135 episodes

Digital Hospitality is a weekly podcast that helps business owners develop a mobile-first Internet strategy by sharing stories of innovative brands and personalities who are outranking the competition in search results.

No one said running a business was easy. Let Digital Hospitality be your guide.

The Digital Hospitality podcast and video series features in-depth — and uncensored — conversations with digital entrepreneurs, media personalities, online celebrities, and much more.

Shawn Walchef is the host of Digital Hospitality and owner of the Cali BBQ restaurant and sports bar in Spring Valley, near San Diego.

Follow along across multiple online platforms: podcast players, social media, and on CaliBBQ.Media. Subscribe online wherever you enjoy digital content. www.calibbq.media

Digital Hospitality: A Cali BBQ Media Podcast Shawn P. Walchef

    • Marketing
    • 4.7, 79 Ratings

Digital Hospitality is a weekly podcast that helps business owners develop a mobile-first Internet strategy by sharing stories of innovative brands and personalities who are outranking the competition in search results.

No one said running a business was easy. Let Digital Hospitality be your guide.

The Digital Hospitality podcast and video series features in-depth — and uncensored — conversations with digital entrepreneurs, media personalities, online celebrities, and much more.

Shawn Walchef is the host of Digital Hospitality and owner of the Cali BBQ restaurant and sports bar in Spring Valley, near San Diego.

Follow along across multiple online platforms: podcast players, social media, and on CaliBBQ.Media. Subscribe online wherever you enjoy digital content. www.calibbq.media

    Alcohol To Go Has Helped Restaurants Survive | Alcoholic Beverage Control California Regulatory Relief | DH035

    Alcohol To Go Has Helped Restaurants Survive | Alcoholic Beverage Control California Regulatory Relief | DH035

    There’s no question about it: alcohol to go sales have helped restaurants survive the COVID-19 crisis.

    Booze, Beer and other alcohol takeout options have been a lifeline for our Cali BBQ restaurant and others in California.

    That salvation was thanks to regulatory relief from the state Alcoholic Beverage Control agency which, among other changes, has allowed certain licensees to sell sealed alcohol to go containers with food orders.

    Our Cali BBQ Craft Cocktails and Beer Growlers To Go have been a huge hit with our guests. When we had our popular Tiger King Growler, some people even dressed up like characters from the Netflix documentary to pick theirs up.

    Being able to continue selling alcohol during the coronavirus pandemic has helped us retain many of our amazing staff members during an incredibly difficult time for the restaurant business.

    But the lifeline is still temporary. If the people of California want establishments like Cali BBQ to be able to continue selling alcohol to go with food, then it’ll take a legislative push to permanently change the law.

    “I think everybody’s had to adjust,” California Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesperson John Carr said about the COVID-19 pandemic and public safety related shutdown orders on our Digital Hospitality podcast. “This has been unbelievable, I mean, we all had this just dropped on us and then we had to immediately ask ourselves, what can I do? What can I do to serve my community in the best way possible? How can I do it safely?”

    “Because all of us want to see people get back to work. We want to see businesses reopen. It’s just that we have to make sure that we’re all cognizant and doing everything we can to keep people from getting this terrible disease that spreads. And there’s no vaccine yet. So we have to do all these things to keep people safe.”

    “It’s definitely been a huge challenge,” he added. “And I know it’s been a huge challenge to the hospitality industry. You’ve felt it by like a tidal wave.”


    Booze To Go In the US:

    Restaurant owners and others involved in food and drink service have been making concerted efforts to change their states’ respective laws.

    For some restaurants, being able to sell cocktails, beer, wine, and other drinks to go and for delivery, has helped them stay in business. If that were to suddenly change back to how it was before the regulations were rolled back, it could mean disaster for some who now rely on drink sales to stay afloat.

    Cocktails and alcoholic drinks to go have helped struggling business all over the country.

    In a May 5, 2020 Eater article by Jaya Saxena called “It’s Maybe Time to Make To-Go Cocktails Legal” the influential online publication raised an important question: Why hasn’t it been like this the whole time?

    And why can’t we continue allowing people to pick up alcoholic drinks to go with food indefinitely.

    “It seems to be working quite well, both for businesses and customers; businesses get to offload more product at a time when every penny counts, and customers get to enjoy mixologist-quality cocktails at home,” the Eater article states. “And it raises the question of why the hell it hasn’t been like this the whole time.

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    • 27 min
    The Digital Future of Local News | Tabitha Lipkin NBCLX | DH034

    The Digital Future of Local News | Tabitha Lipkin NBCLX | DH034

    Tabitha Lipkin was raised in Texarkana, but over the course of the last decade San Diego has made her their own.

    Taking a leap of faith, Tabitha Lipkin decided to return to the Lone Star State for her next big break in media and perhaps the next big thing in the industry as a host on the new NBCLX digital network.

    She gives all the credit to the San Diego community and FOX5 for making it all possible.

    “FOX5 was great, anyone whoever asks me knows I’m going to sing their praises,” says Tabitha Lipkin about working for FOX 5 San Diego during her Digital Hospitality podcast interview.

    “(FOX5) was a place that gave me a lot of opportunity and allowed me to launch my career. I was accepted immediately by that team.”

    Picked up by FOX5 in the twilight of her previous station, CW 6 San Diego, the team at the local FOX syndicate allowed Tabitha Lipkin to spread her wings and make the most out of her curiosity and work ethic.

    “They let me do weather, anchor, feature work and sports,” Tabitha Lipkin recalls about her time at the San Diego news network. “It was because it was what I wanted and that’s not a common thing. Most people don’t get to do everything when they go somewhere.”

    Leaving her FOX 5 job will be hard.

    “I love what I do,” Tabitha reflects on FOX5. “I never felt like I was working even though I was getting paid. Everyone at FOX5 has been a mentor to me, and that’s not a cop-out answer that’s true.”

    Leaving the city of San Diego will be even harder.

    “I love everything about this city,” Tabitha Lipkin says to Shawn Walchef on Digital Hospitality, her second appearance on Shawn’s podcast. “I love everything about the people here. I never wanted to leave San Diego and FOX5 and I still don’t want to, but there’s a time in our career where if you want to take the next step you have to take the next step.”


    The Next Big Step:

    So, what’s that next big step for Tabitha Lipkin’s career?

    “NBCLX,” Tabitha says proudly of her new job. “It’s the next NBC network.”

    Going digital first and appealing to a younger generation who consumes media differently, Dallas-based NBCLX has hired talent from all over the country. Tabitha Lipkin looks forward to the challenge.

    “NBC wants to find out the formula to reinvent TV and media for my generation and the generations above me and below,” Tabitha says about the new NBCLX Digital Network. “That’s a big undertaking and there’s not a simple answer to that.

    “When I went out to audition and interview, I met with the team and I saw a lot of ambition and hope. I felt like they were going to figure it out and I wanted to be a part of it.”

    The LX in NBCLX stands for Local X.

    Tabitha Lipkin and her new NBCLX team are looking to tell stories to and about local communities with the speed and reach of modern platforms.

    • 37 min
    Casey Adams | Rise of the Young | DH033

    Casey Adams | Rise of the Young | DH033

    What do Larry King, Tilman Fertitta, Rick Ross, Chris Voss all have in common? For starters, they’re all very successful. Secondly, they’ve all be interviewed by a 19-year-old from Virginia.

    That talented teen entrepreneur? Casey Adams.

    Casey Adam has amassed 219k Instagram followers, created a Top 50 podcast, and interviewed heavyweights in media, business and entrepreneurship. All before his 20th Birthday. https://www.caseyadams.com


    His success didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen online.

    “Looking back, social media has opened up every door of opportunity,” reflects Casey Adam on an episode of the Digital Hospitality podcast. “One of the early ‘oh shit moments’ on social media was when I reached out to Ty Lopez.

    “He was someone who I looked up to and I was in his programs. After I spoke at this event, I sent him a DM to say, ‘thank you.’ From that DM two weeks later, he was flying me and my mom out to Los Angeles to meet him. To see that a digital gesture led me to getting flow out to LA? This is crazy, let’s keep doing this.”


    A decade back, many considered social media and the internet a separate world from reality. In 2020, the young see no barriers.

    Knowing how to best use social media is especially important for businesses.

    “If you don’t have a presence on social media as a brand, are you even a brand?” Casey Adams questions.

    “If I can’t go on social media and look up your brand it’s not that you’re not relevant, it’s like you don’t even exist. There’s a level of communication for businesses that can happen on social and it’s super important that people adopt it. For anyone that hasn’t bought into it fully they’re going to be left behind.”

    Casey Adams knows that sometimes you’re just one DM away from your dreams.


    Rise of the Young:

    At 19-years-old, Casey Adams is busy building his own brand to new heights in Scottsdale, AZ with a team of young creatives. At 15, things were much different.

    “When I was 15 years old, I was almost paralyzed playing football,” Casey recalls. “I was in a neck brace for a little over six months and that’s where I really started to dive into personal development, learning more about social media, and building a personal brand. I started to document my journal as an individual to build a personal brand. Long story short, that negative situation opened me up to a new opportunity and I fell in love with it. Four years later it’s led me to podcasting and I’ve found my voice.”

    Recreating a new identity at any age is tough, let alone amidst the insecurities of being a high schooler and the trauma of a life-altering injury. Turning a negative into a positive, Casey dove into his new passion of media and even published his own book on the experience when he was still a student.


    “When I first wrote the book, I was just building a brand,” says Casey Adams to Digital Hospitality podcast host Shawn Walchef. “I looked at it as just another piece of content and I wrote about turning your negative situation into a positive outcome.”

    The book didn’t make any nationwide best-sellers lists, but it did make a huge impact locally.

    “Now, every single semester at my high school they give out the book to the students!”

    Rightfully so. The book was designed for the kids who needed it most.

    “I wrote it for the young individual that’s lost hope and gone through anything that’s changed their focus.

    • 46 min
    Humans are the Heart of Technology | Qu Beyond POS | DH032

    Humans are the Heart of Technology | Qu Beyond POS | DH032

    Your cellphone: the portal to people, information, and food. Amidst the COVID-19 crisis, cellphones have become the go-to place for to-go orders due to social distancing.

    Ordering online is not just the now, it’s the future.

    The team of innovators at Qu Beyond POS are reimagining point of sale technology. They know digital dining as more than just a buzzing trend.

    “You have so many brands that are emerging as partly digital or completely digital,” said account Qu Beyond account executive Cristal Ghitman on this episode of Digital Hospitality. “In order to facilitate that, you need technology that enables that.”

    Existing online as a restaurant is exactly what Qu Beyond is enabling. Offering technology that connects restaurants to customers in smooth fashion with extreme integrity, Qu Beyond is changing the game.

    “Point of sale is no longer the cashier at the counter,” Cristal said. “It’s really about having a platform that allows you to take payment and lets you maintain your brand over multiple channels. What I found so incredibly compelling about Qu is that we’re reimagining the way that point of sale interacts with transactions and customers in our space and it’s really different.”

    The Heart of Tech

    Automated ordering and third-party delivery technology can come off as more automated and less personal. At Qu Beyond, they realize it doesn’t have to be that way.

    “We’re incredibly human,” Cristal notes of the Qu Beyond team. “My executive leadership is some of the smartest I’ve ever seen in the business. We have hardcore restaurant DNA and hardcore tech DNA. We’re on a pilgrimage at Qu. Our team is thoughtful, smart, disruptive and not looking to do things that have already been done. But at the end of their day they’re human.”

    “The way they’re giving back to first responders during this crisis? I could not be prouder to work for this company.”

    So, just how is Qu Beyond giving back in this time of need? It started with tough questions and it led to smart solutions.

    “A few weeks ago, the crisis hit, and sales stopped. I think we all had a hard stop and asked, ‘What can we do to get through the next few weeks and what can we do in the long term to respond to the changing needs of the business?’” Cristal says. “We looked at our technology and realized we have this incredibly nimble, agile, easy to use technology. We developed free online ordering for companies and brands who do not have it.”

    But it didn’t stop there.

    “The second thing we wanted to do was bridge driving revenue to restaurants and helping the first responders who are near and dear to everyone’s hearts right now,” Cristal shares. “We saw so many restaurants that were digging into their own pockets to donate food even when they were suffering. But then, there’s so many people out there who want to help. So, we developed Feed the First Responders as a humanitarian effort to connect restaurants with organizations that are first responders so people like myself can go onto our website, place an order and choose which first responders we want that meal sent to. All their cafeterias are closed, their working 18-hour days and these guys just want food. They’re so, so appreciative.”

    Want to get in on feeding the first responders? Visit https://www.qubeyond.com/feedthefirstresponders and get involved.

    “The more the merrier to anyone who is listening to this podcast! We are very open to bringing as many brands on as possible and feeding as many first responders as possible! Our technology is fast, and I think we can get brands on in less than 72 hours.”

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    • 45 min
    Lucha Cantina | The Growth of Online Ordering | DH031

    Lucha Cantina | The Growth of Online Ordering | DH031

    Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Joshua Binning’s Lucha Cantina restaurant, staff and community have all seen life turned upside down.

    Operating in Rockford, Illinois, a town of less than 150,000 residents, the restaurant owner has a pulse on the people and a relationship with the government. Because of this, Joshua Binning linked with community leaders and industry peers to discussion solutions to the dire times.

    Joshua Binning is not afraid to share his feelings. He’s also not afraid to share his ideas.

    “Rockford isn’t a huge town, so we all kind of know each other,” says Joshua Binning on Cali BBQ Media’s Digital Hospitality podcast. “Because of relationships we’ve built in the past, the mayor reached out to us and five other restaurant owners on Zoom for input. That’s the type of stuff you can’t put a price on. We’ve worked a long time to have that voice now and it’s really nice to have it.”

    That voice may be heard by local officials, but it’s felt by local residents. Active on social media with a variety of content on a plethora of online platforms, Joshua keeps it real with his customers because he realizes community is built on honesty.

    “It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to be transparent with your guests,” notes Joshua to Digital Hospitality host Shawn Walchef. “I think the customer appreciates that honesty. My guests aren’t just giving me money right now, they’re giving us emotional support.”

    “Being transparent and asking them for that grace is appreciated because they want us to grant them grace for showing up in pajama pants!”

    During the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, Joshua saw both sides of that when the loyal lovers of Lucha Cantina all came piling into the restaurant at once.

    “When the stimulus checks came out so did twice the amount of our customers,” says Joshua Binning. “Our customers had to wait twice as long to get their food and it was embarrassing.”

    A problem? Maybe. An opportunity? Definitely.

    “We had forty cars out there waiting, so I went window to window to talk to our customers and have the conversation.”

    A day some would call a loss, Joshua looks at as a lesson.

    “This is the best time ever to be front and center,” Joshua says in regard to connecting with customers both curbside and online. “Get your face out there so when you mess up you can be right there to take it on the chin right in front of your guests.”

    Staying Social Online:

    These days, Joshua Binning and his restaurant staff aren’t seeing their regular customers day-in and day-out or face-to-face like they once did.

    Still, the restaurant owner is putting in the effort on Lucha Cantina’s social channels to keep the community and the buzz alive.

    “I want to be able to tell the story of right now,” Joshua Binning says. “I don’t want to miss the opportunity to grab those moments.”

    So, how would Joshua recommend winning on social media both now and in the future?

    Joshua Binning’s tips to social media success for your restaurant:

    * Create – It’s that easy! Joshua tells us that putting something out there is better than nothing and that it will always improve. Perfect is the enemy of done, get to posting.

    * Make It Mobile Friendly – People are on cell phones more than ever. Joshua notes that even 75% of his website’s traffic comes from a mobile device. Make sure your website and channels are all mobile friendly.

    * Stop the Scroll – We can all mindlessly like posts, but what type of connection does that build? Joshua is rolling out video on different platforms to stop the scroll and convey experience with his guests.

    * Don’t Oversell – Hate clickbait and endless promos? So do your followers. Every post doesn’t have to be attached to selling something, it’s often much better if it’s not.

    • 1 hr 13 min
    The Real Lisa Ann | Social Media is the Dating App of Life | DH030

    The Real Lisa Ann | Social Media is the Dating App of Life | DH030

    Lisa Ann is a self-made star, who triumphed by investing in herself and her future. And her amazing story is still being written.

    The Fantasy Sports expert and entertainer is by all accounts, and most modern metrics, the G.O.A.T. of the adult film industry. Ironically enough, when Lisa Ann’s adult business career began, most accounts and most metrics didn’t exist.

    “When I got into the adult business in the early ‘90s, there was no internet,” remembers Lisa Ann on this episode of the Digital Hospitality podcast.

    “I wanted to have a fan club so I could market my feature bookings. I remember going to my friends and saying, ‘I’m buying a computer and I’m taking a night-class at Golden West College to learn how to use PrintShop.’”

    Always with a vision and always in looking to take creative control of her image, Lisa Ann learned all she could about computers and graphic design as possible in an effort to better connect with her fans.

    In the ‘90s, that was by conventional mail.

    “I had this idea of what a newsletter should look like,” Lisa Ann recalls. “The heading, the images, the tour dates – I had a vision from band flyers that I had seen. So here I was, the second Tuesday of every month going to Kinkos, printing them out – which wasn’t cheap – then I’d mail them and make sure the stamps were right for each different country.”

    Lisa Ann was not just doing the work on the road to make appearances and dance, she was looking to develop a relationship with her fans that would last many years and now many careers.

    “When you’ve taken that many steps to connect to your audience in the past then the internet is a breeze!”

    In only a matter of time, she’d prove exactly that.

    Lisa Ann Goes Social:

    From her teenage years to the present day, Lisa Ann has always been a learner and a grinder. Taking classes and catching flights, the hard work in the ‘90s paved the way for the digital dominance she’d soon harness.

    “Me going strip club to strip club and Sexpo to Sexpo was like my grassroots campaign to build this community that I can reach out to!” laughs Lisa Ann.

    In the mid 2000s, Lisa Ann was an early adopter to social media and as expected quite sharp from the get-go.

    “When social media first started, some people jumped all in. Those of us that did realized the demands, but we established our patterns and knew when we had to work on things.”

    Not only did she understand the personalized power of reaching out, responding to fans and building relationships, she realized the ROI for everything from bookings to books when using social.

    “It’s cheaper than advertising,” notes Lisa Ann. “Even though you’re spending money to create content, now you have this ability to get out there, have reach and build a personal connection.”

    While Lisa Ann is active both IRL and URL, the latter allows her to get to better know her audience, potential business partners and even future friends.

    “It’s like the dating app of life!” Lisa Ann points out about social media. “You might not be hooking up with these people, but you want to see what this person is like when they’re out and about, and what they look to do in their free time. All of that builds connections where you never forget that person.”

    However, creating all that content and managing all those relationships sounds exhausting, right?

    Well it can be. Luckily for Lisa Ann, over a decade of doing her own content digitally and much more time spent putting in the work in grassroots fashion now has her in a flow.

    “Once it becomes rhythmic, it takes maybe an extra 20 minutes and it provides a lot of value,” she says in regard to creating content for social media.

    This content can range from updating her Instagram stories with videos to engaging with fans via...

    • 55 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
79 Ratings

79 Ratings

Writer_DavidP ,

Great Podcast

The host is amazing. Great content.

BestMorningRoutineEver ,


Great show. Amazing content, insightful guest and the host does a great job giving listeners actionable items to apply immediately!

Cant say my name ,


So, I just left Costco end it felt like a transaction. So, I let the managers know that that’s not cool. And that we need to all practice hospitality. They were accepting of my constructive criticism. Behind The Smoke travels with me wherever I go. Conversely, just left Valley Farm Market and had the opposite experience. Thank you guys.

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