In a business environment where outsourcing prevails, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc. ensures brand expertise through corporate up-sizing
Christine Johnson, General Counsel for Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., is the resident expert on all things legal for the largest barbecue chain in the nation. Johnson is an alumni of Southern Methodist University and practiced law in firms prior to going to work full time on the corporate side. Ensuring franchisee compliance with regulations and brand standards is a big concern for companies in the Fast Casual franchising business, and Johnson works diligently to stay ahead of trends and issues.
Specifically, Johnson monitors employment decisions and actions by the National Labor Relations Board and assesses how they can potentially affect Dickey’s business. The key to successful franchising is striking a balance between the franchisor’s need to ensure consistency and the independent decision making required by the franchisee. To prospective franchisees for any industry, she recommends that they carefully review the franchise documents so they fully understand the investment, guidelines and expectations. There are many hopeful entrepreneurs, but Dickey’s has a very straightforward recipe for success. Understanding and actively utilizing that recipe is key for franchisees.
When Johnson accepted the general counsel position a year ago, she was one of a three-person team. At that time, Dickey’s outsourced many projects to outside firms. Since then, she has increased the legal team to seven members, a large team for a growing national brand with more than 520 restaurants nationwide. She has effectively cut costs by hiring legal staff with a wide range of experience and knowledge. This is good for Dickey’s not only for the cost savings, but also for the efficiency and speed with which they can solve legal matters. Now that legal is in – house, Dickey’s has the benefit of a team of lawyers who understand the business and the brand.
Although Johnson is the expert on legal and business matters for Dickey’s she remains humble. She recommends, “Create a network of outside counsel you can trust to provide solid advice, and balance that with the internal team’s proficiencies. We can be subject matter experts on those issues we see on a recurring basis.”
Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s largest barbecue chain was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey with the goal of authentic slow smoked barbecue. Today, all meats are still slow smoked on-site in each restaurant living up to the company tagline, “We Speak Barbecue.” The Dallas-based family-run barbecue franchise offers a quality selection of signature meats, home style sides, tangy barbecue sauce and free kids’ meals every Sunday. The fast-casual concept has expanded to over 520 locations in 43 states. This year Dickey’s Barbecue was recognized for the third year by Nation’s Restaurant News as a “Top 10 Growth Chain” and by Technomic as the “Fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country.” For more information, visit www.dickeys.com or for barbecue franchise opportunities call 866.340.6188.