Sun Capital Partners Inc. has named restaurant veteran James O’Reilly as CEO of its Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, the company said Wednesday.
O’Reilly joins the Aventura, Fla.-based casual-dining chain after serving four years as the CEO of quick-service Long John Silver’s, the company said.O’Reilly succeeds Ryan Esko, who had been named CEO in August 2015 and departed in May.
“The opportunity to join Smokey Bones and build a new leadership team was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up,” said O’Reilly in a statement. “Smokey Bones is an excellent brand with a proud history and strong restaurant teams. Together we will build one of the leading casual dining brands in the USA.”
Prior to Long John’s Silvers, O’Reilly served as chief marketing officer and chief brand officer for Oklahoma City-based Sonic Corp.
O’Reilly began his career in the international division of PepsiCo in Canada. He held marketing and research and development leadership positions for Yum Brands in the Caribbean, Latin America and the United Kingdom and went on to become the chief marketing officer of KFC U.S. and senior vice president of U.S. marketing for Yum Brands.
The company said O’Reilly plans to improve Smoke Bones restaurant operations and the guest experience, invest in new technology and restaurant development, create greater brand and menu differentiation and develop cultural workplace initiatives.
Boca Raton, Fla.-based Sun Capital acquired Smokey Bones from Darden Restaurants Inc. in January 2008.
Smokey Bones has 61 full-service locations in 16 states
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