Sonny’s BBQ was founded in 1968 in Gainesville, Florida, by Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife Lucille. The original name was Sonny’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q. The name was changed in 2013. The company began franchising in 1977. One franchisor, Robert Yarmouth, and his cousin Jeff, purchased the company in 1991. Robert Yarmouth remains CEO of the company.
Today, the company has 113 locations in 9 states. The company is best known for its unique BBQ recipe, ribs, chicken, and pork. In addition to food, the company also offers coffee mugs, bottled BBQ sauce, T-shirts, and caps with the company logo.
In 2015, the company sold off 9 out of its 10 company-owned locations in Florida, in hopes of better managing their other locations.
Sonny’s BBQ offers a “Random Act of BBQ” each August in honor of Tillman’s birthday. The company provides free BBQ meals with help from community volunteers or community groups. In addition to gift cards, the company also offers catering services.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, Sonny’s closed dine-in seating and encouraged delivery and take out orders.