Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise is generating a flood of horror stories and complaints from franchisees claiming they invested their life savings only to find that they were lied to by a shady, disreputable company with no regard for their success.
Common allegations include illegal and false pre-sale earnings claims, misrepresentation of start-up costs, vendor kickbacks to corporate, lack of support, ineffective marketing, and a predatory approach to franchising that includes setting up franchisees to fail and suing them for hundreds of thousands of dollars when they do.
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit CEO Roland Dickey, Jr. has been characterized in some complaints as so greedy he’d “sell his grandmother to make a dime.”
What do you think? Do you agree with those who characterize the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise program as a predatory investment scam, or do you see things differently? Please share your opinion below.
UnhappyFranchisee.Com recently received a very compelling account from an anonymous Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise owner entitled:
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit: How to lose everything you own (and your livelihood) in 5 years or less.
Part One is published below.
Part Two is published here: DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT: How to Lose Everything in 5 Years or Less (Part 2)
Allegation: Dickey’s Misrepresents Franchisee Profitability
Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee states that Dickey’s provides false and illegal earnings claims to prospective franchisees:
I was very excited to get approved to own my very first franchise restaurant.
I was told by the sales department at Dickey’s that most of their restaurants see margins of up to 20% with net revenues on average of 1 million dollars plus. So this told me, if I run their model, I should be able to profit up to $200,000 per year.
This was not my experience, and I felt misled.
The most profits we ever seen in a month was about 8K. What they don’t tell you, and what I understand, is that 90% of their stores lose money, or at best, break even in the months of January, February, and March. That means this franchise is only profitable 9 out of 12 months per year.
There is one exception to that rule, DBRI (Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc.) always make their money. They get 9% (5% royalty and 4% ad fund) right off the top whether you make money or not.
Several lawsuits and other complaints have also alleged illegal and deceptive earnings claims are given by Dickey’s sales staff.
Does Dickey’s lie to prospective franchisees about profits? What’s your experience? Share below.
Allegation: Dickey’s is Greedy & Underhanded
Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee claims Dickey’s is greedy and underhanded, and that Roland Dickey, Jr. would “sell his grandmother to make a dime.”
He gives an example of the sales staff rushing him to sign his franchise agreement under false pretenses; he soon learned they were rushing him so he wouldn’t be eligible for a $15K discount on his franchise fee.
I should have seen the signs early on, but as they say at Dickey’s, “I drank the Kool-Aid”.
We paid 30K for our first restaurant and we were under unbelievable pressure to get this deal signed and done by the end of the year (this was happening in the middle of December). Dickey’s sales team told us they wanted to close the books on December 31st so this would help their bottom line. We Fed Exed and faxed documents for days, including the actual certified check, to get this done by December 31st . What we later found out, is that as of January 1st, they had lowered the price of the franchise from 30K to 15K.
This is indicative of my entire experience as a franchise owner.
Is Dickey’s greedy and underhanded? Share your opinion below.
Allegation: Dickey’s Gets Kickbacks at Franchisees’ Expense
Anonymous Dickey’s Franchisee writes:
RDJ (Roland Dickey’s Jr.), as the saying goes, seemed willing to sell his grandmother to make a dime.
Oh, wait a minute, he actually did that. Just over a year ago Dickey’s introduced us to Miss Ollie’s tea, his grandmothers’ recipe for iced tea. Really no change in flavor or recipe basics, just kickbacks to DBRI from Community Coffee for selling so much tea and having his grandmothers name on the brand.
Speaking of kickbacks, let’s talk about the difference between a mandatory vendor and a recommended vendor. After using all of DBRI’s recommended vendors, I found my margins much lower that predicted.
I will give you two of many examples:
- Airgas National for CO2: this company charges all owners a $55.00 per month tank rental fee and about $40.00 per month is just CO2. I didn’t know it at the time, but I signed a 5 year contract with them (Dickey’s standard contract according to Airgas). I bit the bullet and bought out the contract and found a local vendor that cost me $15-$30 per month vs. $95.00.
- ADP: Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc. actually brings the representative into your training to sell you all the features. This company charges over $100 per pay period. If you were to outsource this to a local vendor, it would cost you half that much. I know, because I got tired of overpaying them for services recommended by DBRI.
These are just two examples of how Dickey’s recommends you spend your money. Where do you suppose all the excess money goes if you are being over charged?
Does Dickey’s get kickbacks at franchisees’ expense? Share your thoughts below.
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