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How Smokey Mo’s TX BBQ plans to become the ‘best neighborhood barbecue in Texas’

Restaurant president Craig Haley on development plans, menu innovation, and loyalty


This week on Extra Serving, a podcast from Nation’s Restaurant News, we’re sharing a recent conversation between NRN senior editor Joanna Fantozzi, and Smokey Mo’s TX BBQ president Craig Haley.

Smokey Mo’s, based in Austin, Texas, suburb Cedar Park, is an emerging fast-casual barbecue chain with 19 locations and counting in the state of Texas. Craig said the brand is on a quest to be “the best neighborhood barbecue in Texas.” An ambitious goal, especially in a state Haley declares “the barbecue capital of the world.”

Still, Smokey Mo’s seems to be on the right trajectory, at least if growth is anything to go by. According to Technomic data, Smokey Mo’s grew sales by more than 10% in 2023 as the chain clocked nearly 6% unit growth, with more already coming in 2024.

Haley and Fantozzi talked about the brand’s continued development plans — including whether the company will ever branch outside of Texas — as well as menu innovation and loyalty.

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