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While most kids played Cowboys and Indians or Army while growing up, Richard Nix Jr. played Restaurant Business. As a second-generation operator of Butler’s Pantry, Richard feels fortunate to be involved in a creative, dynamic industry, to be associated with top drawer patrons and many challenging events, and to be working with an extremely talented staff.
Butler’s Pantry, a second-generation business founded in 1966, is a St. Louis food-service company that provides innovative and creative catering services for corporate functions, social and special events, and weddings of all sizes.
Gus: Can you talk about the challenges of running a family business and keeping true to its original vision while still moving forward and innovating?
RN: There are challenges in any business, and while we look to external influences for inspiration to push us forward our focus is always on our clients and their needs. My family has always been my number-one priority and the values that my parents instilled in me have shaped who I am today and how I operate the business. I often use my father, Butler’s Pantry’s founder, as a sounding board.
Gus: What are some tips when planning a corporate event to make sure that the client is communicating a positive statement and the right message to their guests?
RN: We focus on creativity and originality, but we always advise the client to keep their corporate image in mind. We can customize any package to fit our clients’ needs and our staff is dedicated to seamlessly producing top-notch events. It’s not always about how much money you spend, but about what you can do with your budget. Nonprofits are a great example. We serve many non-profit organizations and strive to create quality events while being mindful of limited budgets.
Gus: Can you expand on why you’re so proud of the Butler’s Pantry headquarters and what the move and renovation has meant to the direction of the company and what you’re able to offer your clients?
RN: Moving nearer to downtown St. Louis was a great decision for our company. Besides investing in our city when other companies weren’t, we were also able to utilize an adjacent building, one of the area’s historic sites, for a client venue. In addition, our commissary staff now operates out of one location. Before we moved we had employees at multiple locations. We’re firing on all cylinders and maximizing our creative energy by interacting with other employees during the work day. Having all our team members under one roof enables us to create events that are even more creative and unique.
Gus: Can you share some examples of how you are constantly expanding the Butler’s Pantry brand to exceed your customer’s expectations?
RN: As a staff, we review every event after it is over to analyze what worked and how we can improve next time. We don’t focus on any moment that didn’t happen according to plan, but we look for ways to capitalize on the highlights of each event. We consistently look at ways to give the client greater value and make operations more efficient and streamlined.
Gus: What are some of your core philosophies when it comes to the art of entertaining?
RN: It is essential to keep the clients’ perspective in mind when creating events. Our staff works to develop a relationship with our clients. We need to understand what the client has envisioned for the event and develop the structure to make their vision a reality. Our goal: deliver what is promised and strive to exceed expectations.
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