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LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue Built a Community of 50K Followers. Here's How. LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue co-owner and pitmaster Evan LeRoy on building an online audience, leveraging digital storytelling, and making Patreon videos.

By Shawn P. Walchef

Key Takeaways

  • Building community through social media: Evan LeRoy sees social media as much more than simple posting and clicks. He and his company are intentional about posting content with value, and allowing the community to take hold of the information to use how they see fit.
  • Leveraging online content: It’s important to know what impacts your audience. Evan LeRoy sees videos and other digital content as an opportunity to share his story — and a free marketing technique that generates income on places like Patreon.
  • New tech for efficient growth: As LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue grows, the need for increased efficiency grows as well. Evan LeRoy has researched the benefits of new restaurant tech like the Toast POS system, with plans to implement new tools to service customers as fast as possible.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Evan LeRoy, co-owner of LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue, is crafting boundary-breaking menu items and innovative social media at the same time.

Recognizing a branding potential beyond mere views and clicks, his restaurant business focuses on crafting videos, podcasts, and more content with value.

For the talented team behind LeRoy and Lewis Barbecue in Austin, TX, social media isn't about just promoting their innovative New School BBQ menu items. "It's really about building up community," Evan LeRoy tells host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media.

Viewing various social media channels as opportunities for education, Evan LeRoy emphasizes adding value with each post. The online community then extends to in-person interactions, as enthusiasts end up visiting Austin to try their food. This creates a self-fulfilling cycle of engagement and community.

"The people who do come to visit us at the classes engage on the Discord and on the Patreon," he explains. "They interact with each other and share recipes, secrets, tips and everything with each other."

LeRoy sees sharing content as storytelling and a potent marketing tool that generates income. For Leroy & Lewis, every recipe is not just a culinary experiment, but a business strategy.

"If you make a brisket, film it, and serve it to thousands, you're going to make money on that two times," says LeRoy. "It's also marketing and advertising for your business. That pays for you. You don't have to pay for marketing and advertising."

On Patreon, hundreds of LeRoy and Lewis subscribers give money every month to support the business and get access to video features and more access. The team shares recipes, behind-the-scenes footage, and more exclusive educational content while drawing in thousands of dollars a month in additional revenue.

As Leroy and Lewis continues to grow beyond its origins as a food truck, LeRoy recognizes the importance of efficiency. The utilization of proper restaurant technology to overcome bottlenecks and streamline operations has become a priority to ensure they continue to provide new-school barbecue and old-school service.

"We have bottlenecked a lot recently," admits LeRoy. "We are trying to use technology to kind of disperse the food as fast as we can to all the different people."

Evan LeRoy's innovative approach to content creation and BBQ is about finding the intersection of culinary and community.

"We're all just telling a story, right? And there are so many other tools to tell those stories."

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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.

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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