Episode 083: Restaurant Group Increases Sales and Profits During Unprecedented Times

During the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants faced challenges beyond their control. Roughly 80,000 restaurants have temporarily or permanently closed since the start of the pandemic, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, down from 110,000 at the peak of the pandemic. 

Edley’s Restaurant Group is no exception. They are a restaurant company in the metro-Nashville, Tennessee area with 7 locations and 400 team members. However, despite their many challenges over the past couple of years, they are growing by 50% in the next 12 months through franchising. 

In this episode, CEO Will Newman and President Chris Beckley (CXEA Alumni 2021) are joining us to discuss the amazing growth they’ve experienced. Learn how they applied the DiJulius Group methodology to achieve incredible results. 

You Will Learn:

  1. The background and story of Edley’s Restaurant Group
  2. The purpose of their brand and what it means to them
  3. Results Edley’s has achieved by focusing on CX
  4. What it takes to differentiate yourself from the competition
  5. How to be brilliant at the basics & provide consistent service
  6. How to create a company culture people want to be a part of


More About Will Newman: 

Nashville entrepreneur Will Newman is no stranger to good barbecue and Southern hospitality. Born in Memphis and raised in McMinnville, Tenn., Newman grew up admiring the generosity and hard work of his grandfather, Edley Newman, and always wanted to find a way to honor him. After graduating from The University of Tennessee, Newman opened Marble Slab Creamery in the Atlanta area, followed by opening one in Nashville. Later, Newman decided to head back to school to earn a law degree from The University of Alabama, but shortly after, he realized his true calling was in the hospitality industry. With an entrepreneurial spirit and his grandfather’s legacy in mind, he began dreaming of a barbecue joint built on Southern soul, and in 2011, along with his wife and business partner Catharine, opened the first Edley’s Bar-B-Que in Nashville’s 12 South neighborhood.

Newman and his barbecue quickly gained recognition in Music City and beyond, with honors such as being named the “Best Bar-B-Que in Nashville” by readers of the Nashville Scene four years in a row and features with national publications like Southern Living, USA Today, Garden & Gun and CBS This Morning. Home to Nashville-style barbecue, a spicy pork dish inspired by the city’s famed hot chicken, Edley’s now has over five Tennessee locations and a new franchise location in Illinois, with no plans on stopping. With Edley’s rapid success, the Newman’s were ready to take on another challenge and launched Pancho and Lefty’s Cantina in 2017. The popular Mexican cantina now has two locations in Nashville.

Will currently resides in Nashville, with his wife, Catharine, and their children George and Bo. In his free time, Will enjoys golfing, fishing, exercising, reading and spending time with his family and their English Lab, Dolly.

More About Chris Beckler: 

Hailing from Ocean City, New Jersey, Chris Beckler has made his way down to Nashville where he is the right-hand man for all things Edley’s Bar-B-Que. The energy and joy that he found working in the beach and bar scene in Ocean City is what drew Chris to working in hospitality, and eventually led him to VP roles for major restaurants such as O’Charleys, CraftWorks and Logan’s Roadhouse. Embodying the spirit of the industry, Beckler always says that there is not much that make you happier than when someone is bringing you food and drinks.

Chris Beckler brings years of expertise along with high energy to the Edley’s Bar-B-Que team, finding a home both within the brand and in Tennessee. He currently resides in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years and their two beautiful daughters. Outside of ‘que, he spends his time hanging out with his family, reading, exercising and cheering on Philly’s sports.


Resources mentioned:

The Customer Service Revolution Podcast 



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About The Author

John DiJulius

John R. DiJulius is a best-selling author, consultant, keynote speaker and President of The DiJulius Group, the leading Customer experience consulting firm in the nation. He blogs on Customer experience trends and best practices.