A debut for Dixie
About 10 years ago, our family owned Yorkies. You know, the little dogs with bows in their hair. We didn’t do the bows, but you get the picture.
Yorkies are terriers, which means they are high-strung, they yap, and they want to take on other canines. I would describe them as a 95-pound Doberman in a six-pound body. They think of themselves as warriors.
That being said, they are not usually great with kids. Which wasn’t a problem with son Ben, at the time a teenager. But it did come into play with his younger brother, Sam. Sam was smaller, moved fast, and generally annoyed the heck out of them. Even as he got older and more responsible, the dogs never warmed to Sam. In their eyes, he was still that fast-moving eight-year-old. When the older Yorkie passed away, Sam approached me: “Can we get a dog that likes me?”
Enter Dixie, a 45-pound mutt we got at a neighborhood rescue. She’s every young boy’s dream: She was waiting at the door for Sam when he arrived home from school every day, tail wagging, and was in love with his friends—she was a jumping, whirling dervish of kisses. Often you’d find her sprawled out over one of them, as they lay in the family room watching a movie. Now college kids, when they visit our house and walk across the threshold, they yell “Dixieeeee!” I wish I got that kind of greeting.
I’m introducing you to her here, because she makes her magazine debut in this issue. You’ll have to comb the pages for her foray into the world of franchising. I’m not sure she loved it, but maybe her next franchise experience will be better.
It’s that kind of diversity in this month’s issue that makes it an extra enjoyable read. First of all, we have our cover story, the tale of Dave Anderson, well known as the Dave in Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que. He’s still cooking up ribs, but not for who you would expect. He’s had a tumultuous run with his namesake company, but now he’s on to new adventures, building something from the ground up—again.
Apropos to building a business, you’ll want to read our coverage of the Franchise Times Top 200 Restaurant Franchisees—the top franchisees in the nation based on sales. While the ranking is interesting, even more intriguing are the interviews FT Managing Editor Beth Ewen and her staff conducted with some of the owners of these businesses.
One individual, Tom Garrett, was a senior executive with a major franchisor before he took some time off to figure out his next chapter. He likes running businesses, and tweaking the operations to fine-tune the revenues. With some help in the financing department—another twist in his adventure—he’s built his business to 136 units. No doubt he, and the others gracing the list, will be acquiring more.
I’m also assigning you to read the chronicle of reporter Julie Bennett’s visit to a McDonald’s shareholder meeting (the only press allowed in), an interview with a crazy poutine guy, and how franchising is once again getting social. You’ll even read how one franchisor, expanding his BBQ chain into California, laughingly reported his biggest mistake was adding the tofu meatball salad to his meat-lovers’ menu.
Get a comfortable chair and settle in for some “me” time with this issue. What might make that cozy picture complete is a dog at your feet. Just don’t expect it to be Dixie; she’s not taking on any more franchise assignments for awhile.