Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

The University of San Diego graduate, Shawn Walchef, opened Cali Comfort BBQ in 2008. Since then, the Walchef family has incorporated the Bulgarian tradition of hospitality into every facet of the Cali BBQ business, from hosting cooking competitions, to publishing podcasts, to catering events of all sizes.

Yes, you heard me say publishing podcasts.

On top of being recognized as one of the best places to get BBQ in Southern California, if not THE BEST place, Walchef is the founder of Digital Hospitality where he guides fellow restaurateurs via video and audio content, through an ever-evolving digital world.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

  • "If we can't tag you, we can't pimp you."

In today's episode with Shawn Walchef we will discuss:

  • Social media
  • Trying to be the best
  • Collaboration
  • Being a parent
  • Branding
  • You have to be willing to live your brand
  • Being at odds with your partners
  • Embrace your community
  • Yelp and how to utilize sites like it
  • Embracing events
  • Finding a crew that can execute better than you
  • The best, most efficient way to show sports events at your restaurant/bar
  • Always learn, always evolve
  • Promoting
  • Instagram-worthy food
  • Best social media practices

Today's sponsor:

BentoBox empowers restaurants to own their presence, profits and relationships. The hospitality platform disrupts third-party services that come between the restaurant and the guest. BentoBox puts the restaurant first and offers tools that drive high-margin revenue directly through the restaurant’s website. BentoBox is trusted and loved by over 5,000 restaurants worldwide including Union Square Hospitality Group, Eleven Madison Park, Gramercy Tavern, Lilia and more.

Restaurant365 is a cloud-based, all-in-one, restaurant-specific accounting and back-office platform that seamlessly integrates with POS systems, payroll providers, food and beverage vendors. It generates accurate real-time reporting and analysis in user-friendly dashboards, facilitating immediate, data-driven decision making. Restaurant365 eliminates manual, error-prone processes and is designed to help restaurant businesses grow with functionality that helps optimize labor costs, reduce food costs and increase revenue.

Wisetail’s user-friendly platform focuses on engaging, growing, and empowering your workforce while enabling your culture to thrive in multi-site businesses. It is easily configurable to an organization's brand and technical specifications. In addition, Wisetail provides a social community for their customers to share best practices and continuously improve the learning experience.

Knowledge bombs

  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Curiosity
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Financial accountability
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview?
    • Heart
  4. What's a current challenge? How are you dealing with it?
    • Life is just a series of positive challenges
  5. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Make memorable moments
  6. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • It's our job to engineer memorable moments, make the story extend beyond our four walls
  7. What's one book we must read to become a better person or restaurant owner?
  8. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • Promoting themselves
  9. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
  10. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    • Get involved
    • Stay curious
    • Lead with love

Contact info:



Twitter: @CaliBBQMedia

Instagram: @calibbq

Facebook: @CaliComfortBBQ

Check out Shawn's podcast here: Digital Hospitality: a Cali BBQ Media Podcast

Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

If you enjoyed this episode, please share it using the social media buttons you see at the top of the post.

Also, please leave an honest review for the Restaurant Unstoppable Podcast on iTunes! Ratings and reviews are extremely helpful and greatly appreciated! They do matter in the rankings of the show, and I read each and every one of them.

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the show on iTunes to get automatic updates.

Huge thanks to Shawn Walchef for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


Restaurant Unstoppable is a free podcast. One of the ways I'm able to make it free is by earning a commission when sharing certain products with you. I've made it a core value to only share tools, resources, and services my guest mentors have recommend, first. If you're finding value in my podcast, please use my links!
Direct download: 675_Shawn_Walchef_mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:05am EDT