Dynamic marketing executive elevated to new role just one year after joining meat-forward chain
Smokey Bones promoted Nichole Robillard to chief marketing officer just one year after she joined the casual-dining chain. Robillard’s promotion from vice president of marketing to CMO takes effect immediately.
Robillard launched an integrated brand campaign, “Masters of Meat,” to address the needs of consumers looking for comfort food and “protein-forward meals.” She also led a revamp of Smokey Bones’ beverage program. The initiative focuses on Instagram-worthy, over-the-top colorful cocktails, beer + burger drink specials and specialty drinks.
Additional initiatives include putting Smokey Bones’ meat and cocktail programs in the spotlight with chef Peter Farrand, chief food & beverage innovation officer. The program is designed to elevate limited-time menu introductions.
James O’Reilly, chief executive of Smokey Bones, commented, “Cole is an excellent leader and very successful marketing executive deserving of her promotion to CMO. She has improved the quality of our marketing execution, positively impacted our business results, added significant creativity to our brands and is positively impacting our culture.”
The new Smokey Bones CMO also led a successful TV campaign that increased restaurant comparable sales. A new location will be unveiled in Avon, Indiana in April. Robillard will be on point at the opening of 61-unit Smokey Bones’ first restaurant in three years.
Furthermore, Robillard leads marketing efforts for The Wing Experience and Burger Experience, the company’s two virtual brands.
The two-decade restaurant industry veteran has worked at major chains, including McDonald’s, Chuck E. Cheese and Jamba Juice.
“This role has been a dream come true for me, merging my passion for marketing with my love and appreciation for the power that food has to bring people together,” said Robilard. “I am so proud of our industry-leading team at Smokey Bones and all that we have accomplished together over the last year—and I’m excited for the new initiatives we have planned for 2022 and beyond. It’s so exciting to work for an organization in the midst of an explosive growth mode, alongside people who both inspire and challenge you.”
Robillard will report to Smokey Bones’ CEO, O’Reilly.
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