Prospective Dickey’s franchise owners (and current franchisees) would do well to read this advice from a seasoned Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise owner. When inexperienced, naïve franchise shoppers meet a franchisor with questionable ethics, he says, disaster follows.
(UnhappyFranchisee.Com) The following is a guest post from an anonymous contributor who calls him/herself “Wary Dickey’s Franchisee.”
Also read the breaking news: DICKEY’S Franchise Class Action Lawsuit Filed in CA
To: Prospective & Current Dickey’s Franchisees
From: The Wary Dickey’s Franchisee
First about franchising in general: Being a franchiser of anything can be a license for the unethical to steal from the naive.
Even the IRS takes its pound of flesh from the “bottom line” but all franchisers take their pound of flesh from the top and charge extra for most services they provide; and is not uncommon or illegal, if disclosed in the FDD, for a franchiser to receive “overrides” from vendors.
Second, succeeding in any business is tough:
- QSRs are among the toughest of any businesses in which to succeed.
- QSR success requires a lot more than knowledge and experience in food preparation. Success requires experience in customer care, management and administration, marketing, negotiating to name but a few necessary traits. One does not become proficient in any of these in 18 days training at Dickey’s BBQ U.
- PS: Business success requires capital.
Is it Dickey’s fault when a franchisee fails? NO! Did the unhappy Dickey’s franchisees ever hear of caveat emptor?
If an unethical salesperson tells a potential Dickey’s franchisee that he or she does not have to spend much money to make a lot of money, haven’t these potential franchisees ever heard that, “if it is too good to be true, it probably is?”
- Has the unhappy Dickey’s franchisee done due his or her diligence before making the investment?
- Has he or she visited a Dickey’s store and talked with the franchisee before making the decision to buy into Dickey’s?
- Has the unhappy Dickey’s franchisee had an attorney review the FDD?
- Has the unhappy Dickey’s franchisee heard that the restaurant business is about the toughest business one can get into with one of the highest failure rates of any small business?
- Has the unhappy Dickey’s franchisee they read the www.unhappyfranchisee.com before committing to a Dickey’s franchise?
The Wary Dickey’s Franchisee feels badly for anyone who loses money under any circumstances, but these unhappy Dickey’s franchisees are adults and no one forced them to buy a Dickey’s franchise.
Is Dickey’s corporate a good franchisor? NO!
It is dubious ethics for Dickey’s to sell franchises to applicants who have no F&B experience, no business experience, and are undercapitalized all of which seem to be the underlying problems of most of the unhappy Dickey’s franchisees.
It is of questionable ethics for a franchise sales person to make ridiculous claims, if that indeed occurs (it did not occur to the Wary Dickey’s Franchisee):
Note to naïve’ unhappy Dickey’s franchisees: If it isn’t in writing, it does not exist! Good luck on winning a “he said’ case against a franchiser who has a cover my derriere’ FDD.
If Dickey’s sells franchisees to unqualified applicants, Dickey’s should have a moral obligation to provide better and more extensive training both at Dickey’s BBQ U and at the franchisee’s store. But that would require a higher upfront fee, and therefore Dickey’s would have fewer (but probably better) franchisees.
It is not ethical for Dickey’s (or a Dickey’s Area Developer) to sell a franchise close enough to an existing franchise that the new franchise will infringe on the older franchise’s business, even though such infringement is permitted by the Franchise Agreement, and potentially ruining both franchisees.
Dickey’s training is credible on product preparation, but that’s about it.
Dickey’s provides minimal if any training on restaurant accounting, customer service, management, marketing, except for setting up a Facebook page. Lack of such training and/or lack of appropriate experience are a formula for disaster.
To the Wary Dickey’s Franchisee’s knowledge, Dickey’s does not have any demographic, traffic, parking space criteria for locating a store and does not provide much if any help in selecting sites, and negotiating store LOI’s and leases — another disaster waiting to happen for the naïve and inexperienced franchisee.
Lack of company owned stores and churning franchises:
Very few franchisers, even top line hotel franchisers, own many, if any, of their own operations, although some have spin-off companies that own assets and/or manage for assets owned by franchisees. Why would a franchiser tie up its own capital in assets, when it “prints money” from a franchisee’s capital expenditures?
Although the “liquidated damages” fee makes one highly suspicious, the Wary Dickey’s Franchisee cannot believe “churning” would actually be part of a responsible business plan – it would seem to make little economic sense given the very low $15,000 franchise fee. How is it economically worth the trouble? But then selling franchises to the naïve and inexperienced isn’t responsible either.
If anyone has hard evidence of COGs being significantly higher from Dickey’s vendors for the same specified products the Wary Dickey’s Franchisee would like to know; hard evidence could potentially make a winnable class action legal complaint in which the Wary Dickey’s Franchisee would be happy to participate.
The franchiser-franchisee relationship should be strictly an arm’s length business relationship and as with any relationship a potential franchisee should have an in-depth understanding of what he or she is getting into – legally, financially, and how much blood, sweat and tears is required to succeed.
Franchisers are not a franchisee’s friend or family or partner, in spite of what some franchisers like to promote about themselves.
Given that thought, it would seem to be beneficial to have an independent Dickey’s Franchisee Organization much like many franchisees of other brands have. Sure it would cost a little money to get organized, but the benefits could far outweigh the cost.
If you are a Dickey’s franchisee (unhappy, happy or wary) and interested in being an organizing member of a Dickey’s Franchisee Organization, contact the ADMIN of this website who will coordinate communication on a confidential basis. Email ADMIN at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.
Thanks for reading,
The Wary Dickey’s Franchisee
[What do you think of The Wary Franchisee’s guest post? Do you agree? Disagree? Please leave a comment below or email us (in confidence) at UnhappyFranchisee[ay]gmail.com]
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