One of our very favorite catering companies in Maine is hands down, Fire and Company. Good Lord in heaven is it tasty. There are so many things we love about Fire and Co that we could wax eloquent. It’s delicious, its hip, Ryan is a blast, we can eat it ourselves at our leisure during a wedding, (not having to wait for the plated vendor meals that sometimes never actually arrive), etc etc etc. That being said, we did want to actually feature Ryan right here on the blog. Settle in for a scrumptious interview.
Let’s get acquainted a little bit! Give us the quick and dirty about who you are and how this business got started?
Six years ago I built a brick oven on a trailer and started a concession company traveling around New England making wood fired pizza at music festivals and fairs with my original business, Pizza Pie on The Fly. After my first season someone in Southern Maine built a brick oven on the back of a vintage truck to cater pizza events under the business, Fire and Company. After their first season they decided that catering really wasn’t for them so they reached out to me to see if I wanted to buy their truck. I decided to buy the truck, business name and website to run as a separate company from my existing concession company. I rebranded Fire and Company’s logo, website and general aesthetics and began to network within the wedding industry. It seemed to take off pretty quickly from there.
This is a pretty unique business. Where did the truck idea come from?
As noted, the truck was already made. I was indecisive at first about buying the truck and business but the previous owner would also throw in a 1947 Dodge truck. When I realized I could build a bar on that and have two functioning vintage trucks to cater events it made complete sense. Now I am addicted to old trucks from the late 40’s and early 50’s.
What’s the story behind the name Fire and Co?
Great name! One big decision when buying the vintage pizza truck was to buy the business because of the name or start a new with a new name. I really like Fire and Company because it didn’t scream “Pizza Catering”. It allowed me to offering wood fired pizza while being able to expand into wood fired whole animal feasts and bar service.
Opening a business takes some guts! How long did you simmer on this idea before you were able to make it into a reality?
I always knew I wanted to do something for myself so. After working my first corporate job in my mid twenties (I lasted 6 long months) I knew I never wanted to go back to that feeling of having no control, having no general input in decisions and not feeling appreciated. When I saw the opportunity to start my concession company I didn’t think twice about it. Jumped in feet first.
What would you say are your biggest challenges in owning your own business?
It all depends on the business or industry you are in but the biggest challenges I have faced are delegating responsibilities. For a few years I was doing everything when it came to running the business(s) and have found that the only way to grow is to delegate decisions and actions. Having someone or a team to lean on when the business does come has been crucial and is imperative to our success.
Do you have “pinch me moments” when you look at the business you have created?
Every now and then I will be at a wedding near the end of the evening when the crowd has moved on to dancing and celebrating. I’ll look around at having 10-20 staff onsite that just executed an amazing event while knowing there is another 20-40 staff throughout Southern Maine executing 2 – 3 other weddings at the same time. Knowing we are making these moments memorable for couples and their guests is pretty amazing considering 5 years ago I was sitting at a desk making cold calls about insurance.
What is something that couples forget to think about when it comes to the food at their wedding?
One thing is making sure they eat something! We always have a platter ready for the couple post ceremony and some couples will take 20 minutes to go off with their new spouse with a cocktail and our food platter to take a moment before the craziness happens.
Do you have a funny food story we can share?
We certainly have some wild stories between food, old trucks racing down the highway and of course cooking with fire at events during the warm, dry summer months.
For a food story, it wouldn’t be honest for any caterer to say they have never forgot an item when packing for an event. But when you find yourself driving 90mph down the interstate from mid-coast Maine to Kennebunk and back in July traffic you start implementing checklists the following week…
Just because, what’s your breakfast of choice?
Right or wrong I survive off Cliff Bars (especially during the wedding season). They are quick, easy to carry around and do the job. Unless we’re talking about Breakfast Taco’s…….I’ve changed my mind, definitely breakfast tacos….in Austin, TX.
I just watched LEMMY which is about the lead singer from the band Motorhead. I’m certainly not a heavy metal type of guy but the lead singer was a true to himself, badass man who lived everyday like it was his last. Pretty cool movie.
Bucket List Travel Destination?
I feel I’ve traveled much of places I’ve wanted to go. I know winter my family and I may be spending a week in Charleston, South Carolina.
Here are a few images we have taken at events with Fire and Company. I can still taste it. Mmmmmm…..
Visit them: Fire and Company