25 Years Later, Famous Dave’s is Still the Go-To for Mouth-Watering Barbeque
25 Years Later, Famous Dave’s is Still the Go-To for Mouth-Watering Barbeque

1851 Franchise caught up with Famous Dave’s COO Geovannie Concepcion to learn how the brand has reached legacy status.

For most brands, becoming a household name is a pipe dream. For Famous Dave’s, however, it’s a reality, as is the brand’s rise to becoming synonymous with classic American barbeque.

Founded in Hayward, Wisconsin, in 1994, Famous Dave’s has seen tremendous growth over the last 25 years, reaching more than 150 locations across the country. Boasting more than 700 national and regional awards for everything from best ribs to best sauce to best cookbook, Famous Dave’s is one legacy brand to follow.

1851 Franchise connected with Famous Dave’s COO Geovannie Concepcion to learn more about Famous Dave’s rise to legacy brand status.

1851: What kind of growth and innovation has Famous Dave’s seen in the last few years?

Concepcion: Famous Dave’s found its way back to growth by embracing the need to adapt to a new set of expectations from our guests. In order to do this, we had to rethink how we operate as an organization and embrace the idea of being a startup with a long history. Fortunately for us, the evolution of consumer preferences toward really great food that’s also convenient coincided with our already-developed muscle: to-go ordering.

Another key for us was a rapid embrace of the digital shift happening in the restaurant industry. Our ability to harness technology and increase our digital sales has been key to realizing several quarters of sales growth in our company-operated restaurants. Outside of to-go and technology, we also had to focus on revitalizing the guest experience with new design, décor and branding.

All of this change has to happen while retaining a sense of what made the brand great to begin with. The only way to do that is with a committed team working toward a common purpose.  

1851: What does being a legacy brand mean to you?

Concepcion: It means that we have a special mission to protect that legacy while not becoming shackled by it. Legacy brands reach that point because they’ve proven that they possess real staying power.

For Famous Dave’s, the idea that we’ll be celebrating our 25th anniversary this year is humbling and astonishing. The important thing to remember, though, is that we must be constantly evolving because legacies become memories and we have a business that needs to work today.

1851: What advice do you have for other brands looking to grow to more than 100 units and become a household name?

Concepcion: Keep your head down, execute at an extremely high level and look for ways to give your guests an incredible experience. The rest will take care of itself.