Sonny’s BBQ Leverages 2023 Insights to Fuel Growth in 2024

by Katie Lee

Orlando, Fla. — The chief operating officer of Sonny’s BBQ, Billy Brewer, and its chief brand officer, Peter Frey, share their key learnings from 2023 that have positioned the brand to remain top of its class through an enhanced guest experience, training and development for team members, strengthening foundational operations, and delivery on quality and value.

Sonny’s BBQ has made meaningful progress and remained competitive despite industry-wide struggles to drive in-store traffic since the pandemic. As guest preferences continue to shift toward more off-premise dining options, Sonny’s BBQ prioritized the delivery of an improved curbside experience through geo-location tracking and an enhanced online presentation, among other efforts.

“As we experienced in 2023, technological advancements are guaranteed to revolutionize the restaurant experience,” says Frey. “We’ll continue to seek smart ways to integrate digital innovations to reduce operational friction, enhance ordering efficiency, personalize dining preferences and elevate overall customer satisfaction.”

Sonny’s BBQ has been following the changes in guest preferences that have stemmed from larger economic shifts. As the economy has influenced guest behavior and tendencies this past year, Sonny’s BBQ remained agile and flexible in its management and strategies.

“We have continued to be open to change and ready for challenges. Between staffing and continued supply chain volatility, we have to look for new ways to operate effectively,” explains Brewer. “Next year, we will work on simplifying and streamlining our current service model to help adapt to the changing staffing environment. We will continue to look for multiple sources for all products. We have learned over the last few years you must have plan b and c ready in regard to the supply chain.”

Leaders at Sonny’s BBQ anticipate the hospitality and restaurant industry to feel the growing pressures of similar challenges as 2023, though the brand is positioned to adapt and grow. Flexibility will drive Sonny’s BBQ’s strategy in 2024, as it continues to prioritize the evolution in its customer experience through improving and implementing new technology while focusing on consistency in its food and service. One key objective of the next year will be the development of a Sonny’s BBQ mobile app, which will cater to off-premise dining preferences and enhance online ordering and pickup.

In an effort to streamline operations, Sonny’s BBQ will test a few different initiatives to make its service model more effective aimed at removing unnecessary steps and building in more checks and balances to ensure consistency and quality. As part of these efforts, Sonny’s BBQ is testing new store prototypes with a smaller footprint that are designed to more efficiently address off-premise dining preferences and staff operations. On top of that, there will be a heightened focus on leadership development and training within each restaurant’s community. This strategic priority aims to bring new opportunities to exceptional leaders including Pitmaster Academy, prospective franchising program and effective technology implementation that increases knowledge, transparency and speed in communication.

With nearly 100 locations spanning the Southeast, Sonny’s BBQ® is one of the largest barbecue restaurant brands in the country. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille, founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. For more information, visit and

SOURCE: Sonny’s BBQ®

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