Duffified Live: A Lesson Learned About Music and Your Brand

Conceptually, Duffified Live is about always saying yes to life’s experiences. For the past several years now, Chef Brian Duffy has been learning to never say no, and he’s convinced his life is better because of it. At its core, though, this informative and entertaining podcast is about sharing the things Chef Duffy has learned throughout his journey as a chef, industry expert and well-known personality. You don’t need to work in a bar, nightclub or restaurant to appreciate Duffy’s new podcast; if you love bars and restaurants, you’ll love listening.

Let’s take a look at the third episode of the first four podcasts of Duffified Live, without giving too much away.


Episode IV

I’m going to switch things up a bit this time around. Episode four of Duffified Live was recorded by a Duffy who was fresh off of his first industry night promotion at Flying Fish Crafhouse, located in Brewerytown, PA. While he’s clearly excited about industry night, an incident occurred that every operator out there will likely find familiar. How Duffy handled the situation is worth breaking down.

Let’s preface this with something we’ve said several times when it comes to music. It’s also something that Duffy has told operators when it comes to hiring bands or DJs. It’s very simple:

Remember that your bar or restaurant is just that – yours. It’s your property, it’s your business, and it’s your brand. You have your own idea of what defines your concept, and nobody knows it better than you. Just as you know that, you know that music is heavily influential in terms of guest experience. The types and the volume of music you play can make or break your day or night.

So, what happened pertaining to that point?

Duffy hired a DJ for industry night at Flying Fish Crafthouse, and it did not go well. We won’t name the DJ here, and Duffy makes the point in this episode of Duffified Live that the DJ seems like a nice guy and is good at what he does. However, the DJ was not playing music that worked for Duffy’s restaurant and bar, and the volume was also wrong.

What works for Flying Fish as a brand is energetic, high-BPM music to keep the crowd’s mood elevated. What the DJ was playing was lower-BPM EDM. On top of that, the music was so loud that Duffy was unable to hold a conversation with a friend at the bar. So, he did what any owner, operator or manager should do: he walked over to the DJ and asked him to turn the music down. The DJ, according to Duffy, turned around and gave him a look that the chef interpreted as, “Who are you to tell me what to do?” The DJ lowered the volume slightly, Duffy attempted to return to his conversation but the volume was still too high, and he walked back over to the DJ to reiterate the need for the volume to be lowered. The volume went down…and then went back up.

Looking around his bar and restaurant, Duffy saw that people were leaving prematurely. Attempting to keep his guests from leaving and excite new guests walking in, the chef asked the DJ to play more upbeat, high-energy music. Not a difficult request to make as the owner, and one that shouldn’t be difficult for an open-format DJ to oblige. The DJ responded by asking what Duffy wanted him to play, and the conversation went back and forth for a while. Bear in mind, this didn’t happen late into the evening, and the DJ ran between 25 and 50 guests out of Flying Fish. Listen to the podcast to hear about the conversation that took place when the DJ sought out Duffy and confronted him.

Now, what have we learned from this podcast?

  • Hire the right DJ or band for your venue. That’s the first step to live music or performances.
  • When guests walk through your doors, the first thing that hits them is the appearance of your venue.
  • The next thing that gets their attention is usually the music that is being played.
  • Guests used to specific types of venues (sports bars, as an example) expect certain things from appearance, lights, sounds, and ambiance.
  • As an operator, you need to dictate the ambiance of your concept, from lighting to sound. Set the standard and hold that standard.
  • Consider creating playlists that your employees are permitted to play. You can specify the parts of the day that certain playlists are allowed to be played; it’s your business!
  • You need to train your staff to pay attention to their surroundings. This includes knowing what’s going on with televisions (if your bar has them) and the music.
  • You will own your business the way you should own it when you truly pay attention to the details.

Chef Duffy and a select group of fantastic chefs  and culinary experts (including Chef Nick Liberato) will be at the 2017 Nightclub & Bar Conference and Trade Show, heading up the F&B Innovation Center. You will not want to miss that experience – register now!


Adult Language Disclaimer:

While I feel as though this disclaimer shouldn’t be necessary, this podcast often times features a healthy sprinkling of adult language. We do, after all, work and spend time in adult venues with adults in them, being all adulty and stuff. You have been warned.

Suggested Articles

Research from the latest National Restaurant Association and Yelp Show the Latest Rate in Closures

Six-month sales, education and networking virtual event series offers a brand-new approach for the industry to connect with owners, operators and supp

Governor Andrew Cuomo announced today that at the end of the month, indoor dining will be returning to New York City after almost six months of being