Not only is Shawn Walchef the owner of the award-winning Cali Comfort BBQ and the larger Cali BBQ Media, he is also the man who beat us to naming a podcast “Digital Hospitality” – a video podcast that he has hosted since 2017.
As a pioneer in the digital restaurant space, Shawn brought expertise and insight to this episode of Give an Ovation where he and Zack talk ghost kitchens, digital content, Ovation, and more. Here’s our 5 main takeaways from their conversation:
1. Try New Things
Often the key to standing out online is convincing a single gatekeeper at a media company to give you a shot. And if you can understand the wants and needs of those gatekeepers you’ll have better success.
For example, rather than simply buying a radio spot, Cali BBQ invited a radio host to do their entire show from one of their restaurants. It led to organic conversation about Cali and an interesting show for the host.
2. Just Like BBQ, It’s Low And Slow
Shawn has built quite the online presence but it didn’t happen quickly or all at once. It not only took consistency over time, but Shawn has drawn connections through his effective story telling. That’s what resonates with listeners, and “you never know who’s listening”.
3. Online Or Offline, It’s About The Customer
As Shawn said, there’s a “blending” happening between online and offline right now with the intersection meeting on the smartphone. It’s a revenue-driving machine in your customers’ pockets.
4. Build A Friendly Ghost Kitchen
Shawn called the current day the “gold rush of Ghost kitchens” because you can multiply the value of your brand at the fraction of the cost of opening a regular restaurant.
However, he also warned of restaurant’s not putting the same heart and story into their ghost kitchens that they do with their regular brands. So like Casper, he encourages playing an active role in the communities that surround your virtual concept by building what he calls a “friendly ghost kitchen”. 👻
5. Lead With Love
“Leading with understanding is always going to be a winning formula,” said Shawn.