Conspirer Profile: David Butcher - FlyBy BBQ
Name: David Butcher
Title: Founder & President
Company: FlyBy BBQ
Conspirer Status: One-off projects turned Retainer Partner
What made you want to start a barbecue business?
Barbecue has a beautiful, long standing history of being America’s craft food–especially here in the midwest. We wanted to show off what barbecue could be at it’s best and add another chapter to the story–better ingredients, modern midwest atmosphere, and fast-casual service. At the end of the day, we set out to create something that puts smiles on faces. Flyby BBQ has been the greatest tool to achieve that goal we could ever imagine.
What was your first project with Conspire?
Our first project with Conspire was the evolution of our very introductory brand elements to usable packaging and a vinyl wrap design for our food truck. Conspire has been an amazing partner through and through. As a business owner, you’re tasked with closing the delta between where you are and the vision for your company–Conspire has helped us close that gap immensely.
How did you discover/hear about Conspire?
We met Jeremy and team through a mutual friend/colleague. As a general rule of thumb, we only work with those we’ve been referred to. The recommendation to Conspire was so positive that we knew they were the real deal. We haven’t regretted listening to it once.
What advice do you have for someone wanting to start a business?
My two biggest pieces of advice are:
Start early. Find out what you can do to make your idea real today. Find out your MVP (Minimally Viable Product) and hit the ground running.
Don’t afraid to be different. If we listened to the advice of everyone around us, we would be a watered-down plain old barbecue restaurant. See what your competition is doing and go the other direction. Being able to say no and to dare to do whats not expected of you is where the true magic comes from.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned along the way?
The biggest lesson I have learned along the way is to empower others. The only way to grow is to surround yourself with talented, beautiful souls and let them fly. Team work makes the dream work.
Culture is very big for you. Has it always been this way, or did something happen along the way that made you realize the importance of it?
Culture was very purposeful for us. We knew that, at the end of the day, as long as our staff was happy, our customers would be too. It really just comes down to treating your employees with respect, doing the right thing, and empowering them to be able to achieve their full potential. It’s amazing what a little bit of trust can bring out in someone, and it saddens me to see how little some of our staff had in their previous jobs. We aim to make Flyby BBQ the best company to work for in the entire fast-casual industry.
Is there anything you tried out that you thought would flop and ended up successful? Anything you thought would be successful and flopped?
This question is exactly why I encourage everyone with a business idea to start early and prototype in iterations. While some were right, many of our original assumptions were wrong. For example, we assumed that our chocolate covered frozen bananas (since discontinued) would be a huge staple item of our concept. Nope. We sold very few. We’ve since switched to a spin on a banana pudding and they are almost famous now. Another example, we didn’t expect our rice bowls to be our main seller (we thought sandwiches for sure), but now 60% of our meals are a BYO Rice Bowl. In fact, the reason you can now build your own Macaroni is because our customers kept modifying our Rice Bowls to have our Mac on the bottom–so we also ran into a happy accident there.
What is you favorite FlyBy dish?
My favorite dish is a BYO Macaroni with our pulled pork, topped with jalapeños, corn salsa, pickles, onions, and cornbread croutons. For sauce, I usually rock with Kansas City Spicy but I’ve been on a huge South Carolina Gold kick. Most importantly, you HAVE to get a piece of Cornbread with our Cinnamon Butter as a side and a Blueberry Lavender Lemonade to drink.
What’s next for FlyBy?
Our goal is to introduce as many people as possible to the world of craft barbecue–spreading smiles all along the way. To achieve this goal, we plan on expanding across Ohio and the rest of the Midwest over the next few years. We have large dreams, a ton of energy, and the best team we could ask for. I think we are in for a treat.
If there was only one thing you would want people to know about FlyBy BBQ, what would it be?
That we might look and feel a little different than a typical BBQ restaurant, but our proteins will knock your socks off. They are prepared so well.