Tony Roma's - Press Releases

April 13, 2017

Tony Roma’s Ignites Renewed US Growth with New Franchise Agreement

Addition of first new US franchisee in over five years reflects excitement generated by recent Tony Roma’s brand transformation

ORLANDO, Fla. – April 13, 2017 – Romacorp, Inc., the parent company of Tony Roma’s, announces the signing of a new franchise agreement with GEM Hospitality, LLC, bringing Tony Roma’s world-famous ribs to fans in West Palm Beach, FL. Not only does this agreement mark the addition of the first new US franchisee since 2011, it also marks the first new franchise agreement in the US since Tony Roma’s brand transformation and the October 2016 grand opening of the new global prototype restaurant in Orlando, Fla.  Following intensive consumer research, the 2016 brand transformation included a complete overhaul of the restaurant environment, service approach and food and beverage offerings to meet the demands of today’s consumer.

“Since the opening of our global prototype in Orlando, we’ve seen incredible momentum in our discussions with new and existing franchisees,” said Stephen K. Judge, President and Chief Executive Officer of Romacorp, Inc. “One of our biggest goals in implementing the brand transformation was to drive new and renewed interest in domestic franchising, and the global prototype has had an immediate impact on our work to grow the Tony Roma’s US restaurant base.”

While domestic franchise growth has been a key focus area for the company, international markets have also seen impressive recent growth through the addition of new units with existing franchisees and the addition of new franchisees. Romacorp recently announced the signing of a development agreement that will bring Tony Roma’s world famous ribs to Nicaragua for the first time in history. Additional domestic and international agreements are in the works and will be announced once completed.

“We are thrilled to join the Tony Roma’s family, a brand that has been the preeminent place for ribs for the last 45 years,” said Brian Vermeulen, Owner and Managing Member of GEM Hospitality, LLC. “Our location inside the Hilton Hotel at West Palm Beach Airport (PBI) means that fans traveling from all over the world, and those who are West Palm Beach residents, will now be able to enjoy Tony Roma’s world famous ribs and signature cocktails – an experience everyone should have the chance to delight in.”

This string of landmark announcements comes as Tony Roma’s celebrates its 45th birthday, an incredible milestone unmatched by any American casual dining restaurant chain.  Since first opening its doors in Miami, Florida in 1972, Tony Roma’s has become one of the most globally recognized brands in the restaurant industry. With restaurants in more than 30 countries around the world, Tony Roma’s continued growth has established the brand as the largest casual dining chain in the world specializing in ribs.

About Romacorp, Inc.

Romacorp, Inc., is the parent company of Tony Roma’s restaurants, the world’s largest casual dining concept specializing in ribs. Headquartered in Orlando, Florida, Romacorp, Inc. has more than 150 restaurant locations in more than 30 countries and is one of the most globally recognizable names in the industry. The first Tony Roma’s restaurant opened 45 years ago in North Miami, Florida. Tony Roma’s is also proud to partner with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (, one of the world’s leading children’s charities, in an effort to help grant the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses across Central and Northern Florida.  For more information about Romacorp, Inc. and Tony Roma’s, visit

Please visit or call (866) 981-0586 for information about Tony Roma’s franchising opportunities.

Media Contact:

Esther McIlvain

Uproar PR for Romacorp, Inc.

(321) 236-0102 x 230