Survival of the smartest – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

When the global pandemic hit, food and dining remained closed for weeks. Most of the restaurants had to shut down completely due to lack of awareness and resources to face the challenges posed by the fast spreading virus. However, despite all the struggles, some restaurants have not just survived, but been more successful than most of the prevailing competitors. Survival of the smartest – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit can definitely teach us few lessons about their winning strategy for better business in general.

Quick to respond and supportive

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise was providing relief by offering an extensive COVID-19 response program and cutting, not abating, royalties by 50%. They also incentivised franchise packages for a 90 day period for those who signed up for the first time. This helped them grow their footprint across the nation. This includes Detroit, Michigan; Gainesville, Florida; Oahu, Hawaii; Playa Del Rey, California; South Bend, Indiana; Worcester, Massachusetts; and Williamsburg, Virginia.

“Investing in a franchise during the pandemic’s economic decline was obviously a big step,” said Roland Dickey Jr., grandson to the founder of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit and CEO of Dickey’s Capital Group. “So, we created an incentive package that would aid first-time franchisees in partnering with us amidst a challenging time. It certainly paid off.”

Digital Investment

The brand inaugurated their new ecommerce site. This resulted in 104.6% increase in their online sales. They also had a 122% growth in their online traffic. In addition to this they also relaunched their internal portal, Smoke Pit, and overhauled its reporting system, SmokeStack. In other words, the franchisees and operators now have better access to all their support resources. Literally in the palms of their hands, their mobile phones.

“We used the time when our dining rooms were closed to streamline our online processes for our guests and franchisees,” Dickey said. “Our updated e-commerce site proved to be a huge success driving incredible sales and traffic numbers. Plus, with our latest intranet portal updates, our franchisees are working with highly efficient digital resources that support their success. Even during a pandemic, we were able to excel to new heights.”

Dickey’s quick to respond and supportive approach combined with their digital investment, was a winning strategy for the franchisees.


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