Restaurant Group Obsession to Build a CX Culture Pays Off During Unprecedented Times

Edley’s Restaurant Group is a growing hospitality industry company whose CX obsession has paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic. Located in the metro-Nashville, Tennessee area with seven locations and 400 team members, Edley’s is anticipating 50% growth in the next 12 months including franchising. Rapid growth, indeed.

Consumer food services in general and the restaurant industry, in particular, have been faced with many challenges beyond their control since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, its resulting economic conditions, and – as revealed by customer feedback – frequent bad customer experiences. Roughly 80,000 restaurants have temporarily or permanently closed, according to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, down from 110,000 at the peak of the pandemic.

IStock 1221675529 Scaled, The DiJulius Group

The General COVID-19 Effect vs. Edley’s Customer Experience

Despite this bleak outlook in the industry, Edley’s customer experience focus allowed them to guide consumer engagement and achieve the following results:

  • Sales increased by 35% over the 2021 year to date
  • Guest NPS (overall brand satisfaction/customer loyalty) is 85 for “likely to recommend”
  • Profit increase of 6% in 2021
  • Team member turnover of 58% in an industry with a triple-digit turnover
  • Manager turnover of 14% in an industry with 40%
  • Zero voluntary GM turnover in 3 years

*Related – CSRev Podcast Episode 083: Restaurant Group Increases Sales and Profits During Unprecedented Times

Getting It Right: From Nothing Special to Customer-centric Mindset

VP of Operations and Customer Experience Executive Academy alumni class of 2021, Chris Beckler said it best, “We were not broken. We had a strong presence and following in our space. Some very loyal guests. However, internally we recognized that our service, and training, did not match the quality of our food and vibe.”

An Ocean City, New Jersey native with years of work experience in its beach and bar scene, Beckler brings high energy, expertise, and a joyful spirit to the Nashville-based brand. He and his team made a commitment to creating a World-Class customer and employee experience for Edley’s BBQ. They believed that if they could offer such outstanding service that the first thing people thought of was emotional connections, i.e., how great it made them feel, the company could become one that would make their customers’ world a better place.

Beckler further shared, “Growth without strategy was our biggest issue. We had great people, but we lacked consistency and a codified way to deliver the experience we wanted. We were good, but nothing special in terms of service.” He knew Edley’s wasn’t delivering the best service ever and that it needed a customer-centric approach, consistently offering seamless experiences across the entire customer journey. Sometimes all it takes is one bad experience to lose a customer. To positively influence consumer behavior, both retaining its loyal customers and building its customer base, this approach must include customers feeling appreciated as well as innovative solutions.

These solutions need to cover everything from traditional dining – especially now that, according to an early 2022 report from Epsilon 95% are eating in restaurants again – to an enhanced digital experience including online ordering and multiple modes for pickup/delivery. This necessarily includes solid relationships with delivery service providers who are also bringing either a bad experience along with a food order or a good one. And personalized services such as geo-targeted messaging can be additional relationship builders, and powerful tools in meeting and even exceeding customer expectations. According to research by PricewaterhouseCoopers 63% of U.S. consumers would be more willing to share personal data such as location and preferences with a company offering what they considered true value.

Unnamed 7, The DiJulius GroupEdley’s Secret Sauce Selection: The DiJulius Group’s Methodology

To that end, Edley’s utilized The DiJulius Group’s X Commandment methodology and created a Customer Experience Action Statement with supporting Pillars, Never & Always standards, and implemented a Customer Experience Cycle.

Among the X Commandments is Commandment V: Training to Providing a World-Class Customer Experience, a customer service training method for all new and even existing employees. This soft skills training increased the service aptitude of Edley’s employees, equipping them with the knowledge and tools to consistently provide a world-class experience for their customers. Not only is consistency good for company culture, but improved future performance will also lead to a higher customer satisfaction score, enhanced consumer demand, and continued growth as a customer service leader.

IStock 1335052543 Scaled, The DiJulius Group


Unnamed 9, The DiJulius GroupWe are so thrilled to announce that Judson Laipply will be the emcee at this year’s Customer Service Revolution. The entertainer who has featured on the Today Show, Ellen, Oprah, GMA, and more is coming back. Laipply was an incredible hit at the 2018 Customer Service Revolution conference. He helps audiences understand the difference between change and evolution while teaching them to embrace the struggle, engage in choice, and ultimately evolve. He is the world’s first YouTube Celebrity and his finale “The Evolution of Dance” has over a billion impressions and was the first video ever to hit 100 million views. He’s been speaking and performing for over 20 years and has been all around the globe.


EPISODE 091 of the CSRevolution Podcast: The Evolution of Service

Chief Revolution Officer John DiJulius of the DiJulius Group talks with Judson Laipply


“The brands that survive the Great Resignation Era will be the ones
who remained relentless with their hiring standards throughout it.”

We Have Added a New CXO Academy Class Starting this Fall

As a result of our 2022 Customer eXperience Executive Academy (CXEA) selling out, we have added a second class that will start in September 2022. The CXO Academy is a 12-month part-time program. The CXO student is required to attend quarterly 3-day intensive training sessions, in Cleveland, as well as participate in virtual meetings twice a quarter. Quarter 1 is September 13th – 15th.

Having worked with the top Customer Service organizations in the world, The DiJulius Group’s CXEA course gives you both theoretical and practical experience on how to elevate the levels of service at your company. With the increasing need for the Customer eXperience Executive in businesses today, the CXEA teaches the X Commandment Methodology, which covers all facets and responsibilities that fall under Customer Experience. Unlike any other institution, the CXEA’s focus, strictly on the Customer and Employee experience, prepares leaders to champion change at any company, regardless of industry.


Register now for the 2022 Customer Service Revolution!

CSR22 SpeakerLineup, The DiJulius Group

Capture, The DiJulius Group

About The Author

Jess Pischel

As a former Customer Experience Consultant with The DiJulius Group, Jess  leads clients in generating ideas, turning those ideas into systems, and then implementing and executing them enterprise wide.