Zaxby's announces appointment of Michelle Morgan as company's first chief people officer; Morgan most recently served as the company's EVP of culture and brand experience

Sample article from our Foodservice Industry

ATLANTA , May 11, 2022 (press release) –

Zaxby’s veteran to guide ‘People First’ culture

Zaxby’s, the Georgia-based premium quick-service restaurant franchise known for its Signature Sandwich, Chicken Fingerz™ and flavorful signature sauces, announced today that Michelle Morgan has been named chief people officer. The executive leadership position is designed to elevate the brand’s “People First” culture and strengthen guidance around its core values. Morgan will be the first chief people officer in Zaxby’s 32-year history.

“Our values reinforce our everyday leadership behaviors, which are ultimately aimed to enrich lives,” said Bernard Acoca, Zaxby’s CEO. “Michelle is a strong servant leader who will continue to work consistently to strengthen our foundational commitment to put our team members and franchisees first. Her long history with Zaxby’s gives her a unique vantage point on people-related issues.”

Morgan most recently served as executive vice president of culture & brand experience at Zaxby’s and has been with the company for over 20 years. She started out as a front-line store cashier and progressively grew into various leadership roles in operations and human resources. Morgan was instrumental in developing and implementing company-wide standards for diversity and inclusion, talent development, corporate citizenship and guest service.

“Michelle is known not only for her business acumen but for her courage in championing solutions, fostering collaboration, and advocating for people,” Acoca added. “The guest experience will never exceed the employee experience, and in a time where a challenging but fun and inspirational environment is vital to a company’s success, Michelle has proven that she can lead through our values while building talent and capability across the organization.”

As chief people officer, Morgan will be responsible for optimizing recruitment, performance and professional development as well as elevating and reinforcing Zaxby’s culture and aligning the mission with values, decisions and commitments.

“Zaxby’s has the talent, the drive, and the vision to provide incredible opportunities for employees, franchisees, and communities across the country,” said Morgan. “I am excited to lead the employee experience and ensure that we continue to ‘enrich lives’ through our support center, in the restaurants, through the guest experience and into the communities we serve.” 

About Zaxby’s

Founded in 1990, Zaxby’s is committed to serving delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where customers are considered friends. For the second year in a row, Zaxby’s iconic Signature Sandwich won Thrillist’s 2022 Fasties Award for Best Fried Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s has grown to more than 900 locations in 18 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

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Dan Rivard
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