Smokey Bones announced it reopened all of its 61 restaurants in 16 states by Tuesday, June 30. During the pandemic, Smokey Bones created and opened its 61st restaurant, a ghost kitchen in Chicago and opened a new brand, The Wing Experience, in June as a virtual restaurant located inside its ghost kitchen.
“We are proud to not only have reopened all of our restaurants, but we have demonstrated, with the launch of our ghost and virtual kitchens, that Smokey Bones is a growth brand, now and in the future,” says James O’Reilly, CEO of Smokey Bones. “During the shutdown of dining rooms, we intensified our focus on curbside pickup and delivery, and launched pop-up drive thrus, all of which propelled our off-premise business to the highest levels we have ever experienced. We intend to continue emphasizing off premise service options as our guests also return to our dining rooms.”
Smokey Bones has also started recalling furloughed employees and is seeking new employees to fill open positions. “Many of our employees have returned to work, which we believe is due to the safety measures we have put in place and our strong culture at Smokey Bones Nation”, said Rachael Kelly Marcus, Chief Human Resources Officer. “During the furlough, we were very transparent; our executives communicated with employees directly through text chats and weekly video town hall meetings. Our goal was to provide them with resources and ensure they were receiving the support they needed – everything from filling out unemployment forms to rent negotiations.”
Smokey Bones is following all CDC and state guidelines and takes all necessary precautions to serve guests while keeping them and employees safe. Some of the safety measures will include spacing tables farther apart to maintain social distancing; masks and glove usage for employees; and rigorous and frequent cleaning of restrooms, dining rooms and waiting areas. “Guest and employee safety remain our number one priority, and we are excited to be welcoming guests back to our dining rooms for award winning barbeque and our legendary service,” says Hal Lawlor, Smokey Bones Chief Operating Officer.
Smokey Bones partnered with Kitchen United to open the Chicago ghost kitchen and virtual restaurant. Guests can order for delivery only, or pick up their orders at Kitchen United’s location at 831 N. Sedgwick Street. Uber Eats is the exclusive delivery service for The Wing Experience.
The Smokey Bones Chicago menu features some of the restaurant’s most popular menu items, while The Wing Experience caters specifically to wing-lovers and offers a total of 14 different flavors, including three new sauces not available at Smokey Bones – Maple Bacon, Peach Bourbon and The Experienced Wings, for guests who like it really hot.