Shannon Snell Joins Sonny’s Franchise Company as Head Pitmaster, Brand Ambassador

The announcement comes as the company kicks off National BBQ Month + Founder’s Month this May

ORLANDO, Fla., May 1, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Sonny’s BBQ, the industry-leading BBQ restaurant rooted in quality food and spreading kindness, announced today that former pro football player Shannon Snell will be joining the Sonny’s Franchise Company team as Head Pitmaster and Brand Ambassador. Shannon has been a part of the Sonny’s BBQ family for over 15 years and currently serves as a brand ambassador on the iServ, LLC team (a franchisee of Sonny’s BBQ).

“Shannon has been an incredible asset to our team and we could not be more excited to have him at the helm of our visionary Pitmaster program. We knew the role of Head Pitmaster would take big shoes to fill, and as we worked together to find new leadership opportunities for Shannon, it became clear that he was the right person for the job,” said Jamie Yarmuth, Sonny’s BBQ CEO. “He has always embodied our company’s ethos and the spirit of BBQ—bringing people together with Southern hospitality. Shannon is a natural fit for our company during this time of growth and is a pivotal part of our vision for Sonny’s BBQ as an industry leader.

Shannon’s history with the brand began in 2008, when he joined Sonny’s BBQ as a manager at a Sonny’s BBQ location in Gainesville after transitioning out of his pro football career with the Dallas Cowboys. After working his way up to general manager at Sonny’s BBQ, he transitioned into a new role as a brand ambassador on the iServ, LLC team and has been serving up Southern hospitality as a Pitmaster, coach, community leader and BBQ competitor ever since.

Kyle Dixon, Executive Vice President of iServ, LLC, shared, “The iServ team is proud to have supported Shannon’s passion and commitment for the spirit of BBQ. He’s been a pillar of Sonny’s BBQ culinary expertise and we’re equally as excited to help elevate the Sonny’s BBQ brand through this new role. This opens the smoker doors for our new and experienced Pitmasters to keep pushing their craft and expertise under the Sonny’s BBQ banner.”

As a former Florida Gators Offensive Guard and 1st Team All American, Shannon embodies teamwork. He’s brought his leadership skills and love of BBQ to the entire Sonny’s BBQ family over the years, training and mentoring up and coming Pitmasters and serving the Gainesville, FL community he calls home. Shannon also competes statewide in Florida on iServ’s Sonny’s BBQ-sponsored BBQ competition team Black Jack Oak, showcasing his expertise and what sets the Sonny’s way apart from the rest.

“I’m incredibly proud to be coming home to the Sonny’s BBQ team. My love for this brand started as a child, enjoying slow-smoked BBQ with my family every week,” said Shannon Snell. “I met founder Floyd “Sonny” Tillman while I was a Florida Gator and I realized that I could serve people as a part of my career—and I have for over 15 years now. It’s an honor to continue to serve my community with good BBQ and Southern hospitality on an even bigger scale.”

This announcement coincides with Founder’s Month for Sonny’s BBQ, celebrating the legacy of founder Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and the company’s 56-year history. Guests can celebrate at their local Sonny’s BBQ all month long with $6 Pork Big Deals and $10 Pork & Rib Combos every Wednesday in May. More details can be found at

For more information about Sonny’s BBQ, visit or follow along on Facebook, Instagram, X, TikTok and YouTube. Franchise opportunities can be found at

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About Sonny’s BBQ

With nearly 100 locations spanning the southeast, Sonny’s BBQ® is one of the largest barbecue restaurant brands in the country. Its signature pulled pork, sweet tea, and unique appetizers have afforded the restaurant the title of “Best Barbecue Chain in America” by The Daily Meal. Floyd “Sonny” Tillman and his wife, Lucille, founded Sonny’s BBQ in 1968 in Gainesville, Fla. in hopes of creating a local BBQ joint for their community to enjoy. 55 years later, Sonny’s BBQ continues to do just that under the direction of CEO Jamie Yarmuth and local pitmasters spreading the spirit of BBQ in each of their communities through the Q the Kindness and Random Acts of BBQ initiatives. The brand gives back more than $1.2 million annually across the eight states it serves, and reaches tens of thousands of community members with its generosity. Sonny’s BBQ is a leader in the hospitality industry with its commitment to creating unique consumer experiences, ability and willingness to utilize cutting-edge technology, and network of successful franchisee relationships. For information and to find the Sonny’s BBQ location closest to you, please visit