ALL POSTSDICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT franchiseLaura Rea DickeyRoland Dickey Jr.

Most Dickey’s Franchises Are Unprofitable, Franchisees Report

A recent Dickey’s Franchise Owner’s Survey presents a chilling picture of a chain in crisis:  58% of Dickey’s franchise owners reported that their stores weren’t profitable in 2018.  69% reported that their 2018 financial performance was worse than the previous year.  39% are considering closing their stores.  When asked if they had it to do over again, a resounding 85% said they would NOT invest in a Dickey’s franchise.

(UnhappyFranchisee.Com)  Hundreds of Dickey’s Barbecue franchise locations have closed nationwide, and dozens of others have been resold to a revolving door of owners through a deliberate practice known as churning.

Dickey's Franchise Owners AssociationA recent satisfaction survey conducted by the Pit Owners Association of Dickey’s franchise owners confirmed what we’ve long reported:  current Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise owners are in distress, trapped by their decisions to trust what is arguably the most predatory franchise seller in recent history.

The Pit Owners Association 2019 Dickey’s Franchisee Satisfaction Survey:

The survey report states:

• Survey completed 5/30/2019
• 201 of 336 Operators participated
• 330 of 475 stores represented

• 1.73 stores per owner on average
• 4.97 years per owner on average
• 76% surveyed have been in the system longer than 3.0 years

READ: Dickey’s 2019 Franchisee Survey Excerpt 1:  Demographics, Future & Past

58% of Dickey’s Owners Report Unprofitable Stores in 2018

Question Answer
Was this store profitable in 2018? No – 58%: 117 ppl, 191 stores
Yes – 42%: 84 ppl, 139 stores
Was the financial performance of this store better in 2018 versus
No – 69%: 139 ppl, 228 stores
Yes – 31%: 62 ppl, 102 stores
Are you considering closing this location? No – 61%: 123 ppl, 201 stores
Yes – 39%: 78 ppl, 129 stores

85% of Owners Surveyed WOULDN’T Invest in a Dickey’s Franchise Again

Question Answer
If I had it to do over again, I would invest in a Dickey’s

Overall Score: 1.5 out of 5

85% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(171 ppl, 281 stores)

3% Agree/Strongly Agree
(6 ppl, 10 stores)

My investment with this Brand from construction costs, time investment,

monies spent and return on investment has met my expectations.

Overall Score: 1.63 out of 5

84% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(169 ppl, 277 stores)

7% Agree/Strongly Agree
(14 ppl, 23 stores)

My investment with this Brand from construction costs, time
investment, monies spent and return on investment is
reflective of how it was initially represented to me.

Overall Score: 1.65  out of 5

81% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(163 ppl, 267 stores)

4% Agree/Strongly Agree
(8 ppl, 13 stores)

I feel that as a Brand we’re on a path that will make 2019 my
most profitable and best year ever as a Dickey’s Franchisee.

Overall Score: 1.90 out of 5

75% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(151 ppl, 248 stores)

12% Agree/Strongly Agree
(8 ppl, 13 stores)

My current Franchise Agreement contains provisions
that are fair and equitable to the franchisee.

Overall Score: 1.85 out of 5

75% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(151 ppl, 248 stores)

12% Agree/Strongly Agree
(8 ppl, 13 stores)

I am considering opening/developing/acquiring more Dickey’s restaurants.

Overall Score: 1.48 out of 5

84% Disagree/Strongly Disagree
(169 ppl, 277 stores)

4% Agree/Strongly Agree
(8 ppl, 13 stores)

Dickey’s Franchise Owners Say Their Situation’s Critical & Getting Worse

Laura Rea DickeyDickey’s franchise owners express their frustration and despair in the comment section of the survey.  Here is a sampling:

Life savings gone with no real hope on any return…

We also had to close one of our three in order to make a go at keeping the remaining two open… we bought ourselves a job that we can’t even make minimum wage at this point. It is a struggle for survival every day.  After over five years of owning the locations, we should not be in this position.

I will file for Chap 7 protection in 2019. Multiple stores will be closed and multiple markets lost. I’m sure I am only one of many.

If I could find someone to buy this I would be gone tomorrow. I don’t believe Dickey’s will ever put the franchisee’s success ahead of their greed.

…would sell TODAY if these things were worth anything

If i could return in time i would had never invested in this corrupt brand.

I’ve been at it 5 years and own 3 unopened franchises. Going forward there is no way in hell I would open another with Dickeys.

My top line sales have decreased 45% over the past 3 years.

If I would have known then what I know now there is NO WAY I would have opened this franchise. Thank goodness I was smart enough to not open more.

We started with a plan to open five restaurants… After start of operations, we have reached the conclusion that DBRI is either unwilling or incapable of helping us develop the territory. this will be our last Dickey’s Restaurant.

Dickey’s Franchise Owners Blame Franchisor (DBRI) Greed for Systemwide Failures

There is a widespread sentiment among franchise owners that franchisor Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Incorporated (DBRI) prioritizes corporate profits and vendor kickbacks over the profitability, survival and well-being of its franchise owners.  This belief is expressed in strong terms in the Pit Owners Association comments:

It seems to me that selling franchises is more important to Dickeys corporate than keeping them alive.

DBRI has focused on selling franchise and not the profitability of the stores.

If DBRI continues to place the franchisee’s at the bottom of the food chain both franchisee’s and franchisor will die off.

Currently all efforts seem driven by corporate profits at the owners expense.

They claim to be guest first, but they are really DBRI first, guest 2nd, and owners VERY VERY last. The future can not be bright if this mentality does not change.

“Future Survivability of brand is in doubt” – Dickey’s Franchisee

Many Dickey’s franchisees believe that, at the current rate of decline, the Dickey’s Barbecue brand is in serious jeopardy:

Future survivability of brand is in doubt.

The Dickey’s name it self is so bad that even good stores can’t sell for a decent price so good or bad people are stuck.  Dickeys reputation is just bad all around.

If things continue as they are I can see a complete failure of the brand.

This brand will cease to exist in the near future unless there is sweeping and drastic overhauls at the top.

DBRI will cease to exist if it continues in this direction.

Dickey’s is a dying brand. The sales show it, the store count shows it, and the only way out is to remove Roland and family from the picture.

Until we get a CEO/President that is qualified to run this company, independent of the Dickey family, we will never thrive.


Dickey's Franchise ExposeHelp us finish our special report:

Burnt Ends – Dickey’s Barbecue Franchise Exposed


DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise SBA Loans Investigated by U.S. Senator

DICKEY’S BARBECUE PIT Franchise Complaints

DICKEY’S Franchise Owners Share Frustrations & Fears

Roland Dickey Jr. Extracted Millions While Dickey’s Franchise Owners Fought for Survival

DICKEY’S BARBEQUE PIT Franchise Closures, Internal Turmoil Revealed By UUnhappyFranchisee.Com

DICKEY’S Franchise Class Action Lawsuit Filed in CA


DICKEY’S Franchise Graveyard



TAGS: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Dickey’s, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise, Dickey’s franchise, DBRI, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Incorporated, Dickey’s closed, Laura Rea Dickey, Roland Dickey Jr., Dickey’s Pit Owner’s Association, Dickey’s Franchisee Survey, franchise opportunity, franchise complaints, unhappy franchisee

15 thoughts on “Most Dickey’s Franchises Are Unprofitable, Franchisees Report

  • Please list the latest updates on dickeys barbecue closing list.

  • Patrick Fiddler

    I believe people who work hard for their money should not invest in a franchise.

  • Ryan Wenrich President of the Pit Owners Association for Dickey’s BBQ has closed all 6 of the stores he owns in the Kansas/Missouri Market in 2019 most in the last month. Another Bankrupt Owner.

  • Shouldn’t companies like IFPG be held accountable for some of these closings? They use deceptive images, practices and even trickery to get you to open emails.

    How much did the International Franchise Professionals Group (aka smoke and mirrors) make off of Dickey’s BBQ or the beloved “Cuppies”?

    Wake up and hold some people accountable.

    Red, we always viewed you as a man of integrity and a man of God, but you’ve hooked up with some people and creatures that don’t support that. I’ll miss you Red!

  • Phil Weisberger

    Laura Rae looks like a porker in the above picture

  • What’s scary is this survey doesn’t count that 113 stores that closed in 2018.

  • How much did the international franchise professionals group makes off for Dickey’s BBQ or the beloved “Cuppies”?

  • Anonymous

    With statistics like this, I wonder how they are selling ANY new locations. They used to open 2-3 a week, now it seems it is 1-2 a month and they close quite a few more than that.

  • Anonymous

    Everything is bigger in Texas. Including the greed. DBRI is only in it for themselves, they don’t help their franchisees in any matter.

    Laura Rae – I would offer to give you some advice here, but your track record shows you do not listen. You had hundreds of franchisees offer their experience with YOUR system in this report (which combined is years more than Roland and yourself can claim), and you essentially weekly give them the middle finger. You are deaf to your franchisee’s needs whether out of stupidity or malice. You consistently blame the franchisees for “not doing things the Dickey’s way” – which quite clearly is working so well for all the locations that are down year over year. If the Dickey’s way truly worked, franchisees would be clamoring to follow it. It is obvious that these marketing/business tactics do not produce the results you claim.

    Get over your greed, allow your franchisees to succeed, and quit pocketing US Foods rebates for yourself claiming locations are “not following all brand standards”.

  • Corporate Greed

    So DBRI keeps automatically signing franchisees up for new services like UberEats, GrubHub and other third party services that cost them money. You have to go through great lengths to not be signed up for these services that suck 25-50% of your gross sales for the order under the guise of “bringing new customers”. If corporate truly cared about making the franchisees money, they wouldn’t be wasting it with every 3rd party restaurant vendor in the face of the planet.

    The reality is that DBRI has a “throw everything at the wall mentality” and hope it sticks. Meanwhile, the individual stores are shouldering the price and mostly taking losses on these purchases so the royalty payments can go up. DBRI, I’m sure, also gets payments on the backend from these companies. It’s become a new profit center for them that allows them to double-dip in sales.

    Questionable legality, unquestionably unethical.

  • anonymous

    Dickeys California locations down again to 63 (including food trucks). US locations down to 452 including food trucks and concession locations.

  • Anonymous

    This company uses their Franchise Agreement to strong arm locations into forking over more money every single month. When the cost of processing gift cards is 5x with a new gift card processor, you can’t possibly believe that Dickey’s does any negotiating on behalf of their franchisees.

    Anyone considering buying a Dickey’s, DON’T DO IT. You will regret it with every single email that comes to you from They are constantly hounding you and blaming poor store performance on the franchisee. Not once since we’ve opened has DBRI ever admitted that they made a mistake, yet mistakes are made daily.

    There is zero respect for the franchisee from Laura, Roland, Ed Hermann, or Jeff Gruber. The way they act in their positions would result in ousting if this were a publicly traded company. Instead, we get to watch the four of them destroy a once- good business, and in the process, take down hundreds of franchisees who have invested their life savings with a company who doesn’t at all care about anything except lining Roland’s pocket.

    Ask any franchisee, they will tell you the same thing. No one makes any money except DBRI.

  • What do you expect? Anybody’s mother or daddy can make BBQ. I’d rather go to a real deal roadside BBQ than some BS franchise.

  • Anonymouse

    @James Day –

    Customers’ preferences aside, the discussion is about how the franchisee is treated by the franchisor. There are plenty of people like yourself that immediately write off franchised barbecue, and there are probably way more that have no idea the real definition of barbecue and just want food. For them, yes, the Dickey’s FOOD is good, and if there is a market, only a fool wouldn’t go after it. Up for discussion here is how inept corporate is at supporting their franchisees – not an individual’s opinion as to whether they would choose to eat barbecue from a franchise or from a ‘more authentic’ roadside stand.

  • no name please

    What is the best way to get out of the franchise agreement without being sued?

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