Five Reasons to Open a Tony Roma’s Franchise

Iconic brand with tremendous brand equity is poised for domestic expansion

exteriorInvest in a Tony Roma’s franchise, and you’ll be joining a world-class restaurant franchise with unprecedented brand affinity. After years of focusing on international expansion, we are expanding again in the U.S. and Canada, bringing our mouthwatering ribs and other family favorites to a new generation.

Tony Roma’s has always been THE place for RIBS. Our fans have been rolling up their sleeves and enjoying our mouthwatering, craveable ribs for nearly 45 years. Today our iconic brand is stronger than ever, with a new restaurant design and a popular new menu. We’ve stayed loyal to the core DNA that has made us famous worldwide, and we’re attracting the next generation of loyal Tony Roma’s customers as we work toward the goal of 250 new locations over the next decade. We offer a lower initial investment than many upscale casual dining, full-service restaurants.

If you are an experienced operator looking for a strong investment in a brand that has stood the test of time, here are five reasons to open a Tony Roma’s franchise:

Tony Roma’s franchise has strong global brand affinity

Ask for a Tony Roma’s story at any social gathering, and you’ll be met with an onslaught of positive memories of celebratory moments shared with family and friends. Tony Roma’s invokes an emotional connection like no other restaurant brand. Guests drive out of their way to visit our restaurants, seek out the nearest Tony Roma’s when on business trips or vacations and many visit several nights in a row — enjoying the nostalgia along with our world-famous ribs.

There are few brands on the market with such strong loyalty and appeal to a broad spectrum of customers. Whether it’s for a dinner with the boss or a family birthday celebration, we encourage our guests to roll up their sleeves, put on a bib and get messy while they enjoy our mouthwatering ribs.

“Our legacy brand conjures up positive images of positive memories from childhood,” says CEO Stephen K. Judge. “Do not underestimate the brand affinity of Tony Roma’s.”

New design is inviting and efficient


When Tony Roma opened the first Tony Roma’s in North Miami in 1972, the original concept featured an interior with dark wood tables and booths, dim lighting and a steakhouse ambience. Today our new restaurant design, featured at our flagship International Drive location in Orlando, has a modern, open flow. Select new locations also feature an expanded outdoor patio dining area with ample seating for social gatherings, as well as plenty of TV screens for watching sports and outdoor fireplaces for added coziness.

Not only is the more open floor plan more aesthetically pleasing, modern and elegant, but it is also a better buy for investors. The newer layout features a smaller kitchen, dining area and bar, which translates into a lower initial investment. Newer restaurant designs also feature a private dining room to accommodate business functions and social gatherings for an added revenue stream. The bar layout is a draw for business travelers and groups stopping in for happy hour.

We have also changed our preferred building model from freestanding to an in-line, end cap or mall location. These restaurants are more flexible to locate and allow franchisees to get closer to their core customer base. Because these models typically involve a lease, the launch process is simplified — minus building permits, contractors and other building processes. This new model is significantly less expensive and is also faster to build; your Tony Roma’s location can be open in almost half the time of a freestanding build.

Consistently high-quality menu with ribs as focus

crispy-pork-ribsRibs will always be the heart of our menu at Tony Roma’s, and the preparation and buildout of that signature part of our menu allows us to shine innovatively. We’re introducing new ways to order and enjoy ribs — appealing to millennial consumers who love to customize their dining experience. The quality, freshness and consistency of our entire menu, and not just the ribs, places us ahead of other upscale casual dining concepts. Whether customers are ordering our longtime customer favorite Onion Loaf or enjoying a Romarita that is shaken by hand for them by their server tableside, our consistently high-quality food makes fans for life.

“People today are eating differently and wanting smaller portions, and we’re responding to that trend while being true to our roots,” says Senior Vice President of Culinary Bob Gallagher. “We are reimagining our brand to a more modern and elegant look while keeping it relevant to Tony Roma’s. Our menu will be more diverse but smaller — with a focus on innovative ways to offer our signature ribs.”

Prime locations available nationwide

After years of building our footprint internationally, our new company leadership is poised to strategically grow Tony Roma’s in the United States and Canada. With more than 150 locations in more than 30 countries, Tony Roma’s offers significant room for growth in major metropolitan areas, shopping malls and secondary markets.

The U.S. and Canadian markets are wide open, and we are poised to open 250 new locations over the next decade. “The opportunity is phenomenal with plenty of untapped territories. We have a lot of opportunity in terms of geographical span in both Canada and the United States,” says Jonathan Benjamin, Vice President of Development for U.S. and Canada.

New leadership making positive changes

We have made significant leadership changes at our corporate headquarters to ensure our brand will be around for another 40-plus years. From marketing to technology to operations, we’ve put together a world-class team to guide Tony Roma’s during this next domestic phase of expansion.

CEO Stephen K. Judge is a professional chef with more than 25 years of experience, both international and domestic, in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Throughout his career he has introduced unique dining concepts to the hospitality industry with a focus on service excellence and culinary sophistication. Before joining Romacorp, Stephen led national brands such as Bonefish Grill and Seasons 52.

“We’ve got some of the best people in the industry working at Tony Roma’s in leadership roles. We have a really strong team and an incredible brand, and we are growing. It’s an opportune time to get in on the ground floor of putting this amazing brand where it deserves to be,” says Chief Marketing Officer Jim Rogers.

Learn more about Tony Roma’s

For in-depth details about the Tony Roma’s franchise opportunity, request our free franchise report. You can also learn more by visiting our research pages.