Lead Dawg: Breeanna Williams

Tasty Innovations

In the test kitchen at Zaxby’s Franchising, Breeanna Williams (BSA – Food Science, ’13; MS – Food Science, ’15) is helping the popular chicken chain implement new products while making sure every item on the menu meets the company’s standards for quality — no matter where the food is sourced.

Williams is a menu services specialist with the menu innovation team at Zaxby’s Franchising, where she is tasked with developing and systemize new products to continually improve the selection Zaxby’s offers to its customers.

“This position allows me to be hands-on with food, working in the test kitchen,” Williams said. “This lets me utilize my background and love for food science while making sure customers consistently receive quality products.”

In addition to menu improvement, Williams helps evaluate the food handling and preparation procedures followed by employees in every Zaxby’s restaurant to ensure that customers know what they’re getting at any Zaxby’s they visit.

Previously, Williams was a Family and Consumer Sciences agent for University of Georgia Cooperative Extension in DeKalb County.

Her love for food and her understanding of its importance as the backbone of family and community structures came from the time she spent in the kitchen with her extended family.

That early passion for food led her to study food science at the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, where she learned the practical and realistic approach to food she uses in her career.

In her work with UGA Extension, Williams helped operate Fresh on DeK — DeKalb County’s mobile farmers market. Operating from a renovated prison bus, Fresh on DeK delivers fresh produce to approximately 5,000 DeKalb residents from June through September.

“My most recent experience in nutrition education allows me to bring a unique perspective to the menu innovation team at Zaxby’s. My role with Extension required that I conduct a needs assessment to best assist the community I served. Similarly, in my new role as menu services specialist, much of the work that we do to continuously improve and develop new products and processes is influenced by feedback from Zaxby’s managers, team members and guests,” she said. 

By Sage Barnard and Maria M. Lameiras

Breeanna Williams
Breeanna Williams brings a passion for food science to an evolving career. (Photo contributed