Be Our Guest, Inc.
In 1983, Stephen Lizio integrated his wide array of experiences in the wine and food industry to find Be Our Guest, Inc. in 1983. Primarily serving caterers, the company initially provided only labor through wait-staff but eventually expanded their services to include equipment like tables and chairs, which became the foundation of the business. Lizio gradually developed a core management team, comprising of himself as the Chairman, Al Lovata as the CEO, and Simone Williamson as the President. Together, they successfully emphasized the service aspect of their company and became a leading provider of party rental equipment in the Boston Metropolitan area. Taking advantage of their prime location in the Roxbury section of Boston and undertaking any project or job asked of them, Be Our Guest founded themselves in the upper end of the market with an expansive network. Even with all of their success, Lizio, Lovata, and Williamson faced several issues, whether against their competitors, troubles with their financial situation, “seasonal” riskiness of the business, and most importantly, their relationship with State Street Bank.
Although Be Our Guest was a dominant force in equipment rental, their “full service” did not consist of providing tents. They may end up saving on high labor costs and prevent themselves from incurring lower margins but nonetheless, they lose at least $20,000 in revenue per order. Aside from tents, the company’s other competitors are not as significant as they mostly include other businesses who either generate the same profits or handle larger jobs yet take up less market share. They made sure that from just the catering perspective, caterers would contact them unless they had their own rental operations, which is also viable competition.
In terms of Be Our Guest’s financial situation, they saw an exponential increase in revenue, from $990,000 in 1991 to $2.7 million in 1997. While gross profits maintained...
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