Burned by Dickey’s” is a former Dickey’s franchise owner who shares his experience with and views of the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise opportunity and Dickey’s president Roland Dickey, Jr. under the condition of anonymity. Several of his complaints are shared by other Dickey’s franchisees on UnhappyFranchisee.Com.
Dickey’s Barbecue president Roland Dickey Jr. is contacted each time we post and invited to provide corrections, clarifications, rebuttals or any response whatsoever but has so far declined to answer a single inquiry.
(Note: Franchisee opinions posted on Unhappy Franchisee are their’s alone and not necessarily shared by this website. Dickey’s unwillingness to engage in dialogue makes getting a balanced view even more difficult. Readers should do their own independent research and draw their own conclusions.)
Some franchisees have said that’s not surprising, and have described the Roland Dickey, Jr. as distant and inaccessible, if not paranoid (one said he travels with bodyguards). They say he will not answer questions posed to him directly until he has had a chance to go back and confer with advisors or whomever, and then issues a formal response (or none at all).
Older franchisees claim that his father, founder Roland Dickey, Sr., is much the opposite: Friendly, personable and interested in franchisees’ well-being. Unfortunately, they say, Roland Dickey, Sr. is little more than a figurehead and his efforts at goodwill are both resented and undermined by his son and his son’s management team.
We were contacted by an anonymous Dickey’s franchise owner going by the name Burned by Dickey’s.
Burned by Dickey’s describes what he believes, for many, is a common Dickey’s franchise scenario:
- Dickey’s recruits inexperienced and/or undercapitalized franchisees and often allows them to take non-viable (or even previously unsuccessful) locations,
- In addition to taking 9% of their gross sales, these franchisees have a high Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) in part because Dickey’s requires vendors to pay them kickbacks (rebates) on the franchisee’s purchases. These burdens make achieving profitability very difficult, if not impossible.
- When franchisees fall behind in their payments, Dickey’s allegedly threatens them using a liquidated damages clause in their franchise agreement that says they must pay Dickey’s as much as $500,000 – $800,000 if their franchise fails. Burned by Dickey’s claims Dickey’s corporate uses this threat as a way to head off franchisee lawsuits, and to allow them to sell the failed restaurant to a new franchisee.
- Burned by Dickey’s claims that Dickey’s corporate will blame the owner for the failure and even publicly disparage them in the local press,
- Dickey’s then resells the failed store to a new franchisee to start the process again, or the store may be taken over by an area developer for pennies on the dollar. The fact that Dickey’s itself does not take over the failed stores or even has more than a few corporates stores, says Burned by Dickey’s, is an indication that Roland Dickey Jr. does not believe that their own franchise is a viable investment.
Are you familiar with Dickey’s Pit Barbecue franchise opportunity and president Roland Dickey, Jr.? What do you think? Please share a comment below or email us in confidence at UnhappyFranchisee[at]gmail.com.
Burned by Dickey’s: Dickey’s vendor kickbacks contribute to franchise failures
Burned by Dickey’s states:
If these vendor kickbacks were disclosed in my [year withheld] FDD, they were buried and I never noticed them.
I was not experienced enough to know how significant a factor a few lines in the FDD could have on my future. I know now.
The kickbacks were something we grew to suspect with our ever increasing COGS but did not get confirmation until long after our store closure.
Burned by Dickey’s: Dickey’s blames, bullies and disparages failed owners; resells franchise locations
Additionally, store failures were reported as “transitions” to new owners. I think it was only five that they disclosed as closures and they were reported as owners that were being sued by Dickey’s for a number of shocking reasons, all that I now believe to be bogus. So you read it thinking “I’m honest and competent, I don’t have to worry about this…” those failure issues are not going to be a problem for me because I am honest and ethical. In hindsight I know better.
Without fail, Dickey’s will lie, slander, and defame the exiting franchise owner to hide their responsibility for the failure, making it easier to resell it to the next unsuspecting investor. They may even go so far as saying slanderous things about you to local newspaper reporters. It happened to me. I’ll never be able to work in that town, or county, again because of Dickey’s.
This is the Dickey’s SOP, when you decide to stop funding Roland Dickey and Roland Dickey Jr.’s unethical and dishonest blood letting, they sue you. No matter why you decide you either cannot come up with the money anymore or you will not, you get a letter saying you owe them at least a half million dollars. Oddly, that’s the number they already caused you to lose.
Let that sink in a minute. You have a legitimate claim for a half million against them, so they make one up against you. In court, a judge might call it a wash and tell you both to take your lumps and go home. They go home without ever losing a dime, keeping the thousands they fleeced off you while you have lost everything with no chance of being made whole again.
Burned by Dickey’s: If the Dickey’s concept is viable, why aren’t there more corporate stores? Why don’t they take over failed stores?
Burned by Dickey’s states:
Think on this: Dickey’s only owns five of their restaurants, out of how many now? About 500? They only own five.
If it’s such a great enterprise why are they so lacking in faith in their own venture? This also was not disclosed until much later in training, they do not correct you when you assume they own about half the stores until they already have your money, you’ve already bought a van and signed a lease. You can’t see a way out, so you commit to opening and reselling your store.
They are clearly NOT in the restaurant business. They have no interest, no liability, in your failure. If they were interested in your success, and competent to insure it, they would not allow you to set up a store that they do not believe they could make a profit on if it were a corporate store, they would buy “failures” and make them corporate stores. This has never happened. Not once. If they were honestly concerned about their brand name integrity, they’d buy the “failures” and turn them into successes.
If (and when) you fail, they still collect their 9% plus kickbacks. They have nothing on the line to motivate them to prevent your failure, but they will sue you for it claiming you “damaged the brand name” while denying all of their own responsibility for that damage, and no compunction at all about damaging your name.
Burned by Dickey’s: Don’t Buy a Dickey’s Franchise
Burned by Dickey’s states:
If you have the where-with-all to do a franchise, you have what it takes to start your own business.
Don’t fall for the marketing pitch about how it’s better to pay royalties for someone else’s very expensive learning curve and proven business plan.
That is snake oil.
My advice to you is do your own thing on your own terms and don’t buy a franchise. But if you must, Don’t Buy a Dickey’s.
Company officials, Dickey’s area developers and franchise owners are invited to share their opinions on any and all posts.
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