Shoney's Is Comin' To Town

Posted: May 27, 1986

In small towns and big cities throughout the South, the word restaurant left some people's vocabulary years ago to be replaced by the word Shoney's.

And now Shoney's, virtually a Southern institution, is going to try to work that same magic in Philadelphia.

Although Shoney's is a full-service family-style restaurant, it boomed along with the growth of fast-food eateries in the 1960s.

The chain began in 1959 in Nashville, where Shoney's Inc. is based, licensing other firms to operate its 510 restaurants in 20 states.

To date, the farthest north Shoney's has reached is Indianapolis. The closest restaurant to Philadelphia is in Maryland.

But now Restaurant Management Services Inc. of Macon, Ga., says it is bringing Shoney's to Philadelphia and six surrounding counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey next year.

The company owns and operates 21 Shoney's restaurants in Georgia, South Carolina and the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metropolitan area of Florida. It joined the Shoney's chain in 1962.

"We're extremely excited about the Philadelphia area," said Charles Gaulding, vice president of finance at publicly traded Restaurant Management, noting that the metropolitan area is the nation's fourth-largest.

"Most of our competition in Philadelphia will come from mom-and-pop outfits," Gaulding said. "So if we're good operators, offering good food and good service, we'll attract plenty of people."

Shoney's outlets are open 18 hours a day, sevendays a week. They operate in free-standing buildings of about 5,000 square feet and seat 140 to 196 people.

The menu features seafood, steak, chicken, sandwiches, soup-and-salad bars and breakfast. In 1980, the company pioneered the breakfast bar, anall-you- can-eat feature that offers a variety of breakfast foods, including fresh fruit.

The company expects to open two Shoney's restaurants in the Philadelphia area in the summer or fall of 1987, and approximately four more in the territory in 1988.

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