Smokey Bones has appointed longtime restaurateur James O’Reilly as the new CEO. O’Reilly joins Smokey Bones from Long John Silver’s, where he served as CEO for four years. He was selected by private equity firm Sun Capital Partners for his track record of leadership, brand building, and value creation
O’Reilly’s plans are to improve restaurant operations and the guest experience, invest in new technology and restaurant development, create greater brand and menu differentiation, and develop cultural initiatives aimed at making Smokey Bones one of the best places to work in South Florida and around the country.
O’Reilly has created success wherever he’s gone. While at Sonic Drive-In, he led significant sales improvements contributing to an all-time high system revenue of $4 billion. At Long John Silver’s, O’Reilly led brand and cultural improvements that resulted in the company being named a Best Place to Work in Kentucky by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, and he was named “Turnaround Man”, by the Louisville Courier Journal. He has also received numerous leadership awards, including being named a Marketer of the Next Generation by BrandWeek.
With more than 20 years of restaurant experience, O’Reilly began his career in the international division of PepsiCo in Canada. He has held marketing and research and development leadership positions for YUM Brands in the Caribbean, Latin America, and the United Kingdom. He went on to become the CMO of KFC U.S. and senior vice president of U.S. marketing for YUM Brands. Later, O’Reilly became the CMO and chief brand officer of Sonic Drive-In before becoming the CEO of Long John Silver’s.