For 25 years, Lee Waskom operated a textbook business which serviced university campuses in northern Louisiana. He also owned a 3,000 square-foot shopping center, with space for three tenants. He had one tenant leaving and one space vacant. As a franchise owner for another concept, Lee decided he would try his hand at another franchise concept. With many Mexican restaurants and chicken-based fast casual concepts in town, he knew he wanted something different. That’s what led him to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. All three spaces in his shopping center opened up eventually, so he decided to make the whole space into one free-standing Dickey’s Barbecue Pit.
Waskom first learned about Dickey’s through the Franchise Solutions web portal in April of 2014. After researching franchise businesses at length, Waskom chose the Dickey’s Barbecue Pit opportunity because of the quality food, solid internal structure and ongoing franchise support from the corporate office.
“Franchising is a lot of hard work, but it’s very rewarding,” Waskom says. “Dickey’s provides a great opportunity to have a distinct food offering. It is a uniquely defined concept that will differentiate you out of thousands of other restaurant offerings.” Waskom is the proud owner of one of the largest Dickey’s locations in the country. Future plans include opening another Dickey’s Barbecue Pit location in Lafayette, LA in March 2016.
Outside the Waskom's Dickey's Barbecue Pit franchise
(L-R Ginny Waskom, Lee Waskom and GM Evelyn Anderson)
Waskom’s store is located across the street from Northwestern University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Having partnered with universities his entire career, Waskom leveraged that experience as he got started in the barbecue business. In discussions with the school’s athletic director, Waskom learned his large restaurant could benefit from the town’s 20,000 population with its high-protein menu options and TVs covering the school’s team sports on demand. Filling that need has been an excellent community engagement tool for Waskom’s Dickey’s store.
Waskom has found a niche market not only for sports but for what he calls “in-store catering.” He was able to use extra space in his shopping center as a party room and he frequently hosts wedding parties, birthday parties and other get-togethers, in which he sets up full-service catering spreads in-house. This holiday season, he booked many holiday parties.
Waskom knew he wanted to choose a franchise with an excellent training program. “The Shift Meeting Training Videos are great for training new and existing employees,” Waskom says of Dickey’s daily training videos. “The videos are great visual aids and I find them very helpful to enforce Dickey’s brand standards.” Waskom consistently uses the training and marketing tools to grow his business in Natchitoches and will follow the same model at his new store in Lafayette.
About Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc.
Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., the nation’s largest barbecue chain, was founded in 1941 by Travis Dickey with the goal of authentic slow smoked barbecue. Today, all meats are still slow smoked on-site in each restaurant living up to the company tagline, “We Speak Barbecue.” The Dallas-based family-run barbecue franchise offers a quality selection of signature meats, home style sides, tangy barbecue sauce and free kids’ meals every Sunday. The fast-casual concept has expanded to over 530 locations in 43 states. Dickey’s was recognized for the third year by Nation’s Restaurant News as a “Top 10 Growth Chain” and by Technomic as the “Fastest-growing restaurant chain in the country.” For more information on the Dickeys Barbecue Pit franchise opportunity tap here.