Zoës Kitchen is a fast casual restaurant chain headquartered in Plano, Texas, United States. Serving a menu of variety of chicken salad, pasta salad, pitas and grilled chicken sandwiches, the chain has grown to include 203 locations across 17 states with plans to expand further. Zoës’ menu features Mediterranean-inspired comfort food with made-from-scratch recipes using fresh ingredients. Kevin Miles (CEO), who joined Zoës in 2009, succeeded Greg Dollarhyde as president in March 2011.
Zoës Kitchen was originally incorporated in Jefferson County Probate Court in June 1995 as Zoe's Kitchen, Inc. Founded by Zoë and Marcus Cassimus. Originally, the restaurants were not franchised, with Cassimus retaining a 51 percent ownership stake in all newly opened locations.
Its first location would open in October 1995 in downtown Homewood. A second location opening in the Riverchase section of Hoover in 1999 and a third in downtown Birmingham in March 2001. The restaurant would continue its expansion with the opening of its first store outside the Birmingham area in Tuscaloosa in May 2001 and its first out-of-state location in Nashville, Tennessee in the fall of 2001. By 2006, Zoës had expanded to sixteen restaurants, with eight located in Alabama and others located in Phoenix, Nashville, Memphis, Baton Rouge and Destin.
With 20 stores open by 2007, Cassimus would sell a majority ownership stake to Brentwood Associates of Los Angeles. Following the purchase, Cassimus announced that he would remain as chief executive, the company would remain headquartered in Birmingham and that the menu would not be affected. Additionally it was revealed that the sale could potentially result in the opening of 200 new franchises over the next five years. By Spring 2008 GE Capital Solutions loaned the company $10 million to allow for the development of 50 new stores across the southeast and southwest.
In November 2008, Cassimus would resign with Greg Dollarhyde taking his place as CEO. Formerly the CEO of Baja Fresh, Dollarhyde announced that he will be looking to expand the restaurant to new locales with two-thirds remaining company owned and the remainder being franchised.
Kevin Miles, who joined Zoës in 2009 after working at Luby’s, Pollo Campero and Baja Fresh, succeeded Greg Dollarhyde as president in March 2011.
As of August 2011, Zoës has 11 franchised stores and the rest are company-owned . Miles announced that Zoës would consider multi-unit franchisees in the future.
Zoës launched online ordering in 2011 and a mobile loyalty app in 2013.
Miles promised that the company would stay headquartered in Birmingham (the city where the company was founded and a majority of employees were located), in 2011. In 2014, though, when the company announced that it was going to be publicly traded, SEC filings showed the headquarters as Plano, Texas. Reasons given for the shift included simplifying travel, a lack of talent available in Birmingham (the talent source for the companies initial growth and development), and the need to consolidate offices to prepare for an IPO. Local media, business, and civic leaders said they were unaware of the move.
Generally Zoës focuses on a limited menu primarily designed to attract lunchtime and early evening customers. The menu is Greek-influenced and serves a variety of chicken salad, pasta salad, pitas and grilled chicken sandwiches. Zoës offers self-serve style fountain drinks, in addition to bottled beverages, milk, juices and hot tea. Vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
At Zoës, customers can dine in, order online or call ahead for takeout; purchase a variety of fully prepared Dinner for Four (now called Mediterranean Family Meals); pick up side dishes by the pint; and take advantage of the extensive catering menu, which includes box lunches, party trays and meals for large groups that can be delivered locally.
As of March 2015, Zoës Kitchen has 203 locations throughout seventeen states of the United States.
Each location is staffed with a fully trained Catering Sales Manager. From office lunches to large events, Zoës will deliver an assortment of fresh food. A rewards program is also available to frequent customers.