Dickeyâ€™s Barbecue Pit, the Dallas-based purveyor of slow-cooked meats and down-home sides, has been in business since 1941. But company president Roland Dickey Jr. singles out 2009 as â€œquite a journey,â€ one that left Dickeyâ€™s leaner, meaner, and poised, once again, for growth.
The World War IIâ€“era barbecue chain began what Dickey calls â€œpassively franchising around Dallasâ€ in 1994. About 10 years later, the company began promoting Dickeyâ€™s for national growth.
â€œWe opened four a year, then 12 a year, then 20,â€ Dickey says. â€œBy 2008 we were selling 10â€“12 a month with that same number opening every month. But September of 2008 was the last month we sold any. It stopped in October. If we hadnâ€™t had the economic meltdown, we would have opened 62 new stores in 2009, but two thirds of them lost funding.â€