The Floodgate may be new to Digbeth, Birmingham, but the idea for the “Drink and Do” venture had been floating around the minds of school friends Stephen, Mike and Chris for as long as they can remember. We spoke to Chris about the challenges and rewards of setting up The Floodgate.
How did the idea of The Floodgate come about?
We have been discussing a ‘‘Drink & Do’ venture for about a decade. Having all worked in the hospitality sector in the past we noted that people’s attitudes to going out were changing. Whether it is board games in a pub or crazy golf, people now want something to do or to learn a new skill while having fun with some food and drinks.
How did you meet Stephen and Mike? And had you always hoped to go into business together?
We all met when we were 11 years old and hit it off straight away. I suppose we have always had an entrepreneurial streak and knew we would create something one day. In year 9 one of us used to sell penny sweets in the school playground (don’t tell the headteacher or the tuck shop!)
The Floodgate has a very unique brand – what was the inspiration behind this?
The branding took a long time to develop and evolve into what it is today. We must have exchanged thousands of WhatsApp messages with crazy ideas from names to logos. We eventually whittled it down to ‘‘The Floodgate’’ to host our games, which we named ‘‘Bleachers Baseball’’, “CurlClub” & “PitPat Table Golf”.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced when setting up The Floodgate?
Locating the right venue, in the right area was a major challenge. We concentrated our search in Digbeth as it fitted our target demographic and had many ‘‘Drink & Do’’ visitors to the area. Converting an empty warehouse into a bar and sporting arena took over 3 months to complete but was totally worth it. Trying to source almost 2000 slinkys for CurlClub was a challenge as well – some toy shops thought I was joking when ordering!
What were the first technology systems that you set up before opening?
We needed a payments system that could be portable and adapt to our business requirements. We take payments via many channels: online; behind the bar; and on the floor, so simple, quick, wireless and contactless were all necessary. After a thorough tender process, we found that Square ticked all the boxes in terms of style, function, ease of use and integration with our other systems.
We chose Appointedd as our booking system. It is a simple to use booking program that allows us to separate and charge for all of our games, as well as schedules and timings which differ from baseball, curling and PitPat. It’s integrated with Square and works both online and instore which is great.
To help manage our stock and ordering, we chose Marketman, which also integrates with Square and allows us to control all of our stock and ordering in one place and is a handy tool for stock counts.
Can you describe how Square has made your business operations easier?
We can sell games, drinks and food quicker and easier which makes the staff and customer experience better. Our staff use the new Square Terminal on the floor for fast and simple payments, this allows customers to get on with playing their games or drinking their cold pint.
The Floodgate is now open in Digbeth – book your slot to try your hand at one of its social sports and dine on the tastiest street food.