Dickey's Barbecue Pit wins distinguished Overall Award for Franchise Operations & Technology Leadership for 2023
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Dickey's Barbecue Pit wins distinguished Overall Award for Franchise Operations & Technology Leadership for 2023

Dickey's Barbecue Pit wins distinguished Overall Award for Franchise Operations & Technology Leadership for 2023

Franchise Update Media’s 5th Annual Franchise Innovation Awards has once again recognized the best of the best in franchise operations and technology innovation. This year, more than 100 entries in four main categories and 22 subcategories were judged to determine the winners. One of the highest honors of the contest is the Overall Award for Franchise Operations & Technology Leadership.

This year’s winner is Dickey’s Barbecue Pit for building its own USDA-inspected production facility and state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution plant. Dickey’s also was recognized with the award for Most Innovative Supply Chain Improvements.

Dickey’s needed a solution for supply chain disruption and food cost inflation—one that would provide continuous, high-quality barbecue meats at a competitive price. The goal was to control the costs of goods for Dickey’s franchisees and provide proprietary barbecue meats for the brand. The solution was to build its own production plant, the Wycliff Douglas Provisions plant, in Mesquite, Texas, just east of the company’s Dallas headquarters.

Since opening last year, the plant has produced and distributed thousands of pounds of craft sausages, wings, and chicken to franchisees and created hundreds of job opportunities for local workers. To date, the plant has developed a list of more than 50 clients and more than 1,000 grocery stores across the country, offering high-quality products, predictable availability, and a competitive price point.

We asked Renee Roozen, Dickey’s chief administrative officer, about the plant, its impact, and what the future might hold.

Briefly describe Dickey’s innovation of its own manufacturing and distribution plant. Dickey’s stores were experiencing stress at every point in the supply chain, specifically around our seven core proteins, which was leading to suppressed profit potential for our owner-operators. We started by asking, “How could we accomplish our objectives?” We quickly followed up with, “Should we accomplish them?” We put in the time to map out everything and to set the plans and objectives. We discussed the costs, timeline, ROI, and profitability needs. We then gathered the right team. In addition to five existing executives, we hired a sixth to ensure we had all avenues of the business needs covered. Then we went to work. We bought existing equipment whenever possible and rebuilt it ourselves to manage the pennies wherever possible and to provide the customization options we desired. We worked with a Swiss company to install an “Ion” system in the smokehouses.

What were the goals and objectives of building your own manufacturing and distribution plant? We knew we needed to have consistency in product, quality control of the product, and a dependable source for our proprietary product. We also wanted the ability to create additional revenue streams.

What was unique about this innovation? We are the only company in the lower 48 to use the Ion smoking system. It uses electricity to charge the smoke coming into the house so that it sticks to the product, reducing smoke time by 45%. This process also reduces emissions as the smoke particles remain inside of the house to be rinsed away instead of being put into the air. The Ion system interfaces with a touch screen control system that manages the smokehouses, collects and maintains all required USDA data, and ties into a remote server for continuous backup and remote monitoring.

How long did it take to plan, build, and launch the facility? We spent 12 months to source equipment, identify a location, and build out the location in Mesquite, Texas. We chose Mesquite because it is a central transportation location. We identified an available convertible warehouse space with existing loading docks. We then took an additional 3 months to make it operational.

What was the impact for franchisees? It decreased costs by 16% for chicken and 12% for sausage. It also provided consistent availability of our proprietary product at a good value.

What was the impact for customers? They get consistent quality and better value and the convenience of having our products available in more retailers.

What kind of ROI has Dickey’s experienced? We’ve added 12 new clients and 20 private label protein lines. We are very pleased with our investment in the plant.

Will there be further evolution of this innovation? Absolutely. We continue to get requests for new products using this new processes. We meet weekly on what the next steps will be for Wycliff Douglas Provisions. We started with Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, and we continue to innovate and add to our capabilities. We are investing in new equipment to meet the needs of our customers.

2023 Innovation Awards Overall Operations & Technology Leadership Award Finalists

  • Most Innovative Supply Chain Improvements: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
  • Most Innovative Building Design, Remodel, or Prototype: Kona Ice
  • Most Innovative Use of Technology: MassageLuXe
  • Most Innovative Use of Data: BrightStar Care

 

Published: October 1st, 2023

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