Chad Drummond, founder of Please Bring Chips, is staying relatively positive despite everything this year has thrown at him and his team. The events world is at a standstill until Covid-19 is under control, so Please Bring Chips had to find a new way to connect with Washingtonians and continue serving up great drinks. Now, Drummond can be found spicing up your quarantine life, teaching you how to make your new favorite drinks on your phone or computer screen. He sat down to tell District Fray about this transition, how it has affected Please Bring Chips and what the future holds for them.
District Fray: How did Please Bring Chips begin?
Chad Drummond: Please Bring Chips sort of started as an accident. Two of our three partners run No Kings Collective (NKC), a local art outfit. NKC did a lot of DIY events, specifically art pop-ups. I would help out with these events, particularly with the food and beverage aspect. Over time, the cocktails, the food and the unique combinations became NKC signatures. People liked it and started asking us to help with their bars and events. As we started doing more things for folks besides NKC, Please Bring Chips formed and blossomed into its own thing. The focus and expertise continued to be about how to integrate the food and beverage component into an event, in a manner not just enjoyable for the guest, but successful for the client.
How has this background shaped your response to the pandemic?
Before we became Please Bring Chips, we were about solving problems: How do we make a DIY event revenue positive? How do we have a functioning bar inside this gutted building? As we started doing more work for clients, solving their problems became more of a focus. For example, how do we make sure our client maximizes their revenue? So, in that sense, the pandemic is just another problem we’ve had to deal with.
What progress have you seen with your company in the past six months?
I had to think back to what things were like six months ago. It’s been insane. In the beginning of March, 2020 looked to be so promising – our best year yet. We were looking forward to working with new clients and doing more with the awesome folks we normally work with, and planning on more events like Laissez-Fair(e) to produce for everyone to enjoy. But in the span of one week, everything turned to poop. Since then, we’ve maintained our focus on solving problems and helping our clients.
As far as actual events, we’re standing with our clients, friends and colleagues in the event industry, who are just trying to hold on until we can all get back together. Our biggest, most visible progress has been Cocktail Time. We’re working with the incredibly talented District Dodger to produce fun, informative, accessible content for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, we’ve been offering digital classes with Fray to have something more engaging. These things will be continuing for a few more months, so we hope that as winter approaches, we can provide some fun content for folks to safely enjoy at home.
How do you engage with clients now? Does it feel strange to have to engage remotely or have you gotten used to it?
Just to put it in perspective, our client is usually not the individual attending an event, but the event’s organizer. With that in mind, our client engagement is mostly how it has always been: email and phone. That said, we do miss our walk-throughs and in-person meetings. Also, how we engage with the rest of the world is definitely different. And yes, it feels strange. We are used to crowded bars, and personal interaction with awesome folks. Unfortunately, I don’t think we’ll ever get used to not seeing smiling faces in person, and it’s something I don’t ever want to get used to. No screen can replace the beauty and magic of our in-person interactions.
How do you think this time will change your work going into the future?
I think part of the new set of problems we’ll have to solve will center around how to more fully serve smaller groups of people, instead of more efficiently serving larger groups. Additionally, I think solving logistical challenges around safety and health considerations at pop-ups will be a greater focus. But in a certain sense, I feel like nothing will change: Please Bring Chips will be here to help clients solve problems.
Tune into Please Bring Chips’ virtual cocktail classes with Fray on October 28 and November 18. Learn more about Drummond and his team at www.pleasebringchips.com, or follow them on Instagram and Facebook @pleasebringchips.