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Dickey's Barbecue Pit Receives HT's Industry Hero Award

Dickey’s upgraded multiple online platforms, including its proprietary reporting system and intranet portal, and teamed up with Chowly to integrate third-party delivery orders.
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Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was presented with Hospitality Technology’s Industry Hero Award for improving the user experience of its customers and its franchisees during the pandemic.


At the beginning of the pandemic, Dickey’s completely redesigned its e-commerce site to optimize functionality for mobile users. The upgraded site features enhanced speed and performance, an elevated user experience with fewer clicks and an easier navigation to follow, all of which contributed to a 42% increase in Dickey’s digital sales and 122% increase in site traffic.

Dickey’s also integrated Chowly, a third-party delivery consolidation platform, into its online ordering system. After onboarding the new service, average sales across all locations increased 133.8%, with one Dickey’s franchisee seeing an off-premise sales growth of over 400%!


Two of Dickey’s franchisee-facing resources, an intranet portal named the Smoke Pit and Dickey’s proprietary reporting system, SmokeStack, were also restructured. These give Dickey’s franchisees access to resources directly from their mobile devices. Franchisees embraced the improvements and Dickey’s saw a 50% decrease in reporting and resource issues. 

See what CIO Carissa De Santis has to say about her team receiving HT's Industry Hero Award.  

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Dickey's franchisees embraced the intranet and reporting improvements; corporate saw a 50% decrease in reporting and resource issues.

“We’ve been so fortunate that we’ve been able to continue to serve” during the pandemic, says Laura Rea Dickey, CEO of Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc, in a 2020 interview with Hospitality Technology. Like many restaurants, the barbecue brand ramped up its off-prem business, a move that was streamlined through technology.

Dynamic Duo
When asked about tech investments, Dickey is quick to say, “The biggest upgrade we’ve had is being able to recruit CIO Carissa De Santis.” Dickey and De Santis, both 2019 Top Women in Restaurant Technology award winners, met at MURTEC. “Having the right folks to build it” is essential.

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Dickey's 500+ local owners and operators saw traffic and sales increase due to the team’s quick and efficient redesign.

Mad About Mobile

Under the leadership of  De Santis, Dickey’s engaged in market research and development to introduce an entirely new digitally focused user experience for mobile online ordering. Research studies for Dickey’s showed 90% of guests were coming to Dickey’s by using their mobile device. In less than 35 days, De Santis and her team completely redesigned Dickey’s e-commerce site to optimize the performance for mobile users. The site design enhanced speed and performance, which led to fewer abandoned carts, fewer clicks, less scrolling and an easier-to-follow navigation contributing to an immediate 42% increase in digital sales and a 122% increase in site traffic. In addition, online ordering increased 391% to about 2,500 checks a day and the average check size saw an increase of about 27%. 

a sign above a store
Carissa De Santis, CIO of Dickey's Barbecue Pit, was the driving force behind Dickey’s stellar results.

This impact not only created an easier, more enjoyable mobile ordering experience, but also served the 500+ local owners and operators who saw traffic and sales increase due to the team’s quick and efficient redesign. The process was streamlined for guests, and small business owners were given a competitive edge in an era of uncertainty.

De Santis has more than 20 years of experience in the restaurant industry in both operations and technology. She served in various leadership roles for TGI Fridays before joining Dickey’s as VP of Information in 2019. She was promoted to CIO in December 2020.

Dickey's Barbecue Pit's 2020 accomplishments exemplify the spirit of HT’s Industry Heroes awards.

“HT’s Industry Heroes Awards acknowledge members of our restaurant technology community who truly went above and beyond in the face of closed dining rooms and lockdowns, pivoting to off-prem and digital solutions to serve customers, support employees, and feed communities in need,” said Abigail Lorden, publisher of HT.

The Industry Heroes Awards recognize both restaurants and technology suppliers for exemplary contributions to the restaurant industry in 2020. Dickey's Barbecue Pit was one of six Industry Hero award winners at the 26th annual MURTEC (Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference), which was held virtually, “online everywhere” on April 13 and 14. The winners of the 2021 Industry Heroes Awards are: CMX, Concept Entertainment Group, Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, Fazoli’s, Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems, Inc., OneDine, Puncch and Revel Systems.

Top Women in Restaurant Technology and Industry Heroes winners were chosen by Hospitality Technology magazine and members of its Research Advisory Board. Winners will be profiled in the Summer 2021 issue of Hospitality Technology magazine and in digital profiles on in the coming weeks. 


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