Shoney’s restaurants, a family dining chain that in its heyday had 1,000 locations situated coast-to-coast, is intent on returning to its “Glory Days,” says Shoney’s chairman and CEO David Davoudpour. The mid-January opening of the brand’s prototype restaurant in Sugarloaf Mills in Lawrenceville, Georgia offers the first glimpse of Davoudpour’s vision for the dining chain moving forward.
“The concept is a stepping stone for the brand,” says Davoudpour, who purchased the company in 2006. “It is the only restaurant we have with every single aspect and concept of the brand, under one roof. And it’s our first in a mall.”
The menu has expanded, offering long stead favorites as well as new additions, to provide more choices with greater appeal. “We’ll have our cooked-to-order entrees and seasonal buffets that we’re famous for,” says Davoudpour. “In addition, there is Shoney’s ‘On The Go’ quick-service section, which is really a concept in and of itself. We also have a full service bar with big screen televisions. So there are the traditional favorites and never-before-seen features, all under one roof at Sugarloaf Mills.”
The 3,500-square-foot restaurant seats 107 guests. While more than 90 percent of entrées are still priced at under $10, there are also new higher-end value-priced menu items, such as Black Angus Steak and Grilled Wild Caught Pacific.
“I really want to get back to the core value of this brand, and that is the food,” says Davoudpour. “What I’m most excited about is the quality and the freshness of the food. Frozen food is going the way of the past for this brand.”
Since acquiring Shoney’s, Davoudpour has been on a mission to revitalize and reinvigorate the family-friendly, southern-style brand. There are currently 165 restaurants in 16 states.
“Our brand's standards consist of serving consistently fresh quality food at a great value with friendly service,” says Davoudpour. “These are non-negotiable and vital to the future success of Shoney’s.”
Adds Davoudpour, “Shoney’s is back, better than ever, and we felt this was an ideal time to show the world our vision of Shoney’s bright future.”
By Joann Whitcher