Without any prior restaurant experience and out of money to complete the construction of his first store, Jared Katzenbarger was on the verge of losing his first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit franchise, almost never becoming a Dickey’s owner and operator. Three and a half years later he is about to open his seventh store.
Katzenbarger set out to open his first restaurant in 2012 after he saw an opportunity in the Sacramento, California, market for something that didn’t exist: quick-service barbecue.
“It was a huge hurdle for me at the beginning. People were telling me that opening a restaurant was a bad idea and a waste of my money,” Katzenbarger says. “People shook their heads when I told them about my vision, but all it did was make me want to prove them wrong. Ultimately, it’s what empowered me to build a successful business.”
Katzenbarger scraped all the money he had together and at the end, but came up short. This was devastating, but thanks to help from a friend, business partner, and general contractor, Harjaspreet Grewel, Katzenbarger eventually got the financing he needed. He successfully completed the project, which was met with overwhelming success and daily lines out the door. He also knew he had to tap into experience and hired local general manager Thomas Harris, the first hire he ever made, who is now his district manager. In a market that offers plenty of pizza, sandwiches, and burritos, there was not a lot of competition when it came to barbecue, especially hearty, authentic Texas-style barbecue, smoked low and slow overnight in each store.
“I was always interested in the restaurant industry and I’m so glad I partnered with Dickey’s. I don’t believe I would have had this opportunity with any other brand. It shaped me and my business into what it is today as there was a lot I didn’t know about the process. Dickey’s great support system is what got me through it,” Katzenbarger says. “From the real estate team helping me with site selection to the construction managers and store opening/training team there on the ground with me, I don’t know that I could have made it happen without their ongoing support.”
“Jared is one of our hardest-working owner-operators and has really created a niche with his business,” says CEO Roland Dickey Jr. “We are honored that he chose to franchise with Dickey’s and congratulate him on his success as he continues to expand across greater Sacramento. Dickey’s offers multi-store incentives to all of our franchisees, and we applaud the many owner-operators such as Jared who have grown successful businesses with Dickey’s.”