On Friday, R&R BBQ appointed industry veteran Neil Harfert as president to lead the fast-growing restaurant chain in its next chapter of growth. Founders, Rod and Roger Livingston, will be retiring to pursue other interests.
“Neil is a proven and respected leader who has delivered strong operating results through a long career in the food and beverage industry, with powerhouse brands like Qdoba, Modern Market Eatery and MOD Pizza,” says Greg Warnock, a member of the R&R BBQ board of directors and managing partner of Mercato Partners’ Savory Fund. “I am confident that Neil will continue to lead our executive team and 350-plus team members to achieve great success and carry on the incredible brand the Livingstons created over five years ago.”
Harfert brings over 26 years of experience operating and growing successful restaurant chains. Prior to joining R&R BBQ, Harfert served as Vice President of Field Operations for MOD Pizza where he helped lead the chain through explosive growth from 25 restaurants in five states to more than 255 units in 18 states over a five-year period. His experience also includes heading up operations for other polished casual restaurant chains like Modmarket Farm Fresh Eateries, Qdoba Mexican Eats, and others.
“Having served in leadership capacities for over 26 years in the restaurant industry, I am excited for this opportunity to work with such a beloved brand that is poised for great success,” adds Harfert. “The Livingstons created the best championship BBQ concept I have seen in America. That is why I decided to move my family from Seattle to Salt Lake City – to make sure more people have the opportunity to enjoy the amazing food that R&R BBQ smokes each day as we grow throughout the Western United States.”
Under Rod and Roger Livingston’s leadership, the company grew from a championship BBQ competition team to a chain of eight restaurants along the Wasatch Front. The duo's passion for great BBQ has made R&R BBQ a beloved brand, and one of the state's fastest-growing restaurant chains.
“We have loved serving this community for the past five years. It has been one of the greatest accomplishments of our lives,” says Rod Livingston. “We hope all of our guests will continue to enjoy our championship BBQ for years to come.
Roger Livingston adds, “It is exciting to see how far we have come from the early days of R&R BBQ to now. Rod and I are so grateful for the entire community’s support.”
R&R BBQ was born out of the top spot as Utah’s best competition barbeque team—a position the Livingstons proudly hold today. With eight locations serving the Wasatch front, one in the Vivint Smart Home Arena and a full-service catering kitchen, R&R is currently the leader in Southern BBQ in the Beehive State. Additional locations will be added within the state and surrounding geographies in the coming months and years.