Respondents provide an overall rating of their last purchase occasion for each monitored chain they have patronized in the past three months. They also rate selected chains they have patronized in the past three months on 16 customer satisfaction attributes that define a chain’s image, including food, service, cleanliness, convenience and value. A five-point rating scale is used, “1” being “poor” and “5” being “excellent.” Quick-Track scores reflect the percentage of patrons giving an “excellent” rating (top-box score).
To ensure reliability, data is reported only for those chains that were rated by at least 150 past-three-month users. Customer base sizes range from hundreds to tens of thousands. For some chains, the sample of respondents providing an overall rating was sufficient, but the base providing ratings on specific attributes was below the 150 minimum requirement and attribute ratings for those chains are not included in the report. Importance ratings for the same 16 attributes are provided by the quarterly Quick-Track National study, which was conducted among 2,400 quick-service restaurant users in 2011. Respondents rate the importance of each attribute in their selection of a fast-food or pizza restaurant, with “1” being “not at all important” and “5” being “extremely important.”
An alternative to fast food, Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Jumbo Buffalo Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. Zaxby’s operates more than 545 locations in 12 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. For more information, visit www.zaxbys.com.