To Bespoke or Not To Bespoke…
As a management consultancy the services we provide can be targeted to address a specific issue for improvement or we can supply a full wrap-around offering, a partner every step of the way from ideation to realisation. We package these offerings as ‘products’ to give our clients a tangible idea of what they will receive by enlisting us. Some of these results are obvious, such as a drinks package. Other services, such as bar management or financial forecasting also result in products, though not as immediately obvious as a well-made drink or bar blueprint.
The two other pillars, People and Preparation, highlight some of our products and serve as case studies to how we ensure they are of the highest quality, and I recommend having a look at these insights as well to better understand our process.
The following dives a bit deeper into the products we provide: how we define them, why we consider them a crucial part of the process of building F+B into any project and how we deliver it.
So, about ‘dem drinks
We have been designing drinks for many years now, partnering with brands such as Moet Hennessey, Martini and Schweppes for advertising campaigns and, more recently, designing the cocktail menus for Secret Cinema. We deliver beautifully crafted and balanced cocktails that always delight our clients.
We begin any process with extensive research by interrogating a client’s brief, exploring the themes, demographics, target audiences, inspirations and influences.
With this knowledge, comprehensive research and development is done at Publiq, our Director’s restaurant, which was voted the 21st best cocktail bar in the UK in 2023. They are obsessed with flavour, finding combinations that complement each other, tracking the taste trends of the industry and re-imagining classics in innovative ways.
Previous briefs have also included creating ‘experiential’ offerings. This has required us to think about the world they are served in, who serves it and what the context of the encounter is. Examples include syringes delivering black market medicine, high school kids selling jello at a house party or prisoners selling contraband ‘stabilisers’ stolen from a ship.
These will be heavily workshopped, paired with a beautiful, flavour enhancing garnish, then presented at a drinks tasting session where our clients can sample the menu with opportunities for feedback. A suitable glass will be matched to suit the volume and theme of the event. This level of detail and preparation is crucial to ensure that our products will be delicious and best placed for commercial success.
Once given the green light it’s time to deploy them on the bars. If they are for an activation or a large scale event it’s off to the batching factory! Here our crack team of BOH legends will take the recipes and scale them up depending on the size of the show. This means our drinks remain consistent, can be easily distributed across the bars and be adapted in the BOH room should they need tweaking. Once on the bars they will be made by well-trained bartenders using measures, no ‘free-pouring’.
This again keeps consistency levels and ensures wastage is kept to a minimum.
What results are expertly researched and crafted drinks, served efficiently and smoothly to thousands of people whilst the bartenders focus on keeping their heads up, entertaining the guests, taking more orders and increasing revenue.
On the outside our bars look beautiful. They sit magnificently in an imagined world or represent a brand with pride at an activation or event. However, like an iceberg, the true magic of the bars lies in the unseen, operational, side. Our bar designs result in uncomplicated bars that comfortably serve volume and utilise relied upon systems that streamline service.
For larger scale operations that require permanent or semi-permanent installs, the process begins with information gathering. We will work with any information we are given but recommend pairing our bar design package with a full financial forecast (see below) to create plans that are tailored exactly to the project’s requirements and budget. This means we can be economical with space, buy the right equipment and the right amount of equipment and create a BOH space that is functionally suitable.
For smaller scale activations or private parties, we also have a range of single event bars at our disposal that are easily customisable for branding and very quick to assemble, helping to minimise set-up and breakdown times.
During and after the build we are there every step of the way to make sure plans are followed and to assist in the installation of all infrastructure. Once built, we continue to liaise with creative teams to make sure the bar remains functional while they make it look fabulous.
This is an area where Fire & Fly have been at the forefront of the industry for years now. Sometimes a bar isn’t enough. The size and scale of a show might mean there are nooks and crannies where a bar isn’t suitable but perhaps someone with goods to sling and a trolley or tray to carry them, might be.
It is here we deploy our experiential servers; performers who captivate an audience, hold court and sell volumes of weird and wonderful drinks to unsuspecting patrons.
In our time working with Secret Cinema we have been continuously tasked with finding innovative ways of creating and delivering drinks to our guests, away from a bar. Over time, we have perfected the model, finding the balance between giving the guest a unique interaction, one talked about long after they have left, while still keeping the experience profitable.
To explore this subject further and provide a unique insight on what it’s like being a bartender in an immersive world, take a deeper dive and read our General Manager’s blog on the subject. Robin has worked on 11(and counting) Secret Cinema productions as a bartender, supervisor and manager and gives insight on his experiences slinging Mushroom Old Fashioneds off a street corner, hawking contraband ‘Space Oil’ while avoiding the Galactic Empire and why this style is a valuable tool to deploy at any event, activation or private party. (see below).
Day to Day Management
When it comes to managing our events we work regularly alongside a talented pool of freelancers who all hail from different operational backgrounds.
Our managers have worked at major events such as Winter Wonderland, the O2 Arena and Glastonbury running customer service, logistics and operations as well as running bars and overseeing food stalls. As a result, our clients get well-run events with the benefits of managers that understand the overarching operational landscape, that can communicate with other departments fluently and work with them in harmony.
This is crucial as their experience instils confidence into our teams as no situation flusters them, we have seen it all and work together to bring about the solutions.
Take a look at our People blog for more insight as to how we manage the day-to-day and keep our teams motivated.
This gives some insight into what we do at Fire and Fly and how we operate. There are lots of things we haven’t mentioned like our financial analysis (though we touch on it a bit in our Preparation Blog – check it out!), business planning or photography and marketing but the same methodical, comprehensive approach runs through all of our products to ensure they are of the highest quality and offer the best value for our clients.
What issues are your venues, events or projects getting stuck on? Maybe we can help. Hit the get in touch button and get the conversation started and we’ll put you on the path to success.