Founders of Utah’s R&R BBQ are retiring

(Trent Nelson | Tribune file photo) R&R BBQ founders Rod Livingston, left, and his twin brother, Roger, in Alpine in 2011.

Rod and Roger Livingston, the twin brothers who founded Utah’s R&R BBQ restaurants, are retiring.

“We have loved serving this community,” Rod Livingston said Friday in a news release. “It has been one of the greatest accomplishments of our lives.”

Added Roger: “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.”

Before opening their first restaurant in 2013 in Salt Lake City, the brothers spent several years smoking the competition during sanctioned barbecue events in Utah and around the country.

R&R BBQ — known for its smoked ribs, beef brisket, pulled pork and chicken — soon opened additional stores, but the brothers found expansion difficult.

Several years ago, they sold 51% of their company to the Utah-based Four Foods Group, which, along with its Savory Foods investment arm, has provided the financing and expertise needed to expand.

Since selling, the brothers have continued to play a role in the operation — which now includes eight Wasatch Front locations, including one inside Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Neil Harfert, who has more than 26 years’ experience in the restaurant industry, has been named the company’s new president. Harfert most recently served as vice president of field operations for the Seattle-based MOD Pizza, where he oversaw the company’s expansion from 25 restaurants in five states to more than 255 outlets in 18 states.

“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,” Greg Warnock, a member of the R&R BBQ board of directors, said in the release.