Experiences and Confidences by the Team from Rimini
Catering is almost a natural appendage for a barbecue team. It is the most obvious and coherent departure point for auto financing the competitions and experience of northern European teams even before ours, it teaches us how it is an activity that can with time become a prevalent job if properly developed. Personally I hang out at the national barbecue since its first vagaries and I think I can be considered one of the “old men” of this micro cosmos. Among the benefits that this involves, there has been the possibility of having known and in some cases even baptized many of the Italian Barbecue teams. Among these I remember with particular pleasure the Mad for BBQ.
The Mad (acronym of the names of its founders Michele, Andrea and Danilo) are from Rimini but the first time I met them a few years ago was in a class I presided in Ancona when they were not yet a team and maybe in the first BBQ course for them, Today I want to talk you about Streetfood and I thought of get in touch with them for a chat so they can tell you their experience on field. Why exactly the Mad for BBQ, you may ask. Indeed of I know many teams that do barbecue catering jobs. The SPQR is definitely worth mentioning, really a reference in this regard, but also the Smoke’n Fire of my friend Facchi, jokingly nicknamed Aaron Facchi for the high level of his Brisket but also the Q-King by Alessandro Ciulla and many others that would be too long to list here. The Mads, however, represent something different, unique in some ways, at least here by us.
Let’s start from the assumption that Mad for BBQ is one of the first BBQ teams born in Italy, winners among other things in the Pork category of the first edition of the Italian Barbecue Championship but were also among the first to glimpse the potentialities of a catering business made “seriously”, leaving the competitions in fact to be completely thrown into the new adventure doing of it their main job. There are two things of them that have always amazed me. The first is the clear vision they had since the very beginning: they immediately formed a capital company and planned a series of structural investments over time, reinvesting their profits continuously. Today, I think the Mad for BBQ are among the best structured and organized barbecue catering activities we have in Italy. The second is that they operate with an extremely definite identity: The Mad make american barbecue but they wink to Italian tastes, especially to the ones from their region of origin; Mad talk little to social users and work hard on word-of-mouth on the field; The Mad are also private caterers but are very oriented and organized for public events, streetfood in particular, coming to dominate also national events, with considerable inflows.
Let’s know them better
1. How many time has passed since you met for the first time and when and how MAD for BBQ was born?
Hi Marco, thanks for the question, in fact, ours is a very long lasting friendship well before the MAD for BBQ was born. It’s all started as a play, we’re in Rimini and at the end of the day at the beach it’s always nice to arrange barbecues with friends that have become more and more a recurring appointment with more and more participants. The spark was born at the time we bought the first MT Weber and we started to understand the difference between doing Grilling and Barbecue.
The embryo of MAD for BBQ was born in those contexts and was switched into reality during the CBJ Class of Verrua Savoia, held in 2014.
2. Was it difficult to start? Have you started “shedding” with a basic gear reinvesting slowly or did you invest important capital right away?
MAD for BBQ started with the cautions of the case, investing a small part of our capital and trying to reinvest the one gained in better and better equipment. The equipment initially used for events was personal and parted through synergies with other major realities. Growth, with the first economic results obtained we reinvested the first gains in new equipment.
3. Can you give an idea to those who read us about the administrative, bureaucratic and healthcare duties you had to deal with in order to get started?
Marco, as you know, in Italy, the most complicated part does not concern the opening up of a food business from an administrative point of view but is linked to all the bureaucratic aspects of food handling (including specific and attested courses and self-control manuals, HACCP, etc.), safety aspects (DVR, first aid and fire protection) and continuous compulsory training of all staff members.
During busy times, we have had moments where tiredness and tension have created moments of friction between us. Thanks, however, to the friendship that has been linked to us for years, we have always found ways to overcome and smooth these divergences.
5. You are among those who invest more in equipment and on-site communication among the specialist companies I know. By what percentage do you feel that this returns in terms of work comfort and how much in terms of value perceived by the customer?
The investments we have made over the past few years have been directed to have more and more productive equipment and make the job more practical and “convenient”. At the marketing level it is essential to present yourself in the best way to the customer, focusing on our image as a company. Properly presenting the product we sell to customers is not easy, as unlike other companies it is difficult to show the preparation of products that are cooked in a completely “hidden” way inside the barbecue.
6. The branch in which we work is highly seasonal, this is well-known and is one of its critical issues. Have you noticed changes in this regard since you started?
The BBQ is tied up with a double thread to the summer season and this is definitely a critical point. Over the years, however, we have noted weak signs of seasonality, we have noticed the attracts of contacts with other companies with the need to organize various events within them, so we can say that during the summer semester our business is mainly aimed at a B2C audience and in ‘second semester to a B2B audience. Also thanks to the mass communication and the investments made by the bigger players we have noticed that more and more public approaches this world even during the winter months.
7. And in terms of customer’s culture with regard to barbecue, are you aware of the evolution?
During the events we make and the fairs we are present in, more and more people come closer to knowing anything about the world of barbecue and its most well-known products. Television with barbecue programs and specialized sites have helped spread the culture of this reality. Sometimes we find people who approached just to ask some advice on how to prepare different recipes or what is the best method of cooking a Florentine or just to get more information about using Barbecues having recently bought them.
8. For what is my perception, you are really good at presenting and communicating on the site and towards the customer. On the other hand, you have a fairly contained social and online activity in general. This is a very precise strategy?
Nice question, there are already beautiful realities in Italy that can communicate and disseminate the know-how of Barbecue on Social and Internet, we have decided to use our social channels to communicate to our followers our public appointments where we can enjoy our preparations and our site has been structured so that it is easy to reach from anyone looking for a catering for any kind of event in any area of Italy.
9. It seems to me that your offer has been built to be more focused on the public event than the private one. What do you think? Is this a strategy set at the origin or a consequence of how your story evolved?
As we said before, we started everything because we liked organizing beach events for a small “audience” of friends. With the time and expanding our business, we have been getting closer to the world of streetfood that has engaged us in a fairly important way. However, we do not miss out on the catering part that allows us to offer “turnkey” solutions and also allows us to indulge in different preparations from the standard.
10. One of your most popular recipes is PPP. How was it born? In general, you have succeeded in combining a foreign matrix technique with elements of your territorial nature. How much do you feel that bonding with your land is important to your success?
In truth, Marco it is called TripleP “Pulled Pork Piadina” and was born at a time when, during an evening of friends, we decided to “experience” the pulled pork in the very Riminese piadina. And it was a very successful experiment that was immediately inserted between the dishes we propose. Other ties with typical products of our territory are the meat of Mora Romagnola, Sangiovese wine and Rimini’s artisan beer.
In this way we can go around Italy in the various streetfoods or events a bit of our land.
11. Give the name of one of the most selling dishes you would like to take off from the menu if you could and give one that would probably have little commercial success but you would like to introduce to your menu
One of the dishes that takes longer time and we definitely love less prepare are the chicken wings, more so because the quantities to be prepared take huge volumes. You can imagine what it’s like to prepare wings for 500 people! The dish we would like to add to our menu is the flank steak but for the kind of preparation and cooking it is not absolutely suitable for streetfood events. But it happen we propose and prepare it for other occasions with a good response from our customers.
12. Your promotional video based on the parody of A-Team TV is one of the funniest and most effective initiatives I have seen. How was the idea born?
Probably the “problem” is our age … All three of us grew up watching the American TV shows of the 1980’s and the A-Team among the many is the one who we enjoyed the most. For the next movie and maybe the next van we’re looking at different ideas … maybe … maybe Starsky & Hutch, Bo & Luke, Charlie’s Angels, Automan etc etc … who will follow us will find out.
13. In the end for those who live our passion, this is a job but it is still a fun moment. What is the most fun anecdote you remember about these years of activity?
Remaining in the movie theme, surely his production was a really fun time. Among the various scenes we cut, and those reworked we had lot of fun.
14. Which projects have MAD for BBQ for the future?
In mind, we have many projects that we are trying to prioritize, some in the embryonic phase, some in a more evolved phase, and others that involve collaboration with other realities. And as is often the case, some projects that seem feasible or ready to start arise for problems of various nature, instead others to which initially from the low credit take off with unexpected results.
Thanks a lot of guys, good luck. we definitely will meet in front of a TripleP in one of your streetfood events.