NBA star invests in BBQ chain as it looks to slam dunk franchise market

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This Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ, the Atlanta-based Southern home-style restaurant brand, has launched franchising program and at the same time announced the signing of professional NBA player Paul Millsap as its first area developer for Greater Atlanta.

The newly-revamped chain has also appointed Tamala Fowler as its CEO and partnered with renowned BBQ restaurateur and Food Network star Pat Neely to assist in recipe development and new menu offerings.

This Is It! was founded more than 35 years ago by the Anthony family, which has a rich, 80-year history in the restaurant business.

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Heralded as local pioneers of Southern home-style cuisine, the Anthony family created a wide-ranging menu of Southern fried chicken, BBQ ribs and brisket, seafood dishes such as grilled salmon and fried tilapia, and extensive options of homemade Southern sides including mac n’ cheese, collard greens, and sweet potatoes.

With 11 locations throughout Greater Atlanta, This Is It! restaurants are recognized for their exceptional hospitality while serving the best Southern home-style dishes.

During his time in Atlanta playing for the Atlanta Hawks, Mr Millsap became a frequent visitor to This Is It! restaurants and was drawn to the brand’s emphasis on family and its mix of homemade BBQ, seafood, and soul food.

As the brand’s first area developer for Greater Atlanta, he plans to open at least three new locations in the area, with the first of these restaurants to open by mid-2020.

“While I was living in Atlanta, I fell in love with This Is It! restaurants for their delicious food and strong focus on family and Southern hospitality,” he explained. “As a longtime fan of the brand, I jumped at the opportunity to expand this concept throughout Georgia and am excited for This Is It! to become a large part of my future in the restaurant industry.”

With the brand’s franchising launch, This Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ has named franchise veteran Tamala Fowler as its new CEO.

Ms Fowler was previously the President of GiGi’s Cupcakes, where she oversaw aggressive store growth, and served as the senior vice president of supply chain and international development for Dickey’s Barbeque Pit, in which she spearheaded the brand’s entrance into retail locations such as Walmart and Kroger.

“The Anthony family created such a beloved, strong brand with a loyal customer base throughout Atlanta thanks to their fresh, great tasting Southern food and genuine hospitality,” said Fowler. “We look forward to continuing that tradition of family, hospitality, and high-quality Southern dishes with our franchise partners as we grow this brand in communities throughout the Southeast.”

This Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ is currently seeking single and multi-unit franchisees with a passion for the restaurant business to open locations in available territories throughout the Southeast.

The total initial investment for This Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ ranges from $664,800 to $902,250 for a dine-in restaurant to $450,650 to $605,400 for a “To-Go” location

Tags : franchiseNBAoperatorsPaul MillsaprestaurantsThis Is It! Southern Kitchen and BBQ
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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