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Sonny's BBQ Cooks Up New Data Strategy to Tighten Margins & ID Marketing Ops


Sonny’s BBQ is a regional restaurant chain with 110 locations in the Southeastern US.

It started in Gainesville, Fla., in 1968 as a local BBQ joint and have held true to its roots. In 2013, the company underwent a brand refresh to revitalize their focus on the craft of true quality, slow-smoked BBQ and their local Pitmasters. This exciting refresh reconnected Sonny’s BBQ with the modern audience and spurred a corporate interest for more updated management and data analysis strategies.

The industry is highly competitive, and it is increasingly important to make targeted strategic decisions based on actionable data. Sonny’s corporate decided to reimagine its data strategy to tighten margins, improve visibility and control, and identify strategic marketing opportunities. The company recognized an opportunity in collecting and efficiently managing both transactional and operational data. The companyy wanted a solution that would consolidate data sources and streamline reporting and analysis for store level and corporate visibility. This meant selecting and implementing a new POS and back-office system to efficiently manage the data in conjunction.  Joe Tenczar, CIO for Sonny’s BBQ, shared details about the process and results.


In 2014, Sonny’s reviewed data management strategies and decided to implement the Brink POS and Restaurant Magic’s back-office software. Restaurant Magic’s software maintains a partnership and integration with Brink’s open API to help seamlessly manage transactional level data and create high level reports and analyses. This data strategy provides an excellent platform for consolidating data. The teams attended a summit to create an optimized strategy that would maximize the integration potential between the systems.

Sonny’s BBQ corporate wanted to strengthen the data analysis skills of its decision makers. They worked with Restaurant Magic to create a customized implementation and training scenario that was fully implemented in 2015. The implementation provided a major change for corporate visibility as well as store managers. Sonny’s has continued to strengthen their operations with Restaurant Magic’s food management and reporting tools. They have also utilized custom reports and brand-specific features created by Restaurant Magic to maximize their utilization.


Since implementing the solution, Sonny’s has experienced “explosive growth” and impressive COGS savings of 1-2.4%. The systems have enabled more effective and focused marketing and promotions efforts as well as improved daily operations management and corporate data visibility. Food costs are at an all-time low, personnel have more clarity of purpose, and Restaurant Magic has “strongly impacted loss prevention.” The company has experienced an increase in total sales “at 4.93% above the industry average” and has “exceeded the 90th percentile for all casual dining restaurants according to BBI.”

The team enjoys utilizing the custom dashboards, scheduled reports and alerts, predictive inventory management and food prep tools, and “near real-time reports.” They recognized the benefit of focused data management and analysis and have fully committed to implementing a robust strategy. They have seen spectacular results from being able to quickly and easily make data-driven decisions and are continuing to develop their data strategy for greater returns.

Restaurant Magic has been providing advanced software solutions to the restaurant and hospitality industry for over 30 years. The robust Data Central Management Suite, the flagship product, is a powerful and flexible application that takes advantage of the latest technology trends to offer premier processing and analytics. With advanced forecasting, predictive scheduling and mobile technologies, Restaurant Magic has something for every problem. To learn more about Restaurant Magic and its products, call  800-933-4711 or visit

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