I. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
This paper is a study about Creative Edge Parties, a thriving catering and service company in New York. It has been in the industry, serving restaurant-quality food and service, for 25 years. Carla Ruben leads her team through the mission and vision of delivering quality events. It is estimated that the company profits $500, 000 to $1 million annually.It received the “Best Caterer” award via the Bizbash magazine, a publication on event planning. Despite this, the recognition as the most popular caterer goes to Le Pierre while the top rated company is Amoraco. This is through Thumbstack, a search engine of food and service. Thus, to maintain business, Creative Edge adapts well to consumption and reservation behavior.
Creative Edge Parties is New York City's “go-to caterer for unique, entertaining, and delectable events” (The Franklin Report, n.d.). It handles various activities from product launches to corporate parties and weddings.
Considering a career in event designing, the researcher aims is to explore the most prestigious catering and events service company in New York City, the Creative Edge Parties. In this regard, the purpose of this paper is to explore Creative Edge Parties, the most prestigious catering and Event Company in New York area. The elements investigated include the mission and vision, history, Human Resource strategies, organizational details. Corporate citizenship, green initiatives are also detailed. The company’s competitive set and target market are also detailed. A thorough self-analysis to determine a correctness of fit is presented. This research is based on company websites, trade journal articles and interviews with management, employees and a client of the company.
III. MISSION AND VISION STATEMENT
The mission of Creative Edge is to “deliver the highest quality and the most interesting events the world of catering has to offer” ” (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2006). It serves to exceed the expectations of clients through the finest food and imaginative designs for the discriminating New Yorker clients. The company believes and envisions that this is achieved when the “creation and service of food to the clients are at par with the most exciting and innovative restaurants”(Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2006).
There’s a saying that “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. As for this company, it is not only the clients’ tastes that are being satiated but their sights as well. The company’s services extend to creating unforgettable experiences that would keep clients wanting more.
Carla Ruben began Creative Edge Parties in 1989out of a small New York apartment. She did everything from cooking and driving the van, bartending and bussing tables. Twenty-one years later, BizBash magazine awarded the company as the “Best Caterer”.The company also received the “Best Catering at an Event” award a year later. It was recognized for its work on the Target Read Across America campaign. For more than 20 years of being trusted by big clients such as Vanity Fair and Chanel, Creative Edge is known as one of New York City’s most respected caterers (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; Berg et al., 2012).
V. ORGANIZATIONAL FACTS
Creative Edge is composed of 50 full-time staff. More than a hundred work part-time. Its past clients include Morgan Stanley, Harry Winston, Vogue,Vanity Fair, and the New York Public Library. The company caters to a 1,800-person lunch and a 2,300-person seated dinner (Berg et al., 2012; The Franklin Report, n.d.).They served a 2,400-seated dinner at a Wella event(Goldberg, 2014).
As shown in Figure 1 below, the company employs five times more than the average number of employees in a New York catering business. The company also yields $500, 000 to $1 million annually, as shown in the business information in Figure 2. Compared to the average revenue earned by catering businesses in New York, as shown in Figure 3, the company rakes in bigger profits by around $220, 000.
Figure 1 : Average Estimated Employees (GIS Planning Inc., 2014)
Figure 2 Business Information (Manta Media Inc., 2013)
Figure 3 Average Estimated Revenue (GIS Planning Inc., 2014)
VI. HUMAN RESOURCE STRATEGIES
Aiming for innovation would be difficult if only one chef works for it. Thus, the company believes that its products and services would come from a collaboration of ideas, skills, and inspiration.With this, the Creative Edge Culinary Council was established. It is a global exchange program that brings guest chefs to cook in New York. Meanwhile, the company sends its own chefs to other cities to learn new techniques.Furthermore, the staff works tirelessly to orchestrate the client’s ideal event (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; Berg et al., 2012).
The company is able to keep its quality employees by providing them with a competitive salary. As seen in Figure 4 below, Creative Edge has a salary index of 1.6 to 2.00. Compared to the national compensation trend shown on Figure 5, the company follows the average salary index, which is in between1.00 and 2.00.
Figure 4 Salary Trend (Indeed.com, n.d.)
Figure 5 National Compensation Trends (PayScale Inc., 2014)
VII. MANAGEMENT STYLE: Narrative Organizational Structure
Carla Ruben is the president and owner of Creative Edge. She encourages creativity among her people and leads the company towards fine food and design of service. Brooke Parrish Whiteside, Senior Event Director, studied ballet and gained an appreciation for details. She applied this discipline in meticulous events planning. George Henderson, another Senior Event Director, found a theater company in Fordham University. Due to the growth of the theater, he had to take a job to finance the productions. That was when he stumbled upon the catering industry and applied his love for putting up a great show. On the other hand, Keith Berg worked as an executive chef for 14 years before coming to the Creative Edge Parties. He still delivers the same passion for taste now that he belongs to the company (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.).
VIII. CORPORATE CITIZENSHIP, GREEN INITIATIVES
- Food is made from natural and organic local ingredients.
- The company invests on its people. It provides training and compensates the staff well. This ensures that the quality of services is on point.
In terms of corporate responsibility, a company has to take care of its shareholders, both the internal and external. In this case, the external shareholders of Creative Edge are its customers. Serving good food from healthy produce would make their customers healthy as well. On the other hand, the customers are treated well because of the staff. Due to the company’s corporate responsibility towards its internal shareholder, which in this case is the staff, they are able to deliver quality service.
IX. COMPETITIVE SET
According to Thumbstack (2014), the most popular company is Le Pierre Caterers. It is a full service catering company that elegantly offers delicious dishes on various events. It is extending its services to events planning as well. On the other hand, the top rated company is Amoraco. It focuses in cocktail style events. Nonetheless, it also offers buffet set-ups with a full bar especially for corporate events (Thumbstack, 2014). These are the other companies that share most of the catering market.
X. TARGET MARKET AND GUEST EXPECTATIONS
Based on geographic location and psychographic segmentation, Creative Edge caters to the New Yorkers who love restaurant food and dining services. Culinary excellence and spot-on event management are expected. With one call, clients trust Creative Edge to handle everything with style, sophistication, and aplomb (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; The Franklin Report, n.d.).
XI. SERVICE STRATEGIES, PHILOSOPHIES
Branding is one of the essential strategies a company does in taking a position inside the consumer’s mind. Through the name Creative Edge, it signifies the primary value behind the quality of every performance. This is why it is known as the go-to place for catering (White, 2008).
The company is an advocate of creativity such that it allows its chefs to learn and explore other cuisines and techniques from other experts and cities. To yield an interesting flare in its food and service, the staff gives attention to details and comes up with new and inventive ways of presenting great food and in executing unforgettable events (Creative Edge Parties, n.d.; Feuer, 2014).
Its service strategies adapt well to the clients’ consumption behavior. For example, it took the insight that “people prefer to be spoon-fed”. Thus, the staff served bite-sized mouthfuls of food on silver spoons, which were placed on a tray. With this, the food and service become a clean appetizer and a signature menu (Stevens, 1998).
Another example addressed the problem of random cancellations. There are times when clients change the scope of a party from departmental to company-wide. As such, CEO Carla Ruben asserts that it is a must to save three sets of decors, bands, and venues (Foderaro, 2008).
Interview with Carla Ruben, CEO of Creative Edge Parties
Q: What do you like about events planning?
A: I like that it challenges our creativity the most. It forces us to come up with new ideas, new approaches, and new foods.
Q: How did you become one of the best caterers in the city? It’s one thing to be creative and another to be appreciated by your clients. How did you manage to wow them every time?
A: It’s about relating to each one of them. For example, women in their 20s, especially when they get invited to weddings, they see all the good stuff that makes the event as if it’s a dream come true. That’s when they think they want to top them when it’s their turn and that’s exactly what we bring them.
Q: It’s exciting what Creative Edge has yet to pull-off on its next events. So, what is your future plan for the company?
A: We are in our 20th year and have really set the standard in entertaining. Our future is to continue leading the industry with new ideas in terms of food and presentation.
Interview with Brooke Parrish Whitside, a Senior Event Director of Creative Edge Parties
Q: What brought you to one of the best caterers in the city?
A: The discipline in events planning is what drew me in and Creative Edge opened the opportunity for me to do what I do best. What we do here is very much into the details. It’s what makes us the best. It’s close to my heart since I, too, am into details.
Q: How is it working with Creative Edge?
A: It’s fun! You know what makes the job as amazing as it already is? It’s the people. We bring the best in each other.
Q: What would you tell someone who’s dreaming of getting into this industry?
A: Well, get ready to rock your world! Just be yourself, bring the fantabulous you and you’ll do great.
Interview with Kate, a client
Q: What event did Creative Edge do for you and how was it?
A: My wedding! It was fabulous! The foodincredible, everything was just beautiful.
Q: What made you pick Creative Edge over the others?
A: They brought the first course for me and my family to taste. They incorporated all our favorites! The food is delicious, well priced. It’s just done right, no frills. They are known as caterers but for me, they truly are coordinators, not just caterers.
Q: Would you recommend them to your friends?
A: Yeah, definitely! I cannot recommend them highly enough.
XIII. SELF ANALYSIS
Utilizing an egg as the company’s logo is meaningful and I definitely relate to it. The egg represents the beginning of all creativity, as well as new and endless opportunities. It symbolizes goodness and it is the most essential ingredient in a myriad of sublime cuisine (Creative Edge Parties, 2012).
They encourage people to create, grow, design, and explore their passions. They strive for high-end trendy creativity in every single aspect of Event Production. I would love that artistry and freedom in my career as I have a strong inclination towards visual set-ups. I believe in working for a company that builds and contributes to the bigger picture. My input as an employee would be important to them.
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