Head of Sales UKHarry Bennett
Tell us a little about your background in Hospitality.
I’m originally from Edinburgh and I was born into hospitality. My dad owned bars when I was younger, Harry’s Bar was probably the main one. I remember being about 5 or 6 at the time and that was my childhood until about 15 which is when I went to the back and started doing dishes to earn pocket money.
When I turned 19, I found myself working in a cocktail bar run by a guy from London who knew his drinks really well and was all about presentation and flair. The guy I was on the bar with was a TGI’s bartender who was all about fun and high volume which gave a really nice balance and I loved it. I gave up my other job and committed to working there full time, moved up to manager by the time I was 23. I worked there for about 6 years and it was “thrown in the deep end” kinda learning but that was a big part of my early days.
I also worked for David Lloyd for their F&B department before I started managing a struggling pub, building and developing the team and refurbishing it, to quickly turn it around. I worked with a few openings and then finished my front of house career as GM of one of Edinburgh’s best high-volume cocktail bars and won Cocktail Bar of The Year at the SLTN awards.
I was head hunted to join Flow as a business development manager almost 6 years ago now. As much as I miss being behind the bar it was a natural next step for me in my hospitality career and I get to work with some of the most incredible hospitality brands across the world.
Were you named after the bar or the bar named after you?!
Haha my dad’s name is Harry so I guess he named it after himself and then after me…there’s just a lot of Harrys!
What is your favourite thing about working with hospitality brands?
The passion and energy of the people within it has always been the most amazing thing about it, with the hours they put in and the hard work but also the innovation of the industry. Lockdown is a great example of this looking at what businesses have done and how they’ve adapted with takeaways to get through this, and finally the community spirit where everyone pulls together, like on Hospolive where you have two brands that would never be seen together all of a sudden on the same channel discussing all things hospitality.
What would you say your favourite cocktail is and why?
Easy, a daiquiri just because it has 3 ingredients and is perfectly balanced drink, for me cocktails are all about balance, so when done properly there’s nothing better.
What customer challenges do you enjoy the most?
In Flow it is about providing bespoke solutions based on customers’ requirements, which is exactly the same as when you’re in a bar and trying to get the right drink based on what they like. It is all about tailoring to a person’s needs with both which is what I enjoy doing, finding out what customers want and need and giving a solution for that. Within our industry everything is at 100mph but nobody has any time for anything so having something that can automate a lot of the processes I would have loved to have had when I was working in a bar.
After lockdown what place are you most excited to go back to?
If we are talking about food it is Dishoom 100% just because you can’t recreate that, I know they have a cook book, but with no disrespect no one can create that at home. If it is drinking then it has to be London Cocktail club, because I can make drinks at home but can’t create that atmosphere anywhere else.
Your favourite/best story about working on a bar
This is interesting because there’s a lot I can’t say here, keeping it clean and professional. Back in the day when I was running the first cocktail bar and was working 100 hour weeks and typically on my day off, it must have been a Tuesday as every other day I was working, it was the film premier of revenge of the Sith and Gail Porter and Sarah MacDonald must have been to the premier, they end up coming into the bar on this night, the one day I wasn’t working, and I never saw them but they left me a film poster as my colleagues had said how annoyed I’d be for not being there at the time. So she signed the poster and left me the original film poster which I got framed and it is still on my wall to this day.