Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q announced a new branding initiative at its franchisee convention in Orlando Tuesday, including new uniforms, a new logo and a new restaurant prototype.

The goal: To expand the brand and boost sales growth.

“There’s going to be a complete repackage of the brand,” said Dominic Losacco, the company’s vice president of marketing. “I’ve been with the company now for about four months. We’ve been working on a new look for the Sonny’s brand.”


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The goal is to eventually roll out the full brand refresh to all of the brand’s locations.

Overall, the brand refresh is intended to call back to Sonny’s 1968 Southern barbecue roots, he said. The new tagline reads, “Local Pitmasters Since ‘68.”

“Our goal is to have a certified pit master at every one of our locations,” he said, adding that although he couldn’t enumerate specific design changes to the Sonny’s restaurant locations, the revamps stores would put the pit master “out front.”

The pitmaster would function as a liaison to guests within stores, Losacco said, chatting with customers and fostering a sense of community—a key notion for a successful local barbecue joint.

The company is also looking to replace the plateware and interior décor, Losacco added.

Losacco said that although barbecue tends to be regional for most diners, there is lots of room for growth within the segment.

“I don’t necessarily see BBQ as dominated by one single player,” he said. “I think that goes back to the importance of our pitmaster strategy…there’s a reality to barbecue being for local establishments.

“I think that could help address some of those [regional] issues,” he noted. “We have not really run into that.”

The company said it was unclear how much each redesign and branding revamp would cost at each location, but said the needs and price would likely vary by franchisee.

The company also noted that it was unclear how quickly the rollout would occur. However, the changes will likely begin during the third or fourth quarter of this calendar year.

The rebrand announcement comes after Sonny’s made two new executive hires public last week: Losacco and the company’s chief operating officer, Brandon Manly.

Winter Park, Fla.-based Sonny’s has 125 locations, a majority of which are franchised.

Contact Erin Dostal at erin.dostal@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @ErinDostal