Lessons from the “chicken dance” man who’s won hundreds of customers via Facebook and saved his small business

Mama's BBQ Chicken

Waleed Khawli at his Mama's BBQ store. Source: Supplied.

The man behind a series of “chicken dance” Facebook videos that have garnered hundreds of thousands of views and have saved his Endeavour Hills takeaway store says his message to business owners is to never give up on yourself when times are tough.

Over the past two months the owner of Mama’s BBQ Chicken and Salad Bar, Waleed “Wally” Khawli, says he has been flooded with customers from around the country after launching a series of videos of him dancing in the store, complete with his catch phrase, “Flavour, Flavour, Flavour”.

“There are the 50 or 60 usual customers, the ones that have been coming in since day one,” Khawli tells SmartCompany.

“But then there are hundreds more a day. I’m still getting people coming in from Perth, Sydney, Adelaide. I actually have a massive following in Sydney and Adelaide,” he says.

The chicken shop opened in 2014 and had been facing tough times for a while. Khawli says he had been thinking about the possibility of harnessing his naturally energetic persona into content to help drive people to the business.

In making the decision to start posting content of himself, he says he had to think about the possibility of negative feedback.

“I was a bit scared: ‘should I do it, should I not? Am I going to cop people bagging me and stuff?'”

He says there is still some negative feedback from people, but that’s now of little concern given the dancing videos are working to bring in customers.

Despite the success, Khawli is aware that he needs to think about the next stage of his video strategy, given “you don’t want people to get sick of it”.

He says that despite experiencing dire times for his business, his advice to other business owners is to believe in your own ideas and not let the tough times influence your view of future success.

If you’re struggling out there, don’t let yourself down, keep your head up. Come up with new ideas on stuff to do, whether it’s a competition or something. That’s what I did, I kept thinking positive,” he says.

Customers continue to drop by the store to request pictures with Khawli and to see him dance, which he says he’s not yet tired of providing.

“I give them a dance here and there. But that’s just me — I’ve been like that forever, I like to put a smile on faces and have fun.”

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