S9 E2: The King of Chicken and Beef: How Drew Gressett Opened 80+ Zaxby’s and Hat Creek Locations

Drew Gressett’s sitting down with the Wolf to discuss his personal journey in the restaurant industry—from his journey founding Hat Creek Burger Company to owning 60+ Zaxby’s.

Hear Hat Creek Burger Company’s humble origin story—from starting as a food truck in 2008 to now having 26 brick-and-mortar locations, Drew shares the challenges and triumphs of scaling his business. He shares how building a strong restaurant management team and securing financing helped fuel his exponential growth.

What are the unique dynamics of running both independent restaurants and franchise locations? And does Drew have plans to expand into other franchise brands or industries in the future?

Tune in now to find out!


00:00:23 – From Food Truck to Restaurant Success

00:07:13 – Lessons Learned from Hat Creek’s Expansion

00:08:10 – Growing Hat Creek to 26 Locations

00:15:12 – Expanding the Zaxby’s Franchise Portfolio

00:18:23 – Scaling Hat Creek 

00:20:37 – Building a Strong Restaurant Management Team

00:24:36 – Leveraging Seller Financing for Growth

00:28:56 – Franchise Friction: Running Own vs. Franchise

00:33:03 – Exploring New Franchise Opportunities and Industries

00:34:37 – New Builds vs. Acquisitions: Pros and Cons


Learn More About Zaxby’s:

Website: https://www.zaxbys.com/franchise


Learn More About Hat Creek Burger Company:

Website: https://hatcreekburgers.com/who-we-are


Follow Drew: 

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/drew-gressett-96891621a/


Follow The Wolf: 

Newsletter: https://workweek.com/brand/the-wolf-of-franchises/

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@thewolfoffranchises

Twitter: https://twitter.com/franchisewolf

Website: https://www.krokit.com


And for exclusive insider content, don’t forget to check out my YouTube channel.

Are you a future franchise entrepreneur? Find all of the tools you need to launch, operate, and expand your franchise empire with the platform created by The Wolf himself, Krokit.com.

And if you’ve enjoyed listening to Franchise Empires, I’d be so grateful if you could drop me a 5-star review on Rate My Podcast. Thank you so much!