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DICKEY'S BARBECUE PIT SAVES ENTREPRENUERS THOUSANDS WITH NEW PROTOTYPE

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DICKEY'S BARBECUE PIT SAVES ENTREPRENUERS THOUSANDS WITH NEW PROTOTYPE
The Country's Largest Barbecue Chain Thinks Outside The Box, Staying Ahead Of The Game

(DALLAS, Texas) Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants', Inc. has been making waves in the franchise world as they continue to bring barbecue mainstream.

Now, the franchisor has re-designed their store's prototype, slashing start up costs for new stores, in some cases by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Director of Construction Daniel Sibley joined Dickey's Barbecue in 2008.

Since then, he has strived to make owning a Dickey's as affordable for new owner/operators as possible.

"We have looked for any way to standardize and cut costs. Simplicity is vital to success in construction as well as every other aspect of our business. We have stream-lined our kitchen equipment to maximize utility and save costs and we have decreased our footprint from an average of 3,000 down to 1,800 square feet," he said.

Sibley also said competitive pricing has been key.

"Before I took over construction, it was much more of a turn-key kind of a deal. We wanted it to be plug and play. But, the problem was you end up paying a premium for that kind of convenience," he said.

According to Sibley, when the economy crashed, it made Dickey's need to cut cost that much more urgent.

"It was a really tough time for our country, but it certainly put everything in perspective for us," the Director said. "We saw how important it was to trim the fat from our approach, our new model may take a bit more leg work to complete, but we have saved ourselves and our owner/operators a lot of money."

Lauren Parker, DBRI's Project Coordinator, works closely with Sibley guiding new and existing owner/operators through the construction process. Her role encompasses many things, one of which is to seek out the best and most efficient financing for Dickey's franchisees.

"We have to be creative with financing. In recent months, the credit market is definitely loosening up but we are still being creative," she said, smiling.

Parker said she has been focusing more on community banks recently, as they are more willing to work with entrepreneurs in small towns and offer better interest rates.

"I have really begun to function as an in-house financing department whereas other franchises turn people away if they don't have the financing. But we help them. We guide our owner/operators through the whole process and make it work for them," she said.

According to a Dallas Business Journal article published in April, it costs between $311,500 and $538,000 to open a Wing Stop franchise for people whose net worth qualifies them.

Sibley said because of their new design and willingness to convert old businesses that have closed down into a new franchise location, opening a Dickey's can cost as little as $66,000—The actual start up cost of the Shakopee, Minn. location.

"We are much more versatile now," Sibley said. "We were able to go into varied locations from a converted Quiznos in Northern California to a former electronics store in the Bronx. They are very different, but with our new model, we can make it work and make it very cost effective. The Bronx is an urban loft space, with an area for ordering downstairs and an upstairs dining room. So, it was different. It takes a lot of time and effort to work on projects like this. But we have thought outside of the box and it has been very rewarding for us and our owner/operators."

The first Dickey's Barbecue opened in 1941 in Dallas, TX. The original location is still open for business and Dickey's Barbecue is still owned and operated by the Dickey Family. Dickey's only began franchising in 1994. Now, there are over 110 locations in 21 states. Even today, Dickey's still slow smokes all of their signature meats overnight in every restaurant.

Source: Dickey's Barbecue (www.dickeys.com)

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