Cali BBQ Media is a digital marketing and digital storytelling agency and studio


Hear the latest episodes


See the latest videos


Browse the latest content

Embracing the Onboarding Process with Aaron Palacios of Swadley’s BBQ

Aaron Palacios is the Senior Director of People Services at Swadley’s BBQ. While in his role, he has orchestrated a transformative shift by integrating Restaurant365 across key business functions. This move not only streamlined accounting and marketing but also introduced a dedicated HR support center within Restaurant365, enhancing the experience for managers, customers, and employees alike.


“We wanted to bring everything in-house, and the first thing they brought on was HR,” affirms Aaron to show host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media, emphasizing the strategic decision to centralize operations. “Then, when I heard about Restaurant 365, it was a no brainer. I’m like, this is easier on our managers. Why would we not do this? And so we started bringing everything in house.”


Palacios also has the unique responsibility of aiding with the onboarding process of new employees. In a revolutionary move, he championed what is known as “Foundation Day”. A digital training initiative seamlessly integrated with Restaurant365 and Expand Share. This approach not only eases the onboarding process but also aligns it seamlessly with the broader restaurant operations.


“Everything’s done through a company that Restaurant 365 integrates with called Expand Share,” highlights Palacios’, emphasizing the efficiency and modernization brought about by the digital training platform. “We try to do everything digital now because gone are the days of ‘let’s get everyone to one location to do a training and put a PowerPoint on’”.


Palacios’ commitment to a positive workplace culture is reflected in the innovative way to create the inevitable pushback that comes with learning new information and systems.


“One of our things on Foundation Day is we give everyone a sponge,” says Palacios, This approach encourages a 30-day period of absorption before employees share their ideas, fostering a culture of understanding and collaboration.


Watch and Listen as Aaron and Shawn sit down for a brief talk during the Restaurant Transformation Festival put on by Restaurant365 in Austin, TX earlier this year.

Episode Links:

Interview Takeaways:

Bringing Everything In-House with Restaurant 365 – One of Aaron Palacios’ duties as Director of People at Swadley’s is ensuring that customers and employees have systems that work as efficiently as possible. When he discovered Restaurant365 and all that it has to offer, it was a no brainer to make the platform a part of every major facet of the business.


“Foundation Day”: Digital Training Integration – Aaron Palacios understands that Human Resources can come with a bit of a stigma. To combat that, he and the team at Swadley’s created “Foundation Day”. It is an innovative approach to employee orientation which is done through Restaurant365 to create a seamless, yet fun beginning.


Be Like a Scrub Daddy –  Onboarding can be tough for any employee. With Swadley’s BBQ being so digitally integrated with Restaurant365, there could be a lot to learn and subsequent pushback. Aaron Palacios and his team have implemented a practice that is intended to allow employees to “be a sponge” and learn first and give their ideas later.

Play Video

Cali BBQ Media

Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.


➤ Restaurant Influencers —

➤ Business Coaching —

➤ Cali BBQ Content —

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *