Q&A: Roland Dickey, Jr., President, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Q&A: Roland Dickey, Jr., President, Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Dickey’s Barbecue is heating up the fast-casual industry across the country.  In less than a year, the smokin’ Dallas-based company has opened over 80 new restaurants focused on providing customers slow smoked Texas Style barbecue.  Roland Dickey, Jr, whose grandfather started the business in 1941, is leading the charge and shows no signs of slowing down with at least 50 more locations planned by the end of 2012.

Q: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit has been around almost 71 years now, is it hard to maintain your originality?

A: What we do right hasn’t changed and never will.  We still pride ourselves on authentic, down-home food, served with our signature brand of southern hospitality.  Our food is what has taken us from a one room restaurant in 1941 to a national craze.  We offer slow-smoked hickory barbecue and southern comfort family style sides — something for all taste buds. We source the best meats in the country and track them from the field to the table insuring a tender and juicy selection for our customers.  We deliver slow smoked family friendly food that is served hot, fresh and affordable.  At Dickey’s you get an authentic Texas barbecue experience with all of the efficiencies of a first-class national restaurant chain.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Q: What is the secret to your growth strategy?

A: We are passionate about what we do and it shows through our nationwide growth with over 250 locations – 300 by the end of the year.  This is an exciting time to be part of  Dickey’s  Barbecue.  We understand people these days—customers and prospective franchisees are craving authenticity. They don’t want a concept that’s made in the ­creative department of an ad agency, they want something real—and we’re the real deal. We do one thing and we do it right.  We’ve also perfected the business model. We have ­really low startup costs, a great training package and a sales model that packs several revenue streams into a very small square footage. We know great barbecue, and we know how to make a great return off of serving a product that we’re very proud to offer our customers.

Q: What makes Dickey’s so attractive to prospective franchisees?

A:  We were just named “Best Franchise Deal” and “Top 5 Growth Chain” by two different industry publications.  Good barbecue is good business when it’s done right and we’re doing something that hasn’t been done before– taking barbecue mainstream.  We are tapping into markets that have been oversaturated with burgers, sandwiches and pizza and adding a new option to the table.  We’ve honed our business model over the years to fully maximize profits for our franchise owners.  Plus, we help manage,  market and measure store success through our proprietary scorecard method of operations.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit menu selections

Q: How do you maintain consistency at all Dickey’s locations?

A:  Our family has spent the last 70 years perfecting the art of great barbecue and our proprietary family recipes.  We maintain strict standards to preserve the authenticity of our signature food and service style.  Our customers expect perfection and we deliver whether you are in Dallas, California, Minnesota or Utah.  We believe that training is the backbone of our growing franchise.  We insist on an extensive training program for all of our new restaurant owners and managers.  At Barbecue University, new owners learn the art of great barbecue, but also how to manage their business for success.

Q: How has the concept evolved through the years?

A:  Although we are a 70- year-old company, we strive to keep our restaurant brand fresh and unique.  We have many innovative ideas to add to our already rich history such as our new restaurant designs, sustainable packaging and healthy menu items. We have streamlined the company website and will be adding an on-line ordering option later this year.

We take great care in creating a total experience for our customers.   We believe our restaurant atmosphere is key to our success — from the interior design of our restaurants, the wood fire smell from the smoker to the tunes playing in the background – it all sets the vibe for the customer experience.

For Dickey’s Barbecue franchise information, please visit www.dickeys.com/franchise/.