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Brand Champions: Bob & Barb Rusnak

Published: 03 Feb 2015

As a retired Air Force Colonel, Bob Rusnak understands success.  He and his wife Barb, were looking for their next adventure when they stumbled on to the business opportunity at Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. Today, they are multi-unit operators in the Colorado Springs area on the cusp of opening their third location later this year.  That makes three new stores in just three years with impressive sales to back it up.

“We briefly considered retirement and then decided to explore restaurant franchises,” said Bob Rusnak, multi-unit franchise owner for Dickey’s Barbecue Pit. “We looked in to veteran friendly franchises and were impressed by the business model, food quality, and franchise opportunity at Dickey’s Barbecue.”

With increased month to date comp sales of 3.5%, catering at 18% and month to date labor holding steady at 13%, the Rusnaks are seeing impressive brand momentum.

 “We find so much satisfaction in growing our business,” said Rusnak.  “Part of the passion is servicing the guests and keeping the brand growing. You wouldn’t believe how many times guests ask us if we will open stores in their neighborhood.“

Their passion in growing the Dickey’s brand has been contagious.  They are regular guests on KZNT 1460 Newstalk with Mike Boyle sharing tips on the art of great barbecue with Saturday morning fans.

In addition, they participate in the Pike’s Peak Summer Reading Program by providing “Be my Guest” cards to local children. Last year they gave away over 15,000 cards to elementary students who worked hard to reach their reading goals. They also support local sports programs like Air Force Academy Football games and Mixed Marshall Arts fights in their area.

“The best piece of advice I can give any new franchise owner is to be in your restaurant every day and get to know your guests,” said Rusnak. “I think we are successful because we truly care about our guests and our business -- It’s also so important to meet the community and give back.”