“Every subcontractor that would come work at the store would ask, ‘What are you going to serve?’” McLeroy recalled in a 2014 interview with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “‘Just chicken.’ Everybody would tell us good luck, but you are not going to make it. I had some fear over whether this concept would really work.”
Including franchisee-run stores, the chain now has more than 900 restaurants in 17 states. It was the 30th largest restaurant chain by U.S. sales last year and the fourth-largest chicken chain, behind Chick-fil-A, KFC and Popeyes, although Wingstop appeared to be catching up, according to industry consultant Technomic.
Last November, Zaxby’s announced it was selling “a significant stake” in the business to investment funds managed by Goldman Sachs. At the time, McLeroy said the deal would “accelerate our growth and expansion into a national brand.”
In a press release Tuesday, McLeroy said Acoca “is committed to growing our business while preserving the best of our heritage and culture.”