What's In Store

Bojangles’ surges ahead into Atlanta market

Clifton Rutledge, CEO of Bojangles’, during an interview with the Observer at the company’s corporate offices on Aug. 12.
Clifton Rutledge, CEO of Bojangles’, during an interview with the Observer at the company’s corporate offices on Aug. 12. dlaird@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte-based Bojangles’ continues to surge ahead into the Southeast, making good on a growth promise made to Wall Street when it went public earlier this spring.

The chain, known for its chicken and biscuits, said this week it’s investing heavily in its quickly growing Atlanta market, and new locations are soon slated to open up across the metro area.

A new restaurant will open Aug. 30 in McDonough (at 1393 Jonesboro Road, about 26 miles southeast of Atlanta) and later this year and early next, new stores will open in Griffin, Marietta, Lawrenceville and Doraville.

When it went public in May, Bojangles’ said it will expand its footprint in areas where it’s already operating and well-known, then gradually expand into neighboring markets. The company opened its first West Virginia store in July, for example, and is slowly adding locations in Kentucky, too.

“We are addressing development opportunities in a disciplined manner with a focus on building greater scale in markets throughout the Southeast,” Clifton Rutledge, Bojangles’ president and chief executive officer, said in a statement this week.

Rutledge has called Atlanta the “poster child” for what it looks like to grow into adjacent markets, and said Atlanta is the chain’s largest growth market this year.

Bojangles’ debuted in Atlanta only two years ago in the Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Now the chain operates more than 45 restaurants in the Atlanta market.

“We started by doing it right with multiple franchisees and company-owned stores and growing in a very large city in a relatively short amount of time, which allows us to form co-ops to spend the money the right way as far as marketing,” Rutledge told the Observer in an August interview.

Bojangles’ operates 646 restaurants, primarily in the southeastern U.S.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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