Could you imagine Kentucky Fried Chicken without Colonel Sanders?
Of course not, and Famous Dave's without the "Dave" was something that was apparently just as unimaginable to the popular Minnesota-based BBQ chain.
The return of Dave Anderson – who founded the company in 1994 – has very little, if anything, to do with branding, though. It's actually part of a major "reorganization" that has seen an ongoing shakeup of the troubled chain's corporate leadership, according to a Friday news release.
It's not clear what Anderson's exact title will be, but interim CEO Adam Wright says the former chairman will help "rebuild our company's culture and improve our guest experience," as well as "helping us craft more of the award-winning Bar-B-Que that made us Famous."
Anderson echoed this comment, saying he's excited to be "back at the company and in an expanded role focused on re-energizing our guest’s experience."
"We are very excited to have our founder back!” Wright added.
Not so long ago, however, such a reunion seemed unlikely.
When he kicked off a new restaurant – Jimmie’s Old Southern BBQ Smokehouse – earlier this year, Anderson said that taking Famous Dave's public a few years after launching it was "the worst decision of my life," and said it was now run by Wall Street investors.
He finally left the company as its spokesman last year, because at the time, he says, "my vision did not align with the direction that was being taken by the previous management team.”
And indeed, Famous Dave's has had its share of troubles: Its CEO stepped down this past summer, less than two years after his predecessor left the job, and the company's profits tumbled this year.
In the Thursday release, the company said they are "working hard to get Famous Dave's back on track."
What about Dave's new restaurant? Anderson is quoted as saying that he will continue to be involved with the new "fast casual BBQ concept," as there is "plenty of room for the many different types of Bar-B-Que in America."