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Brand Champion: Tony & Angela Hayes – Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Knoxville, TN

Published: 07 Jul 2015

Following a 25-year career with the United States Air Force, Veteran Tony Hayes was looking forward to “retirement” – and the start of his second career. He had always wanted to start his own small business with wife Angela and decided Dickey’s was the ideal franchise opportunity after visiting a friend and fellow Owner / Operator in Mississippi. “My wife and I had always wanted to live in Eastern Tennessee and there wasn’t a Dickey’s in Knoxville, so the opportunity aligned perfectly and on March 19 of this year we opened our own store,” said Tony. “People say all the time, thank goodness you brought Dickey’s to Tennessee, we LOVE good Texas barbecue,” said Tony. “Especially the smoked sausage and brisket, they are very hard to come by here in Tennessee.”

Tony loves the feeling of walking into his store every morning to the smell of fresh hickory smoke. “Every day is different, you never know what is going to happen – who you will meet, who you will get to cater for, no two days are ever alike,” said Tony.


Tony and Angela know that utilizing the tools and resources provided to Owner / Operators is key. “The support we receive from Dickey’s is exceptional. It’s one of the reasons we decided to go into the franchising world. Using the Dickey’s brand name, top quality products and marketing collateral pieces has been integral for us – you just can’t get that kind of support anywhere else.”


Tony and Angela believe it is important to support local charities and organizations.  “We are a new business with limited resources but we want all our guests that support us day in and day out to know that we are also here for them by supporting local community organizations,” said Tony.  They provide door prizes for charity golf tournaments, donate 10-person caterings each month to community organizations and use their “Eat Barbecue, Raise Funds” program, which donates 15% of the restaurant’s sales to the organization during fundraising events. 


Tony and Angela aren’t absentee owners, you are guaranteed to see at least one of them in the store every day.  Tony focuses on business operations and catering while Angela handles marketing and managing their brand ambassadors. Together they make a terrific team and enjoy working side-by-side every day.