ORLANDO Fla. Smokey Bones Barbeque & Grill has opened the doors to a redesigned restaurant here with a new name and decor that move away from the chain's barbecue heritage. Now called Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, the restaurant has dropped its log-cabin theme and made the bar its centerpiece.
The revamped restaurant, located in Orlando's Waterford Lakes area, also features high-top tables and flat-screen TVs, which are part of Smokey Bones' effort to make its restaurants more of a social destination, company officials said. The company said it plans to roll out elements of the redesign to more restaurants in Central Florida and eventually to other markets. Smokey Bones has 73 units nationwide.
Smokey Bones officials said the redesign is based on consumer research that indicates that people are looking for more than just a meal when they dine out, but also a place to have fun and connect with others.
"Smokey Bones is now a place where people can comfortably gather, whether it is just for a drink or to enjoy our boldly flavored food," said Ian Baines, president and chief executive of the company.
Servers at the revamped unit also have a new look, sporting "personalized" T-shirts instead of collared shirts. And later this month, Smokey Bones will roll out a redesigned menu and website, officials said.
Smokey Bones' menu continues to feature barbecue, but more emphasis is placed on grilled items and other non-barbecue choices.
The overhaul at Smokey Bones began after it was purchased in December by an affiliate of Sun Capital Partners Inc. The private-equity firm bought the casual-dining chain from Darden Restaurants Inc. for $80 million.