Dickey’s Barbecue Pit Boosts Business Using Big Data
Barbecue and Big Data apparently don’t have the most natural connection.
18:21 07 February 2019
But one Dallas-based family operated barbecue restaurant chain has managed to make them work together. Dickey’s Barbecue Pit, which has over 500 locations in more than 44 states, is the nation’s largest barbecue restaurant chain that serves authentic Texas-style barbecue for meat lovers. It has collaborated with a tech company iOLAP to develop a proprietary application it calls Smoke Stack, which assimilates data from different sources, crunches it to provide key insights into sales and other indicators.
Using the insights derived from the application, the Dickey’s team is able to adapt their operational tactics on the go in order to better respond to supply and demand factors, allowing them to be agile and competent in a highly unpredictable fast casual-restaurant space. Data flows into the app from different sources like the in-store Point of Sales (POS) terminals capturing sales as and when they happen, inventory management systems and marketing intelligence systems that collect feedback from customer surveys and loyalty programs. All of the collected data is assessed on a regularly basis to facilitate decision-making on the fly and during meetings at their Dallas headquarters, in order to boost sales and get a better understanding of its customer behavior.
Tapping into business-critical real-time data sourced from multiple systems allows Laura Rea Dickey (the CEO) and her team to apprise sales situation in different locations and take appropriate decisions after consulting with the franchisees. It also helps them ascertain as to whether they need to deploy more training personnel on site for streamlining operations and/or boosting sales. For instance, when they find out there’s lower than expected sales in a location say at lunch, and know they have a good portion of meat left, they can send out invites to local people for a special- so as to optimize the inventory and improve sales. From an operational perspective, it also lets them figure out what’s working in their huge chain of stores and what’s not.
Access to real-time business data at the tap of a finger means they’re now better prepared to handle a business situation and make fine adjustments to correct it on the fly rather than waiting for several weeks for the data to roll in so they can start crunching it. The big data application is the only sophisticated thing about what is otherwise a good-old, traditional Texas-style barbecue business that has been tirelessly serving authentic hickory-smoked barbecue for over 75 years now. Satisfied with the results they’re seeing, the Dickey’s team is highly optimistic this technology will continue to work well for them on their current expansion spree and their mission to become a fierce competitor in what is already a cut-throat environment.
The first Dickey’s Barbecue Pit was opened in Dallas, Texas in 1941. Since its inception, it has built a bit of reputation for serving passionate barbecue lovers subtle meat with deep flavors, carefully smoked in hickory using traditional low-and-slow technique. Having taken Texas-style barbecue to a lot of communities in the country, they’re well on their way to providing great barbecue to underserved communities all over the globe.
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