For any business, the success of its brand is its lifeblood. Brands represent the underlying ideals by which a business identifies and relates to its customers, and championing the values of a brand can help strengthen that relationship between a business and its audience. — Dickey’s Barbeque is a hugely popular Texas barbecue chain with over 520 stores, and CEO Roland Dickey, Jr. is celebrating those who best embody the chain’s brand values. The most recent Brand Championship awards has been given to Lee Waskam, of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
For 25 years, Lee Waskom operated a textbook business that serviced university campuses in northern Louisiana. He also owned a shopping center building that had a space open up at just the right time that he was ready for his next venture. After researching franchise businesses at length, Lee chose Dickey’s because of the quality food, solid internal structure and ongoing franchise support from the corporate office. The pellet ice and Coke products gave him the extra nudge and now Lee is the proud owner of one of the largest Dickey’s locations with plans to open another store in Lafayette in March.
Lee’s store is located across the street from Northwestern University in Natchitoches, Louisiana. Having partnered with universities his entire career, Lee leveraged that experience as he got his start in the barbecue business. In discussions with the school’s athletic director, Lee discovered that a large restaurant with high-protein options and TVs playing sports in demand when hosting opposing teams. Filling that need has been an excellent community engagement tool for this Dickey’s store.
In the college town of 20,000, Lee has found a niche market not only for sports, but for what he calls “in-store catering.” He was able to use extra space in his shopping center as a party room and he frequently hosts wedding parties, birthday parties and other get-togethers, in which he sets up full-service catering spreads in-house. This holiday season, Lee is already booked with many holiday parties.
A spokesperson for Roland Dickey, Jr. explained, “Roland was insistent from the beginning that we implement the best and most comprehensive support system for our franchisees, and ensure they felt part of our family. Lee has really reciprocated that family feeling, and have given back more than we could ever have expected, which is why Roland is so pleased to recognize them as Dickey’s Barbecue brand champions.”
About Roland Dickey, Jr.: Roland Dickey, Jr. is the CEO of Dickey’s Barbeque chain of fast-casual restaurants, and has led the franchise to over 500 stores and multiple awards, as well as being named one of the top 20 most influential restauranteurs. He regularly travels the country speaking at events and conferences on how franchises can reach the next level.
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