Complaint Desk

Dickey's is Really Proud of its Deal with Sysco

First, a little back story: Dickey's Barbecue Pit has fired off round after round of press release material lately. The company is intoxicated with its expansion at every gas station and mall food court across the land, and its public relations firm mainlines Red Bull in order to make sure we all know about it. The news usually garners little attention.

But last week the flacks floated a press release that was actually quite striking: "Dickey's Signs Exclusive Agreement With Sysco."

In said release, Roland Dickey Jr., president of Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants Inc., announced that they intend to open 100 new locations just this year and with a total of 220 locations nationwide, he's "thrilled" to now supply those stores with nothing but food straight out of the back of a Sysco truck.

He calls it a "significant milestone."

I call it throwing in the towel.

Dickey's started in our fine city more than 70 years ago as a little family-run joint and amassed a loyal local customer base. As with any mom and pop restaurant, particularly those in the barbecue business, patrons look for the subtleties that differentiate it from other places. It can be as simple as homemade potato salad or sweet tea. The goal is usually to create something unique. Dickey's? Not so much. They're done with that nonsense.

Sysco and companies like it serve a purpose and have lots of fun, crazy crap to eat, like bacon and spicy ketchup. I'm all for that.

But it's one thing to have an exclusive contract on ubiquity. It's another to actually promote it.

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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.