Tony Roma’s Franchisee Reviews
Thunder Bay, Canada Opens to Record Sales
One of the newest Tony Roma’s locations showcasing the modern Tony Roma’s 2.0 design is in Thunder Bay, Canada. Our restaurant, located in the largest city in Northwestern Ontario, has been reporting rave reviews from the community and local media from day one.
“Tony Roma’s first launched in Canada nearly 30 years ago, and our continued growth in Thunder Bay is a true testament to our iconic brand, our world-famous food and beverages, and the incredible passion of our franchisees,” says President and CEO Stephen K. Judge. “Leena Avella-Lem and Gordie Lem have been part of the Tony Roma’s family for nearly 20 years and have helped to build the brand in Canada, and we’re excited to welcome them as our newest Canadian franchisee.”
The Thunder Bay restaurant is on the coast of Lake Superior and is near the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park, a destination for thousands of outdoor enthusiasts each year. The 8,400-square-foot restaurant seats nearly 240 people, has a full bar serving an extensive collection of beer, wine and liquor (including our signature hand-shaken Romaritas®), eight 60-inch TVs throughout the restaurant, and a private dining room to accommodate business functions and social gatherings.
The Lems, who are husband-and-wife owners and operators, are originally from Thunder Bay and were thrilled to be coming home.
“We moved away from Thunder Bay 17 years ago to work at Tony Roma’s in Calgary, but we always kept Thunder Bay close to our hearts,” Leena told CBC News.
“We know Thunder Bay is full of great, friendly people. After working for a franchise that values these characteristics, we figured, ‘Why not get the two together?’ We have always said Thunder Bay is superior by nature, and we feel our franchise is, as well. It is the perfect match.”
McAllen, Texas Gets Rave Reviews
Texas-based franchisee Rick Guerra has more than two decades as an owner with the Tony Roma’s brand and is thrilled with the performance of his remodeled McAllen, Texas, location which attracts a variety of customers, from families to business travelers to “winter Texan” retirees.
The restaurant has been updated and the full-service bar has been expanded with plenty of TVs for sports fans wanting to grab a beer and appetizers. The expanded bar also does well with business travelers and groups stopping in for happy hour. The enhancements are receiving rave reviews and complement the already well-loved, high-quality Tony Roma’s menu. “We’ve made the changes necessary to be successful and update the brand without affecting the core of what we are: ribs, steaks and seafood,” Rick says. “We offer a good variety for anyone with any size appetite, and the emphasis at Tony Roma’s is always on the quality of product. The quality of food we are putting out has never been better. We are everything from a specialty events place, for birthday or anniversary celebrations, to the type of place you’d go when your boss is in town, to a more upscale casual dining experience for the entire family.”
Both customers and employees are thrilled with the updated restaurant, Rick says. The following text message is just an example of the type of feedback he is receiving: “Rick, I hadn’t been able to try your new location until this last weekend and both the service and the food were fabulous!! And your staff is top notch. Thanks for a great experience.”
Staff members are proud to work at the updated McAllen restaurant and morale has never been higher.
“The uniqueness of the product is what makes Tony Roma’s stand out,” Rick says. “It’s such a great brand story. I fell in love with the brand 23 years ago and I’m still in love with it.”
Tony Roma’s is a Best Bet Worldwide
Jun Horiuchi, president for WD International Inc., has been with the Tony Roma’s brand since 1993, and his company opened the first international location in Tokyo, Japan, in 1979. That location is still open, thanks to the iconic nature of the Tony Roma’s brand.
“Tony Roma’s is well known. People know the brand in Japan, California, Hawaii — the brand recognition is there. It’s a historic brand and as long as Romacorp sends that message out to the world that it is still a growing brand that is also open to trying new things, I think the brand can thrive for the next 100 years,” Jun says.
Tony Roma’s has done well internationally as American cuisine holds an undeniable enticement for overseas customers. Our world-famous ribs are at the heart of that appeal. “The ribs are a differentiator. Tony Roma’s is known for that. We are also known for our Onion Loaf and other menu items like the Romarita. The number one identifier and differentiator is the ribs. It will always be the ribs.”