Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Q

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Sonny's BBQ
Type Private
Genre Restaurants
Founder(s) Floyd 'Sonny' Tillman
Headquarters Gainesville, Florida, United States
Number of locations 124
Area served Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee
Key people Sonny Tillman, John Yarmuth
Owner(s) Bob and Jeff Yarmuth

Sonny's BBQ is a barbecue restaurant chain founded by Floyd 'Sonny' Tillman in Gainesville, Florida in 1968. Bob and Jeff Yarmuth, franchisees in the Orlando area, purchased the company in 1991 and moved the headquarters to Maitland, Florida. Sonny's has 126 restaurants in nine Southern states.

Franchisee recession troubles[edit]

On September 25, 2008, Greater Atlanta Bar-B-Q (the only Metro Atlanta franchisee of Sonny's) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for ten locations, four of which were closed completely, raising concerns about another restaurant's viability after Metromedia Restaurant Group closed its Bennigan's and Steak and Ale restaurant chains. Yet as of the first week of June in 2009, they came out of bankruptcy completing Chapter 11 requirements.[1] On October 15, 2008, all three Sonny's locations in the Greater Daytona Beach Area, Florida are closed.[2] Also, as of December 1, 2009, the Tifton, Georgia restaurant became known as The Smokehouse Restaurant due to disputes with Sonny's over imagery and icons in the restaurant itself and on employees' clothing.[3] On February 4, 2013 the Oxford, Alabama Location Closed due to the economic downfall.


  1. ^ Trubey, J. Scott (2008-09-25). "Operator of 10 Sonny's restaurants files for Chapter 11". Atlanta Business Chronicle. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  2. ^ Sonny's in Daytona Closes but Chain is Poised for Growth
  3. ^ Thompson, Angie (2009-12-01). "Tifton Gazette - Tifton restaurant owner loses Sonny's franchise". Tifton Gazette. Tifton Gazette. Retrieved 2009-12-16. 

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