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Nation's Restaurant News 2019 Power List

Published: 24 Jan 2019
Nation's Restaurant News 2019 Power List

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Laura Rea Dickey, CEO, Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc.

Laura Rea Dickey has overlaid marketing and technology onto old-fashioned barbecue at Dallas-based Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants Inc.

After eight years as chief information officer of the family-owned franchise business, Dickey took the helm of Dickey’s during a reorganization in January 2017. Her husband, Roland Dickey Jr., became CEO of the newly created Dickey’s Capital Group Inc. and she succeeded him at Dickey’s Barbecue Restaurants after working with technology, marketing and training.

Before Dickey’s Barbecue, she worked for marketing agencies with such hospitality clients as W Hotels and restaurant brands like Blue Mesa Grill, Chick-fil-A and La Madeleine French Bakery & Café.

“Dickey’s specialty is the intersection of technology and marketing, turning data insights into brand and business solutions,” the company says. And under her leadership, Dickey has helped take the brand founded by Travis Dickey in 1941 and adapted it for 2019.

“We have a new open-kitchen design in new stores,” Dickey said at a May NRN roundtable in Chicago, “and we’re doing a retrofit project” to bring the pit-master experience to the customer.

While regional barbecue has faced some growth hurdles, the fast-casual Dickey’s has expanded worldwide and now includes 500 locations in 44 states.