Baxley and Zaxby’sPosted: April 10, 2012
Robert Baxley, the Chief Operating Officer for the Zaxby’s Corporation, has been an employee since 1992. He began his career as a cook at the company’s third location in Valdosta, GA, working in the kitchen of the restaurant. Baxley has been working hard with the company from the beginning, but working his way up with the company was not the hard part for him.
When Baxley began his initial job in the kitchen, that restaurant went by the name ZAX. When the company started to franchise to people and get bigger, they decided to change their name to the now famous, Zaxby’s. This was in 1994 and they have kept this name ever since.
Zach McLeroy, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, and Tony Townley, Chief Financial Officer, are the founders of Zaxby’s, and Baxley has been with them since the beginning of Zaxby’s.
Robert Baxley’s challenge in his time at Zaxby’s was not trying to work his way up, but the challenge was working with McLeroy and Townley in growing a new business. “It wasn’t so much me growing, as finding people to help the company grow,” said Baxley.
Baxley is from Camden, South Carolina where he attended the University of South Carolina and then ended up earning a bachelor’s degree from Valdosta State University.
“I have enjoyed watching employees grow with the company, and also love to see the licensees (people starting a franchise with Zaxby’s) grow their businesses and become more and more successful,” said Baxley. Seeing people grow with the company is what makes Baxley’s job so fulfilling and keeps him working hard to make that happen for them.
Zaxby’s began in Athens, GA and has expanded from one to three restaurants and has expanded to about 548 different stores nationwide. Baxley and the Zaxby’s company have no plans of leaving Athens either. When asked of their plans to remain in Athens Baxley said, “Headquarters will never move, as long as Zach, Tony, and myself are there.” The three men look at Athens as it being a part of them and who they are. Baxley believes the future of Zaxby’s is very solid in the Athens area.
“It is the community where our founders grew up. There is a sense of family for us in the Athens area,” said Baxley. They have 170 people employed at their corporate office in Athens and want to keep them there. Baxley believes that Athens has all the big city advantages of Atlanta, GA, but not some of the problems that come with being in the huge cities, such as less crime. It is a “fantastic area” and “Athens has a strong sense of community and is a great place to raise a family,” Baxley said.
Baxley is also very proud of the work that his company does throughout the Athens area. They have a “dedicated team that handles that sort of stuff locally,” said Baxley. The Zaxby’s corporation, under the leadership of Baxley, gets involved with, among other things, Relay for life, adopt a highway, and other national charities. They also will pick two schools and two churches to help out at different times and work directly with the schools. When asked of the work Zaxby’s does in Athens Baxley said, “It is kind of who we are, we focus ourselves on giving back to the community as much as possible.”
In the years from 1995 up until 2007, Baxley did very well as a multiunit operator. He was in charge of 21 Zaxby’s locations in South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida, according to reports. Baxley is married to Mandy Baxley and has two children a boy, Wyman, and a girl, Loy Brynne.
“I could not find a more respectful boss, not only did I look up to him as a successful business man and role model, but he was also a wonderful father and family man. He always attends and helps out with coaching as much as possible with his sons football and baseball games, on top of all of his business responsibilities,” said Lynnsey, who used to babysit for the Baxleys while attending the University of Georgia.
According to reports, Tony Townley, who is responsible for the overall fiscal health of the company, attended Georgia Southern College. Townley has been a CEO for Southern Mortgage & Lending Corporation, a mortgage originator for First Federal Savings and Loan and the Bank of Georgia.
Zach McLeroy, has been CEO for Zaxby’s from the beginning. He and Townley were childhood friends and have stuck together throughout the entire growth of the Zaxby’s corporation. They have grown the company into something bigger than what was ever originally planned. Both McLeroy and Townley own stock in many Zaxby’s restaurants and have brought Baxley in to create and grow the business and use that to help others get involved through franchising and employment and watch them grow with the company as well.
Robert Baxley worked his way up with a huge company, but has always worried more about the success of the company and fellow employees over his own. Baxley has worked hard with the founders of the company to keep a bright future and a successful business. His favorite menu item is the Kickin’ Chicken Sandwich, loves to golf, but always makes time to watch his favorite team, The Gamecocks play on Saturdays.