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Dirty Dough with Bennett Maxwell, Chairman, feature #113 of Together Talks

Updated: 1 day ago

"Together Talks" feature #113: Bennett Maxwell presented by KLS, freight company

Some Background on Bennett Maxwell

For today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the chance to interview Bennett Maxwell, Chairman, of Dirty Dough. From dorm room kitchen in Tempe, AZ to franchise locations spreading across the United States, Dirty Dough has been founded on a simple idea—


It’s what’s on the inside that counts!

They’re bringing one-of-a-kind cookies to the masses, and helping entrepreneurs find passion and success.


The other guys can focus on making cutesy, clean cookies that look better than they taste. Dirty Dough sells cookies for real life, which can get a little messy. But, it sure is sweet! Dirty Dough cookies are engineered from the inside out, with every cookie featuring some combination of layers, mix-ins, or filling within the dough.


Dirty Dough strives to be a relatable, real-life brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously. Their tagline, “Proudly unique, inside and out”, refers to both their cookies and their people.


They aren’t worried about filters or getting the frosting just right.

They are all about substance and authentic goodness.

2020 Purchase

The beginning of Dirty Dough began in 2018. A classmate from high school of Bennett's saw the cookie craze going on in Utah. At the time there wasn't expansion into Arizona. His and his wife began making cookies in their apartment, posting on Facebook, and would sell out most nights. They had the idea to expand to a store front. At the end of 2020, Tempe, AZ was the first location for Dirty Dough. Bennett had approached his friend about franchising, but instead he was told they were looking to sell. Bennett jumped at the opportunity.

While Bennett believed in the franchising model, he told us he was cautious of the longevity of the brand as it is a very cyclical industry. He explained, "Consumers go through phases and the current craze then it fades out. I wanted to explore what companies in our industry had staying power. I found two." Mrs. Fields and Great American Cookie Company. Both started in 1977. They had one common thread, they used centralized production model.

Bennett had found his first differentiator.

He spent their time crafting their vision by focusing on unique cookies and highlighting on the "dirty" side. Bennett and his team made an incredible connection by also focusing heavily on mental health within all of their locations combining one of their biggest messages, "What is on the inside matters most". He told us it relates to life and their delicious cookies.

Machine Production

When he first took, the operations involved a training class called, "ballers". A team member would stand for over 6 hours hand rolling every cookie. Bennett admitted it was hard to maintain those employees. He immediately transitioned to the centralized production model. While the competition have team members doing everything by hand, Dirty Dough is by machine. Bennet explained that this came at a cost. "Before our first franchise opened we were 2 million into it." But he saw the potential and differentiating possibility.

Their cookies are all stuffed and sometimes 3 layers, which can't be done by hand at mass quantity. No other company is able to replicate what they are offering. The centralized production model allows the company to add new products with no costs to the franchise because the infrastructure is already in place for the franchise owners. When it comes to new products, Bennett said the team is open to additional products for their consumer base.

He shared they are expanding into edible cookie dough. Some stores have sodas now which are gaining in popularity, along with coffee and even ice cream sandwiches. It all comes back to their centralized model, everything fits within their current ingredients or machinery to easily be implemented by their franchise owners. One aspect that is very unique is that Dirty Dough uses their day old cookies to make their Cookie Shakes, which is a warm cookie with ice cream on top.

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Quick Growth

Prior to opening their second store they had to deal with a lawsuit. Bennett said while it was a challenge, it ultimately propelled them forward. In 2022, they opened their first store and ended the year with seven stores. As of today they have 64 stores with 13 food trucks. Bennett credits their support of franchisees and their production facility. "We have taken headache out from running the franchise which has allowed us to keep up with fast growth.", Bennett explained.

He shared that the goal was to open 30 stores in 5 years, they hit that within a year. Jokingly, he always told himself what became a lie, "Everything will be better in 6 months", however that rarely is the case. However a goal that Bennett is incredible proud of is being able to reduce the cost of cookies to the franchisees by 20% within the first year and he said they are on track to reduce them another 10% in the near future.

The company is hoping to add another 65-75 stores with 45 leases already signed. Bennett credited the management company they brought on which is responsible for additional 10 other brands as helping them with their continued expansion. This paired with the advisors of the company are such a huge advantage for Dirty Dough. He continued about his lesson learned regarding advisors. "I took a startup course at Lehigh and learned about having advisors. I was under the impression in order to have a board you needed to pay them or hire them. But in selling them on your vision and finding members that align with that vision you can build a board by offering small amounts of equity in the company. This has been a game changer for us.", Bennet shared.

Running this company without and food or franchise experience, he realized the importance of having support around him who did have experience. In 2021 they hired their CEO, Jill Summerhays, who brings over 40 years of experience in the industry. Their continued growth and bringing on those to help grow the vision is what Bennett believes will give them the staying power he was so cautious about prior to buying the company.

Mission Statement

Being a few years into this endeavor, Bennett said he is most grateful for the community. He credited especially those in Utah, where he resides, he has been introduced and connected to masterminds. What is most impressive to him is how willing people are to help, constantly asking what he is working on (the answer is typically raising capital) and trying to make introductions. This way of giving back and helping has left a huge imprint on him as it correlates to what the company tries to push with their values. Bennett also shared that whenever he can fit something into his schedule, he always tries to return the favor by offering his time and knowledge to those seeking it.

While there have been many wins and celebrations for the company, we asked Bennett to share a mistake made by the company and what he learned from it. "We hired an individual to jumpstart our CPG/Wholesale side. His experience on the resume was incredible, essentially gave him the keys to the car without checking in. A year later we were out $300,000, with zero sales, and had to scale back the entire project." He immediately dissected what went wrong and realized he needed to dig much deeper to fully understand a candidate and what they brought to Dirty Dough specifically. Bennett continued, "We now understand the importance of cultural fit over paper fit. Being a CEO of a $100M company is vastly different than operating within a startup."

Reflecting back on his journey we inquired Bennett to share what he is most proud of and he told us how he changed his life around by reevaluating what mattered most. "6 months into buying Dirty Dough I still had my other venture, ultimately I sold that. All along I thought if I became a millionaire everything would be perfect, but that didn't last. The body goes back to normal levels of happiness." Bennet said he needed to reevaluate everything. He was 310 pounds at the time, he was barely spending time with his family because he was working so much. He sat down to dig in to himself and how he could change for the better. "I saw a therapist and focused on breaking the cycle. I lasered in on what my core values truly were. I created a mission statement for myself and my life. The coolest part is that become what is today's mission statement for Dirty Dough. 'Finding joy and fulfillment despite the dirtiness in yourself and others'. I understood I can't wait for life to be perfect. On all of the most difficult days I come back to how fulfilling it is that I and our company are embodying this mission statement.", Bennett concluded.

Piece of Advice

The conversation with Bennett ended with him sharing his piece of advice: "Know what your perfect life looks like if you have all the money in the world, what would you do? And figure out what is stopping you, and go after it."

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In Closing

KLS wants to thank Dirty Dough and Bennett Maxwell, Chairman, for today's "Together Talks" feature. Follow along for their journey with their social handles below!

Together Talks with Dirty Dough feature #113 - presented by KLS, Klimson Logistics Solutions, freight company

Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Dirty Dough feature #113

*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!

Why KLS?

Our precise and reliable effort.

We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.

Our Process?

Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.

Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.

The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.

Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.


You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.

For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.

This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.

Services offered?

Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.

Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth

LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).

Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.

FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.

Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution

What makes KLS different?

There are thousands of freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.

Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.

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