Huntington Catering has been on our list of preferred vendors for years. They never fail to provide exceptional service and high-quality food. Earlier this month, we met with founder Justin Prietto at their office to talk about how HC came to be. The space just happens to daylight as a great coffee shop–another idea that stemmed from their catering roots. Read on to learn more about this special company, as well as what other ventures Justin is involved in.
Tell us how you became the founder of Huntington Catering.
I started Huntington Catering in October of 2007 with my mom, Barbara. Technically she’s the boss, but I’m just taller and she looks like my sister, so everyone assumes I’m in charge.
What sets you apart from other catering companies?
We work with our clients to walk through the process of planning their event from a unique catering perspective. Our event quote is as much a tool as it is an invoice. Nothing we do is magic or secret. We’ve developed our systems from years of experience and incremental improvement through 20/20 hindsight.
Name one of your favorite venues in Pasadena to cater at.
The Rose Bowl. So much history.
Tell us about the team dynamic at HC.
We are very family-oriented. Literally. Mom is my business partner. Our corporate culture is built around learning how to do our job a little better each time and supporting our team members. Building a team through clear and effective communication is step one.
What is the most valuable thing you have learned in this business?
By far, I believe the most valuable tool in all business is the ability to effectively convey an idea or process so that your team can share in the success of its implementation.
Why should clients rent furniture from you, as well as have you cater their food?
Rentals are pretty simple. Normally when renting from us, they will avoid dealing with another vendor, another truck, and another delivery fee. We still partner with larger rental houses to get our clients what they want when we do not have it in our inventory. Food is a bit more tricky. I don’t really suggest clients select us as their caterer until they try the food for themselves. There is no way I can explain to anyone what our food is like better than them testing it out first hand. Pictures and reviews help, but it’s really more of a personal experience than that.
Have there been any new and exciting additions to your menu recently?
Of course we have. All the time. Currently we’re re-thinking Eggs Benedict for our soon-to-open Sunday brunch restaurant. We are replacing the English muffin bottom with a… See you Sunday!
What’s your favorite comfort food?
Pizza and tacos.
What other ventures are you currently involved in?
We plan to soon release a custom catering software solution. It started about six years ago and during the past two years, we’ve been prepping for it to be put in the hands of caterers all across Southern California and hopefully the nation. Heck, maybe even Europe.
(To see just how adventurous Justin is, scroll all the way down to see his other projects!)
What do you like to do during your down time?
I love surfing, yoga, reading, and afternoon naps.
How do you see Huntington Catering in five years?
I see premeditated ten percent net growth year after year, and one hundred percent satisfied investors. I see zero problems and a set of 20 clap-pushups before each staff meeting. I see HC riding the social media bologna-pony to an eventual celebrity plateau of peaches and cream served up by Hollywood’s A-list and at the same time, employing the C-list. I see no graffiti on our trucks. I see no traffic on the drive to Malibu. OR I see us doing much of the same. Working hard. Taking care of our clients as if they were family (even when they are). I see us learning each week how to expand our abilities as caterers and team members. I see us continuing to explore and have fun with a world of food and service though this lovely act of catering.
Justin Kawika Anderson Prietto
P. S. In five years, I also see us paying taxes to a more qualified POTUS. Whoops! Not sure if that’s blog-friendly. Just being real.
We’d like to thank the wonderful Loreen Sarkis for the photos! Interested in what more can Justin offer? See below.
www.hcmenu.com | Full-Service Special Events Catering
www.kontikitaco.com | Mobile Taco Cart
www.indybev.com | ABC-Licensed Catering Service
www.eventsupportunion.com | Event Staffing
www.jeffreyvalet.com | Event Valet Service
www.pielifepizza.com | New York Take-Out Pizza
www.lostparrotcafe.com | Coffee Shop