During Dickey’s Barbecue Pit’s 80-year history, with over 550 locations including Chicago IL, Bolingbrook IL, Elwood IL, Highland IN, Orland Park IL, Kenosha WI, Las Vegas NV, Dallas TX, Lancaster PA, Lexington KY, Kennesaw GA, Knoxville TN, Panama City Beach FL, and more, the restaurant industry has changed dramatically. In eight decades, the world’s largest barbecue restaurant franchise has proven that “Evolve or fail.”
In 2019, Dickey’s continued to invest heavily in cutting-edge technology to improve the online ordering experience for customers and increase revenue for franchisees, long before it became a necessity. For Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc., 80 years in business means adapting to changing consumer trends. “Dickey’s has become an iconic brand because we are committed to evolving before it is required. The fact that we keep up with technology will continue to drive our brand’s success for years to come.”
In what ways does Dickey’s revolutionary technology outperform the competition?
Dickey’s hired industry veteran Carissa De Santis as vice president of information technology in June 2019. De Santis, who has over 20 years of experience in both operations and technology, was promoted to CIO in December 2020 after expanding Dickey’s digital capabilities.
De Santis and her IT team redesigned Dickey’s e-commerce site in early 2020 to accommodate mobile users. The new site is faster, more responsive, and easier to navigate, all of which contributed to a 42 percent increase in digital sales and a 122 percent increase in site traffic. Online ordering increased 391 percent to 2,500 checks per day, and the average check size increased 27%.
Before joining Dickey’s, De Santis worked in operations, which influenced her technology knowledge. She believes that knowing what happens in stores is critical to driving results in the technology field. The Smoke Pit intranet portal and SmokeStack, Dickey’s proprietary reporting system, are two recent examples of De Santis’ collaboration with operations. These new systems gave Dickey’s franchisees better mobile access to hundreds of resources.
De Santis streamlined the online ordering process by integrating all third-party delivery partners into Chowly. The Chowly integration increased off-premise sales by over 400%. This benefited not only her guests, but also the over 500 local franchisees who saw increased traffic and sales due to her IT team’s quick and efficient redesign.
De Santis is also a member of Dickey’s established Franchise Technology Committee, which coordinates all company technology initiatives and roadmaps. The committee’s collaboration ensures Dickey’s has the necessary partnership and support from all Owner/Operators as new technology is implemented daily.
Dickey’s talented IT department understands how to embrace and evolve restaurant technology, which will be a key ingredient in future success. Visit franchise.dickeys.com for more information.