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Charlie Eblen of Single Tree BBQ on Becoming the "Nike of BBQ" The founder of Single Tree BBQ talks about building community with the perfect plate of barbecue, capturing customer data, and the power of podcasting and online storytelling.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • The Nike of Barbecue - Pulling on Nike Founder Phil Knight's initial motivation for helping others achieve their dreams, Charlie Eblen is unashamed about his mission to make Single Tree Wood Fire BBQ the "Nike of BBQ", and help grow and develop his local community.
  • The Power of Podcasting - What started off as just a BBQ food truck has turned into much more for Charlie Eblen. The Single Tree Nation Show has allowed him to sit down with other hospitality leaders and expand his reach into markets that were previously unreachable. He is turning his business into a media company.
  • Capturing Customer Data - As his business began to scale, Charlie Eblen had to make crucial decisions, including which Point of Sale technology to use. Once he made the switch to Toast, he was able to see the importance of capturing customer data and using that information smartly.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Just Do It. For Charlie Eblen, founder of Single Tree BBQ and host of Single Nation Podcast, that famous slogan is both a motto and rallying cry.

"We really believe that we can be the "Nike of Barbecue." says Charlie Eblen to Restaurant Influencers host Shawn Walchef of CaliBBQ Media.

The motivation behind that mission is not to be the top-selling BBQ restaurant and corner the market. Instead, the entrepreneur credits his push to a more noble cause; he wishes to use BBQ to impact the community.

Eblen has turned to technology to increase his digital hospitality. Taking steps, like implementing an upgraded POS system, is done with the customer in mind.

"We went with Toast to be able to start doing stuff like having a loyalty program," says Eblen of the change. "Being able to tell our loyal fans of Single Tree Barbecue that we're opening a brick and mortar, that we're going to partner with Heroes Den (a local live music restaurant in Murfreesboro, TN) and we're going to have live music and we're going to have a great bar. We're going to have an amazing barbecue."

In addition to technology upgrades, Eblen has dove head first into the new media world of podcasting with the Single Tree Nation podcast. After a push from Digital Media Guru Shawn Walchef, he wasted no time putting ideas to action and broadening the scope of Single Tree's impact.

"The purpose of my show is really that it doesn't have anything to do with Single Tree BBQ. It has everything to do with our community and helping build our community through barbecue, digital hospitality, and online storytelling." explains Charlie Eblen of the weekly podcast.

The most apt description of Eblen's growth as a restaurant influencer is summed up in his own words: "It's been amazing."



Restaurant Influencers is brought to you by Toast, the powerful restaurant point of sale and management system that helps restaurants improve operations, increase sales and create a better guest experience.

Toast — Powering Successful Restaurants. Learn more about Toast.

Restaurant Influencers is also supported by AtmosphereTV - TV to Enhance Your Business. Try AtmosphereTV.

Shawn P. Walchef

Founder of Cali BBQ Media

“Be the show, not the commercial.”

Cali BBQ Media Founder Shawn Walchef helps brands and leaders leverage the new Business Creator Economy with strategic Smartphone Storytelling and Digital Hospitality.

His Cali BBQ restaurant company has generated more than $35 million since opening in 2008. They operate numerous locations in San Diego and beyond.

Shawn’s weekly video series Restaurant Influencers (published by Entrepreneur Media and produced by Cali BBQ Media) has been seen by over 25 million people.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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