Hey, this is the real stuff!

It’s barbecue the way it’s been made in roadside shacks for generations. There’s no rushing the authentic slow, hickory-smoked barbecue. Attention to every detail along the way and using the freshest ingredients guarantees a smile on the guest’s faces and success for investors and operators.


In 2014, Red Hot & Blue was named in the top 3 “Best Barbecue Chains in America”. The Daily Meal Editor, Dan Myers, sifted through regional preferences to funnel the most popular chains in his list of 10 Best Barbecue Chains in America. Criteria for selection was based on: locally renowned, consistency of food across all the locations, adherence to traditional barbecue techniques like “low and slow” on-premise smoking, atmosphere and most importantly, how good the food tastes.


Now you can be part of our fast growing family of restaurateurs who love going home with barbecue sauce under their fingernails, the smell of hickory smoke in their clothes and a look of intense joy on their faces.


The first Red Hot and Blue restaurant opened in Arlington, Virginia in 1988, started by Lee Atwater, Don Sundquist and friends. Don Sundquist was from Memphis and served in the House of Representatives and as governor of Tennessee. The late Lee Atwater was an amateur blues musician and political figure that managed George H.W. Bush’s successful race for the presidency.

These men were friends who longed for authentic Memphis-style barbecue and great blues music. Unable to find that combination anywhere in the Washington, DC area they decided the only way to get it done was to open a restaurant of their own.

From the beginning, the Arlington Red Hot & Blue restaurant was a bipartisan hot spot. It was common to see Congressmen from opposing political parties playing in the band together or sharing a rack of ribs and a cold brew. Red Hot & Blue was the first to introduce Washingtonians to full-flavored, authentic Memphis-style barbecue and true Southern hospitality.


General Requirements

You or your partner(s) should have more than five years of experience as an owner and/or operator of a full-service restaurant, preferably casual-themed. Red Hot & Blue is looking for people with $1,000,000 in net worth, excluding home and personal property and $500,000 in liquid assets. In addition, the ideal franchise candidate has a desire to build multiple locations.

Opening Your Restaurant

We help to make it as easy as possible:

  1. Fill out a franchise application online.
  2. A corporate franchising representative will contact you.
  3. A FDD, Franchise Disclosure Document, will be sent to you to review and return with signature pages.
  4. Complete and submit a credit and personal background check form to Red Hot & Blue. You will be required to prove your financial ability to invest.
  5. Upon franchise application acceptance the following will occur:
  • Real estate will be located and secured
  • Franchise fees will be paid
  • Operating franchisee will attend a three week Red Hot & Blue manager training program
  • On site management training in your restaurant by Red Hot & Blue staff

Site Selection

The ideal size for a full service Red Hot & Blue is 4,500 to 6,000 square feet.

We consider you to be the expert on the community in which you chose to locate. Once you begin to narrow
potential locations, Red Hot & Blue personnel will visit the sites and give you feedback and suggestions. Your site will require formal approval from Red Hot & Blue management. We also provide guidance during the lease negotiations. Once you have secured the real estate, Red Hot & Blue will provide you with a design manual and rough layouts for use by your architect.

Site Selection Considerations:
• Free-standing locations but visible end-caps are acceptable
• Ability to develop drive-through service
• Ample parking, with reserved spaces for carry-out business
• Easy access from a well-travelled primary road. Minimum traffic patterns should surpass 30,000 vehicles per day.
• Preference locations are near:
– Major shopping centers
– Large office or business park
– Corporate headquarters
– Universities
– Hospitals
• Residential population must exceed 50,000 people within your five-mile protected market.

Training & Support

Prior to opening, Red Hot & Blue will provide a full set of operations manuals for all positions. Many Red Hot & Blue training programs are also available on video.

You or the person designated as the General Manager will train with our Red Hot & Blue Corporate Training Director on site at your restaurant. In addition, Red Hot & Blue staffers will train your assistant managers in your restaurant.

One of the principals in the business must attend the Red Hot & Blue Owner’s Training Program for three weeks. Training Equals Success, so even if you have owned or operated restaurants for years, training for Red Hot & Blue systems and recipes is mandatory and takes the full amount of time required.

A complete kitchen manual and recipe guide will be provided by Red Hot & Blue to ensure food quality and consistency.

National food contracts are procured through our national buying co-op for quality control and best value purchasing opportunities.

Menus may be regionalized to meet the taste preferences of your local customer base. Red Hot & Blue’s National Pitmaster, Sonny McKnight, has been with the company since its inception and is available to visit franchises on a regular basis to offer support on your menu. Red Hot & Blue is continually seeking new ideas to enhance its culinary offerings.


Dine-In and Carry-Out Business: Red Hot & Blue’s dine-in and carry-out competition is typically other casual-themed restaurants within a three to five mile radius of your location.

Catering Business: Your catering market may be efficiently
extended up to a one hour driving radius from your store.

Red Hot & Blue will provide you with a local store marketing plan and materials to build and maintain your customer base. Involvement in your community is a key marketing strategy for the Red Hot & Blue Brand.

Red Hot & Blue provides on-going marketing support through seasonal new product introductions; limited time menu offering promotions; email marketing programs; birthday club management; customer service support; direct mail material development; internet and social media marketing resources; graphic design support services and corporate public relations activities.

Questions? Contact:

George Piazza
RHB Franchising, LLC

What you can expect as a Red Hot & Blue Franchisee:

  • Recommendations and suggestions for site selection
  • Approved resources for equipment and fixtures
  • Proven systems for point-of-sale, catering and on-site management training programs prior to opening
  • Menu development and recipe assistance
  • Sourced quality products and purchasing co-op
  • Regular new product and limited time promotions
  • Award-winning branded barbecue sauces and dry rub; gift card program and branded apparel & imprinted gear resources
  • On-going marketing and graphics support

For more information about Red Hot & Blue Restaurants, Inc. and franchise opportunities, click on the tabs below to expand more information or download a pdf file of our Franchise Information Brochure.

Red Hot & Blue is a full-service, blues-themed restaurant chain and caterer. We feature delicious award-winning ribs, Memphis-style barbecue, smoked wings, and Southern sides and desserts. The atmosphere is steeped in legendary and contemporary blues music and delivers a large dose of Southern hospitality in a fun and entertaining dining environment.