Josh Kopel | Award Winning Restaurant Consultant

Restaurant Funding: Shawn Walchef Transforms Cali Comfort BBQ into Media Company

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Restaurant Margins

Every restaurateur knows how important their digital footprint is but who has time for all of that? It’s hard to tweet when you’re backwaiting tables because your busier didn’t show up.

Then the pandemic hits and, like it or not, your entire livelihood is determined by an audience you chose not to grow online.

I found myself in the same boat and worried it was too late.

The good news is that it isn’t and Shawn Walchef of Cali Comfort BBQ is going to tell us exactly how he transformed his restaurant into a BBQ media company.

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  • The beginnings of Cali Comfort BBQ
  • 2019 achievements
  • Cali BBQ relied on digital marketing due to having a non-obvious location
  • Getting people to care about BBQ, community and craft
  • Becoming your own PR person
  • A publicist was out of budget for Cali BBQ
  • Shawn about books to learn about PR
  • Focus on finding your own voice
  • Internet has changed the way traditional business is done
  • Cali BBQ became a media company when they were struggling in 2008-09
  • Why the internet is more reliable for marketing
  • Provides actionable, measurable analytics
  • Physical ads in newspapers are not as measurable
  • Creating digital hospitality
  • Hospitality has a competitive advantage
  • Connection to customers
  • Willingness to serve
  • Having a full-time host is an example of investing in hospitality
  • Recreating this experience digitally
  • Responding to online reviews
  • Interacting no Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
  • Proactive mindset to online audience building
  • The difference between digital marketing and being a media company
  • Digital marketing is about telling your own story online
  • Media companies also tell the stories of others
  • Cali Comfort BBQ share stories within the community
  • Operators who are willing to be vulnerable online do best
  • During Covid, operators are sharing their story and struggle
  • Connecting with the community
  • The key is reframing your relationship with your smartphone
  • The pros and cons of outsourcing
  • Outsourcing enables you more time
  • You won’t learn as much if you outsource straight away
  • Shawn originally did all social media, podcast editing, and blogging in house
  • Now employs blogger and podcast producer
  • Consumer habits have changed
  • Pivoting during Covid19
  • Asking the right questions during this time
  • Your website is your #1 asset
  • Be known for what you do best
  • Book recommendation: Story Brand by Donald Miller
  • Focusses for getting started in digital marketing
  • Continuous experimentation is what got Shawn and his company to level it is today
  • Personalization of digital hospitality
  • Now is the greatest time to build digital infrastructure for the future
  • Social media is just one aspect of online marketing

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