CHARLOTTE, NC – Bojangles', opened of its 500th restaurant in Surf City, NC on June 7.

Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas opened the first Bojangles' in the Charlotte, NC, in 1977. The concept has grown and evolved over the past 35 years to become one of the most recognized foodservice brands in the Southeast.

"We attribute the steady growth and success of Bojangles' to our distinctive, great tasting food and the heroes of our business who prepare and serve our unique recipes and provide top-quality service to guests in our restaurants every day," said Randy Kibler, president and CEO.

Bojangles' chicken is fresh, never frozen, and is hand battered each day.

"We've really been able to get a sense of the culture that has developed among lovers of Bojangles' since the inception of social media," said Randy Poindexter, senior vice president of marketing.

So far in 2011, a new Bojangles' has opened, on average, every nine days. Each new restaurant equals a $1.7 million investment and creates 25 to 30 new jobs. Bojangles' expansion to 500 units comes as systemwide revenue has exceeded company records, approaching nearly $800 million for 2011.

First franchised in 1978, Bojangles' operates 500 locations in 10 states, primarily in the Southeast.