Zaxby's and Baskin-Robbins to open on Signal Mountain Road in July

Zaxby's and Baskin-Robbins to open on Signal Mountain Road in July

May 26th, 2012 by Carey O'Neil in Business Around the Region

Constructions crews work Thursday at a Zaxby's restaurant being built on Signal Mountain Rd. next to a Baskin Robins ice cream shop under construction next door.

Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press.


The new Signal Mountain Road Zaxby's and Baskin-Robbins will add 65 to 80 jobs to the area. For more information, email

Signal Mountain Road will gain two new restaurants and as many as 80 jobs by the end of July.

Construction is under way on a new Zaxby's chicken restaurant and Baskin-Robbins ice cream parlor. The Zaxby's is scheduled to open July 9, and the Baskin-Robbins will open next door later that month.

The new Zaxby's will be the seventh in Hamilton County and will be built adjacent to one of the first stand-alone Baskin-Robbins restaurants in the nation. The restaurants now employ about 220 people.

"We come from a long line of entrepreneurs," owner and developer Shannon Brown said. "I just never wanted to work for anybody the rest of my life."

Brown and wife, Julie, already own five other Zaxby's in the area, but this will be the couple's first ice cream shop. They invested about $600,000 to build the Baskin-Robbins and between $1.6 million and $1.7 million for the Zaxby's.

Sales have been somewhat steady since the Browns first entered the market with Zaxby's in 2000. The restaurants usually take a few years to turn a profit, but Shannon Brown said he's in the business for the long haul.

Brown tries to keep his restaurants community oriented by donating to local schools and charities, promoting his staff to manage new restaurants and offering chances for his employees to invest and own part of the businesses.

"We do promote that a lot. Any time you have an owner on site you have more consciousness to what's going on in your day-to-day operations," he said. "We don't grow unless our people grow."

Since opening his first restaurant, Brown has seen plenty of growth. He has owned a total of nine Zaxby's, but has sold four. At one point, he was building a restaurant once every 18 months.

That growth came with a keen eye for detail.

"We do have a tendency to sweat the small stuff," he said.

But, he said that attention is important in the restaurant business, so long as an owner can let work stay at work.

The Signal Mountain Road area is growing, Brown said, and he hopes to capture that growing business. He expects his customers will come from the area's several apartment complexes, workers cramming in a grocery trip on their lunch breaks at the nearby Walmart and commuters.

Kerry Hoyle, owner of the nearby McDonald's on Dayton Boulevard, said his business is far enough away from the new Zaxby's to not be affected by the opening, but both areas have been performing well.

"There's growth around that. I think the North Shore is creeping toward my restaurant, which is probably a good thing," he said. "There's plenty to go around."

That growth is particularly good news for Brown, who still has one undeveloped lot next to his two new restaurants.

Brown said he's turned down a few proposals for the spot, and is considering others.

"We want the right thing to go there," he said. "We're not in any rush."