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Zaxby's is about to give Chick-fil-A and Popeyes a run for the chicken crown. Here's why.

1 month ago by Jared Russo in Markets

You may have heard of the Chickengate wars that plagued our nation last summer when Chick-Fil-A pick a fight with Popeye's over whose chicken sandwich was better. It turned out to be the best thing to have ever happened on social media to the chicken fast-food industry.

And all this time, there was a third competitor waiting in the wings for its chance to ride the coattails of the 2019 chicken phenomenon and get into a Twitter spat over it.

But Zaxby's ($ZAXBYS) took the high road and did not engage, simply doing what it does best: quietly offering delicious food to the American south. And it's poised to make a run, as our data shows.

Zaxby's employs roughly 3,340 people at its 900+ stores, and it's been expanding in recent months. South Florida, Virginia, Utah, parts of the midwest, and the Ozarks can now enjoy Zaxby's.

The reach in the last 20 years has been tremendous since most locations are owned by franchisees. Zaxby's has grown from being predominantly Georgia-based to now operating in 17 states. (We New Yorkers would love to host them any time they're interested in moving above the Mason-Dixon line, by the way).

Late last year, the Zaxby's Twitter account broke 100K followers, and there's no slowing down from the looks of it.

Over on Instagram, Zaxby's is averaging 1,000 new followers every month, and if that rate continues, it'll pick up 12,000 new followers by the end of the year, at a minimum. If more selfie-friendly stores pop up, and the food speaks for itself, the following will just naturally grow.

And the coup de grâce to this article is the Facebook 'Talking About' count and 'Were Here' count. Over the holiday break, fewer people were talking about Zaxby's because they were probably worrying about Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. But the number of check-ins on Facebook is out of this world, and goes to show that if Zaxby's were to open up in more states, we could see outrageous data across the board. 

If you don't believe us, just take Paper Boi's word for it. He loves Zaxby's, as do us all who have tried it.

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

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Jared Russo

Jared is an editor for Thinknum, and has been writing for more than a decade. He previously worked at AOL, Vice, Google, Dotdash, and Sirius XM.

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