Top 250 Franchise by Entrepreneur – Rank no. 187 – Famous Dave’s – US
Products & Services: Barbecue-theme restaurant
Number of Locations: 187
Total Investment: $636.75K – 4.23M
Began Franchising: 1998
About Famous Dave’s
After 25 years spent sampling barbecue across the country and developing his own sauce recipes and smoking techniques, Dave Anderson opened the first Famous Dave’s BBQ Shack in Hayward, Wisconsin, in 1994. His Rich & Sassy sauce won first place in 1995 at the American Royal Barbecue Sauce Contest in Kansas City, Missouri. More awards, and more restaurants, followed, and franchising began in 1998. Famous Dave’s of America is a chain of barbecue restaurants serving pork ribs, chicken, beef brisket and several flavors of barbecue sauce. Dave Anderson, an Ojibwe who served as the head of the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs from 2004 to 2005, started the first Famous Dave’s restaurant near Hayward, Wisconsin in 1994. The restaurant chain grew throughout the Midwestern United States. It has 200 locations in 34 U.S. states and one Canadian province, as of December 2012. The first restaurant of the chain was Famous Dave’s Bar-B-Que and Blues in Calhoun Square, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Where Seeking Franchisees: Franchisor is seeking new franchise units in the following states:
Alabama, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Mississippi, Midwest, North Carolina, Northeast, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South, South Carolina, Southeast, Southwest, Texas, Vermont, West, Washington.
Franchisor is seeking new units in Africa, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Canada, Central America, Eastern Europe, Middle East, Mexico, South America, Western Europe.
Startup Costs, Ongoing Fees and Financing
Total Investment: $636,750 – $4,239,750
Franchise Fee: $30,000 – $40,000
Ongoing Royalty Fee: 5%
Term of Franchise Agreement: 20 years, renewable
Liquid Cash Available: $500,000 – $1,000,000
84% of all franchisees own more than one unit. Number of employees needed to run franchised unit: 65. Absentee ownership of franchise is NOT allowed. (97% of current franchisees are owner/operators).
How This Franchise Supports Franchisees
Training: Available at headquarters: 35 days min.. Executive/management training at headquarters : 4 days.
Ongoing Support: Newsletter, Meetings, Toll-free phone line, Grand opening, Internet, Security/safety procedures, Field operations/evaluations, Purchasing cooperatives
Marketing Support: Co-op advertising, Ad slicks, Regional advertising,
Franchise Ranking History
Franchise 500®: #187 (2013), #212 (2012), #372 (2011), #245 (2010), #216 (2009),
America’s Top Global: #161 (2013), #166 (2012),
From Grilling in Wisconsin to 192 restaurants, and growing.
Why is Dave so darned famous?
Some 35 years ago Dave Anderson began his life’s work, seeking out and sharing the best BBQ folks had ever tasted. He painstakingly refined his rubs, sauces and slow-cooking techniques in his own kitchen. The exact same rubs, sauces and slow-cooking techniques Famous Dave’s uses today.
Somewhere along the line he got the name “Famous”. Probably because cooking everything perfectly, from scratch — like we still do — won Dave over 700 trophies.
Best BBQ Ribs
Best New Restaurant
Best Take-Out, Best BBQ Joint
One of America’s “Hottest Concepts” — Nation’s Restaurant News
Now, with 192 restaurants worldwide and a desire to bring great barbeque to even more towns, cities and countries, Dave’s looking for a few more barbeques lovers out there to partner with.
Interior of a Famous Dave’s in Mountainside, NJ
Famous Dave’s has won numerous awards in their restaurants through the years beginning in 1995, winning the “Best BBQ Sauce in America” given by the American Royal Barbecue Contest and the “Best BBQ Joint” given by St. Paul magazine. The chain continued to win over 500 awards across the nation, from “Best BBQ ribs” over 50 times to awards like “Best Salad" (Crispy Chicken Jumpoff), “Best Music” or “Best Desserts.” Most recently, Famous Dave’s has won the famous Silver Plate award that is given to “foodservice operators who epitomize the best of class.”
Famous Dave’s catering truck, Westland, Michigan
Dave Anderson has also worked as a philanthropist, helping many struggling businesses back on to their feet before starting Famous Dave’s in 1994. In 1982, Dave put together a team responsible for turning around the Lac Courte Oreilles Chippewa Reservation’s economy as part of an effort to improve Indian reservations’ struggling economies. For the next couple of years, Dave took part in councils and teams looking to improve Wisconsin’s tourism and small businesses. In 1986, Dave earned a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Harvard University, without earning an undergraduate degree. In 1994, Dave helped found Rainforest Café, a theme restaurant chain, and finally in October 1994, Dave Anderson pursued his lifelong passion and opened the first Famous Dave’s in Hayward, Wisconsin.