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Barbecue biz finding sweet spot in catering

By: Art Garcia, Telegraph Correspondent
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Shop Talk

What: Dickey’s Barbecue Pit

Where: 1016 Riley Street, Suite, 4, Folsom

What: Texas-style barbecue

Phone: (916) 550-9525

Online: email:

; www.dickeys.com

FOLSOM, CA - Ray Snook’s job is the pits, barbecue pits, that is. He’s owner of Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in Folsom, where business is said to be strong, despite the restaurant’s location.

“We’re in the front of the Walmart Center, in among a lot of trees,” he said, but that hasn’t stopped customers from finding the Texas-style barbecue diner.

“Business has been real good,” said Snook, 54, a former software manager for a Sacramento company who later worked in real estate before buying into the Dallas-based Dickey’s franchise of 290 restaurants around the country.

Other local area Dickey’s are in Sacramento, Roseville, Elk Grove and one that recently opened in Natomas.

The native of England who moved to the states 10 years ago said his store had an “amazing summer” last year and he’s looking for more of the same this summer.

“April over March this year was up more than 20 percent. The trend shows we’re getting to be well known and that people are coming to us for catering. The trend is we’re going to do really well in May too,” Snook said.

The Dickey’s chain has been a family run business since 1941.

The Folsom store has maximum seating capacity of 67 and has 12 employees, including Snook’s daughter, Grace, who’s general manager. His son, Joel, is 21 and works on the line as a server.

The restaurant does a heavy catering business for local large companies, as well as birthday parties and other special occasions, up to 500 people.

Individual orders can be placed online by going to www.dickeys.com, then to “locations.” Menu prices vary from location to location. Orders can be placed by phone or via email.

“Really popular” servings are rib plates, which are priced at Snook’s store at $12.95, and a “big” barbecue sandwich that goes for $5.75. He said the average check is about $10 per person.

Kids, or Little Wranglers as they’re called at Dickey’s, eat free when with adults on Sundays.

No hot drinks are served but iced tea and soft drinks are available.

Snook lives in Roseville with Ann, his wife of 27 years.

“I like being in Folsom,” he said. “We support Historic Folsom. It’s important to me to be part of the community. We want to support people with fund-raisers, support schools and charity events. It’s very important to us.”