Bernard Acoca

Bernard Acoca is the new Zaxby’s CEO and the first Hispanic to own an Atlanta-based Fortune 500 company.

In 1971, Acoca turned his father’s restaurant in Savannah, Georgia into a franchise with two locations. He opened his first Atlanta location in 1975 and today owns over 780 restaurants with annual sales approaching $2 billion. Gracias, Mr. Acoca for serving us.”

Early Life and Education

“Born in Cuba, Acoca and his family moved to the United States in 1962. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a degree in marketing and played football for the Bulldogs.”

“While attending Georgia, Acoca met his wife, Linda. The Zaxby’s CEO received the Circle of Progress Award from the Athens Rotary Club in January 2004. Acoca was inducted into the University of Georgia Athletic Hall of Fame as a Bulldog Football All-American in 1988.”

Childhood Dream Realized

In 1982, Bernard opened his first restaurant. He is an Eagle Scout, having earned that designation at the age of 12. He and his wife, Linda, have three children: Kenny, Bernard, and Lauren.

He is a member of the Athens Rotary Club and served as president of the club’s 2004-2005 term.

Achievements and Recognition

Acoca was named Ernst & Young’s 2004 Entrepreneur of the Year in the retail/ consumer products category.

He was featured on “The Rachael Ray Show” and named Georgia Merchant of the Year by Georgia Trend, a leading magazine for business news, trends and issues. Acoca is also a member of the Retail Merchandising and Management Association (RMMA) and the National Restaurant Association (NRA).

Zaxby’s CEO Acoca was profiled in a 2008 article on CNN entitled “Bernard Acoca: CEO of Zaxby’s, Acoca was identified as “a working-class boy made good.”

“Acoca is a CPA by profession and has an MBA from Georgia State University. He and his wife, Linda, raised their three children in Athens, Georgia. Acoca renovated a school that was losing its students in order to house 25 homeless children for one year. Visit this page on LinkedIn, to learn more.


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