In some ways, barbecue is perfect for fast food. The meat is cooked ahead. The sides can be handled at a steam table. Bojangles has been successful serving Southern Fried Chicken and sides for years. A higher percentage of meals is being served in fast food restaurants everyday. NC bbq is missing out on this tresnd. Why is there no NC barbecue fast food chain?
BBQ Ribs & More was a small but growing chain of barbecue fast food restaurants. As described elsewhere, it was a victim of its own success. The chain was acquired by a restaurant management company, who decided that NC bbq did not fit into their network and closed down the chain. One restaurant was sold to the local franchisee. It continues to sell decent NC barbecue to this day. The meat there stands up to the best barbecue joints.
Now, Dickey's has come to Central North Carolina. Dickey's uses the classic fast food formula to sell less than exciting Texas style beef brisket, ribs and pulled pork. The meat there cannot stand up to authenic Texan barbecue, much less to North Carolina bbq. How can this survive in NC when a true NC fast food chain could not.
Looking at the two chains, the difference appears to be the size and nature of their home markets. Texas barbecue draws from all of Texas. NC bbq draws just from NC. Even then, the barbecue wars have divided the market even more. Differences in Texas barbecue are accepted as variations in the whole, not as dividers into competing styles. It is hard to create a mass market for what is a niche product.
Until somebody figures out a way to do NC bbq fast food right, we have NC bbq lovers opening restaurants out of area and/or ordering NC bbq shipped.