We at cefashion.net had the pleasure of interviewing Ani Keshishian, the Director of Human Resources at one of the top catering services in Tinseltown, L.A. Banquets. At L.A. Banquets, Ani has assembled a close-knit team that keeps everything running smoothly in the often high stress business of Los Angeles catering. In addition to her success with planning and hosting events in Los Angeles, she places high value on each employee and has established an environment that fosters personal growth – not the easiest accomplishment at a catering service. Ani embraces her personal motto, “the best attitude is gratitude” when working with several charities and actively participates in the SAK Foundation.
Please tell us a little about yourself: what’s your job exactly, how long you’ve been at it, can you give a few details about your family life, what’re your favorite foods/ dishes to see at large catering gigs, what made you decide to focus on Los Angeles events for your career anyway?
I am USC alumni and I also have a BS in Psychology and MBA. As the wife of Vrej Sarkissian, CEO of L.A Banquets and Anoush Catering – the latter being one of the top event venues Los Angeles centered – I wanted to put my efforts into our personal business rather than the corporate world and develop a team that would really excel.
How did you become an expert in throwing parties/ celebrations in the first place? Any advice for wannabes at event planning in Los Angeles?
I love entertaining! From a younger age I would help my family throw our celebrations and got involved with each of our events, from birthday parties to weddings and more. I come from a deep culture that loves to enjoy life’s moments and that throws extravagant events for every special occasionl, so I grew up with people that became some of the greatest event professionals due to shared passion.
The biggest mistake for wannabes is that they overthink it. They overthink the event and they over leverage themselves. Really creating an environment with experts and letting them lead and do what they do best will get them to their final destination.
How many people does it take to make a successful LA events and catering service, one that runs smoothly and efficiently? What are the roles involved?
There isn’t really a magic number. The magic is in the attention to detail and the passion for what they do. At Anoush specifically, it is our mission is to bring people together over an amazing meal and create memories that last a lifetime. With that passion a few people can do so much more.
What’s something about event catering or working in the catering business that most people take for granted, or don’t realize is very time consuming or intensive?
How hard we work behind the scenes. After 30 years in the business we have worked on making things easy for our clients. The simplest of advice may have taken 10 years to not only learn exactly what to say but also be able to execute it on our side. Our chefs work tirelessly each day and our team makes everything seamless so that you can feel like a guest at your own event.
What are your general rules for event planning with your service? What do you expect from your staff every time?
Commitment to the guest experience and to keep a smile on your face. Every event is different and every guest has their own needs. Treating everyone with respect and with a smile is the key to success.
What’s the gamut of events you serve for? How long has Anoush been in the catering business?
For the past 30 years Anoush has hosted events of all kinds. From social events to corporate parties to fundraisers and more.
What’s the biggest event Anoush’s done so far?
We have a 3,500 person catering event for the Students Run LA Association upcoming on February 14th.
What was the most fun?
Every event is fun!
What’s the weirdest?
One thing that we have learned is that no event is really weird other than out of the ordinary. Everyone has a reason to host what they think is their ideal event. Part of the magic is becoming a part of their vision and making it a reality.
What advice do you have for people when comparing different catering services?
Do your research before you go anywhere. Ask around. Explore your options. And make a list, specifically a list of what you think is most important and ask them how they are going to get you there.
Tell us a little bit more about the sister company, LA Banquets. How long has it been around? Its target customer?
L.A. Banquets has existed since 2010. We have always had the venues that comprise L.A. Banquets. They were called the Anoush Banquet Halls which is also the name for the catering company. We realized that for each to grow and expand on their own they needed to be distinct companies. We have been able to expand Anoush and make it even better than before and do the same with the venues as well.
Tell us about the different local event venues available through LA Banquets, and which work best for what types of events. What makes these spaces special compared to, say, a conference hall at a local hotel?
The L.A. Banquets venues are fit for every type of event and we have hosted every type of event in each. The Brandview Ballroom is an historical landmark that was built in the 1920’s. When you want to go big, go with the Brandview Ballroom in Glendale. It’s one of the most opulent L0s Angeles wedding venues, offering 13,000 ornately designed square feet of event space for your wedding reception, anniversary party, family reunion, corporate event, or quinceañera. It is also the largest banquet hall & wedding venue in Glendale, CA.
Le Foyer Ballroom in North Hollywood offers eye-popping elegance for up to 550 guests. It’s more than just a venue for your wedding reception, bar or bat mitzvah, or other milestone event: Le Foyer is an experience that your guests will never forget. We have customized the venue, and offer affordable options to make your special day even more special. When you look at the Glenoaks Ballroom, several different words or phrases will come to mind: Classy, spacious, elegant, attention to detail. gleaming, imported marble and handcrafted woodwork lend stylish, classic, and historical elegance to every inch of the venue. The marble captures every glimmer of light from the luminous chandeliers, creating a radiant, breathtaking atmosphere.
Want a different look? L.A. Banquets can bring in alternate materials for the dance floor, drape the walls in your choice of fabric and color, and customize the venue to match your personal style. As our most affordable venue the Galleria Ballroom is still one of our crown jewels and you will never feel as though we have spared our quality for cheap and inexpensive options. If Jane Austen and Downton Abbey are your guilty pleasures, then you’ll feel right at home in the Galleria Ballroom. When the wooden doors open, your guests will step into a room worthy of the Darcys and the Crawleys. This classic masterpiece has a Victorian design, high ceilings, marbled foyer and a capacity of 250. Open seven days a week we invite you to take a trip back in time on a tour of the ballroom today.
Similar to previous question: What’s something about venue-operating and renting that most people take for granted or don’t realize is very time consuming or intensive?
The attention to detail that has already been put into the venue. Placement of dance floors, head tables, the design… a successful venue has flexibility and has been planned and executed well.
Do you have any specials, with either company, coming up that you would like to alert people in LA about?
Yes, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary and are offering promotional pricing for all new bookings. [Editor’s Note: Check out the LA Banquets promotions page for the special!]
I’ve always wondered: Who cleans up after BIG venue parties anyway? Does LA Banquets have its own rub and scrub crew?
We do! We take great pride in our venues and want to make sure that we are in the finest of shape not only for your event but also for the tours that we give seven days a week.