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Dickey's Heir Holds on to Grandpa's Passion, Lets Go the Smoke


Roland Dickey Jr., CEO of Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Dickey’s Barbecue Pit is another one of our Fast and Serious Brands, which we’ll cover in the March issue when we reveal our ranking of the 40 smartest-growing franchises. Roland Dickey Jr., grandson of the founder, had plenty to say about how he and his team are using metrics and analysis to slim down the restaurant’s footprint and in the process boost average unit volumes.

But he also got to recalling his grandfather, who started Dickey’s 75 years ago and operated his one store for 26 years, making the best barbecue he knew how—which involved a whole lot of smoke.

 “The dude would smoke three packs of cigarettes during the day, and then he’d go home and smoke two more,” recalls Dickey. “Back in those days they had a barbecue pit” with no ventilation. “You’d open the pit and all the smoke would go 'fooosh.'

“He got more smoke than oxygen, but he made it to 69,” Dickey says. “He was like the consummate barbecue, just a purist.” And although Dickey’s not sorry that health habits are far better today, he does like to hang on to the legacy of a passion for the food. “Be the best at barbecue is our motto, and that encompasses a whole lot of things,” he says.


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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is senior editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at




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