Premium QSR to focus on enhancing digital experience with new leadership

Athens, GA. — April 6, 2021 — Zaxby’s, the premium QSR chain known for its chicken fingers, wings and signature sauces, welcomes Mike Nettles as interim chief digital and technology officer (CDTO). Nettles joins Zaxby’s from Papa John’s, where he served as chief operating and growth officer. Nettles is the first CDTO in Zaxby’s 31-year history. He reports directly to founder and CEO Zach McLeroy.

“Zaxby’s is coming off a year of record sales in unprecedented circumstances,” said Zach McLeroy, founder and CEO. “We’re positioned now for exponential growth with our partner Goldman Sachs. Mike’s expertise enables us to enhance both team member and guest experience through technology.”

At Papa John’s, Nettles focused on improving customer experience. Prior to that, he worked with Panera Bread as vice president of architecture & IT strategy, where he was responsible for leading the technical design, development and implementation of digital and in-store assets.

“I’ve spent 30 years in the hospitality and retail sectors, and I believe that people are what drive our business,” Nettles said. “I’m eager to leverage Zaxby’s heightened emphasis on digital offerings to grow business across its current and future footprint.”

In his new role with Zaxby’s, Nettles will oversee IT for both corporate and restaurant systems, focusing on store technology, data democratization and centralization, architecture and change management. While Nettles is fluent in technology, he also understands the business side and will ensure that store-level operations are front and center in Zaxby’s digital strategy. Nettles will prioritize the recently revamped loyalty program, Zax Fanz Club.

In November 2020, Zaxby’s announced that Goldman Sachs Merchant Banking Division (Goldman Sachs) would acquire a significant stake in the company. The deal was finalized by year end. The partnership supports accelerated growth for Zaxby's through new sales channels with a guest-focused approach.

“Mike will serve as a digital champion to help us develop a clear strategy around people and technology and then execute on that vision,” McLeroy said. “He’s putting the digital infrastructure in place to support our national expansion.”


Founded in 1990, Zaxby's is still led by founder Zach McLeroy. The brand is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. Zaxby's iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist's 2021 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby's has grown to more than 900 locations in 17 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or


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