Restaurant Marketing Success Celebrates Fire & Smoke


As a restaurant branding expert, Push was tasked with completely overhauling the restaurant’s positioning, its brand identity and overall marketing strategy to bring back the renowned authenticity of Sonny’s BBQ.

Sonnys BBQ Building Exterior


Using consumer insights, Push developed a contemporary interpretation of the iconic Pitmaster, showcasing the brand’s mastery of the art of BBQ. We shifted the focus from price and product to the men and women who spend hours perfecting their craft and showcasing their accomplishments both in the smoker and on the plate. The local Pitmaster became an iconic figure for the new Sonny’s restaurant brand and the hero for new restaurant marketing.


With the new brand strategy, Push undertook a complete restaurant rebrand of all design and marketing materials affecting every consumer touchpoint from back of house to front. New restaurant uniforms for every team member. New restaurant logo designs on all buildings and collateral. New restaurant menu designs. New restaurant merchandising that leveraged what was great in ’68 as well as today. And more.


For all restaurant remodels and new restaurant store designs, we paid homage to the humble beginnings of Sonny’s while creating a unique BBQ experience. To give Sonny’s instant credibility, we made the smoker the focal point of our new restaurant design and we worked closely with the restaurant architect to ensure the brand lived authentically throughout. To further support the brand story, we developed a complete restaurant clutter package that featured the Pitmasters and the food they perfected.


Developing the right marketing and messaging mix for any restaurant brand is critical to drive guest count and sales. We spend an incredible amount of time perfecting both messaging and imagery used in TV commercials, OOH, menu design, digital media, social media and email marketing.


Over 65% of digital users are using through a mobile device so we built a mobile-first platform as the foundation for the restaurant’s digital strategy. By leveraging years of experience in restaurant local store marketing, restaurant mobile apps, solid restaurant SEO strategy and a strong relationship with OLO, Push was able to ensure Sonny’s guests were able to find locations, menus and limited-time offers on every possible platform for a robust digital restaurant presence.


Push develops content that’s perfect for restaurant social media platforms and there’s no more passionate audience than BBQ fans. They are eager to learn all they can about the latest BBQ offers, news, recipes and competitions. Using all social media platforms, we create dynamic restaurant content supported by video, photography, restaurant influencer marketing, community engagement and other social content.


Knowing that Millennials and Gen Z restaurant customers engage more with brands that give back to the community, Push developed both an internal cause platform—Random Acts of BBQ—and a consumer facing platform called ‘Q The Kindness. We activate both through social media and constantly document their impact using our content studio to capture the events and the effect they have on people.


We recognize how critical hiring the right people is to a restaurant brand. Push works directly with Sonny’s restaurant human resources department to create materials to recruit, recognize and retain the best and brightest. We developed and continue to update human resources materials that focus on both the corporate office and franchisees so that all team members represent the new restaurant brand and act as stewards of the brand when interacting with guests.