Vibrant Occasions Catering is led by Chef Serge Krikorian and his wife, Mary Krikorian. Their leadership stems from their compassion for others…after all, that is what the hospitality industry is all about. Over the past couple of years, Serge and Mary have been implementing company culture enhancements in their business in an effort to create the best workplace environment and employee experience. Because our employees are happy and feel supported, we know that our staff is our business’ “secret sauce” that sets our catering company apart. Happy employees create happy customers. 


Before we delve more into these company enhancements, let’s learn a little more about Serge and Mary Krikorian.

Mary Krikorian


Mary Krikorian was born and raised in Arkansas.  After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Henderson State University in Business Administration, she attended the University of Arkansas School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate.  After passing the bar exam, she clerked for a judge for a couple of years but decided that practicing law was not where her passion lay.  At that point, she and her husband purchased an old, run-down pizza parlor and revived it called Sergio’s Pizza.  They then took that pizza restaurant to the top 1% in the nation for independent pizza restaurants.   After a few years, they knew the restaurant business was not for them.  Mary booked their first official catering gig, much to Serge’s surprise. They began receiving more and more requests for catering luncheons and events. The catering business took over after six months and they never looked back.  They have three sons who often work in the business around their academic and career schedules, making their enterprise a family-built business. 


Serge Krikorian

Serge Krikorian was born in Lebanon and moved to the United States with his family as an adult entering college.  He now hails from the quaint town of Benton, Arkansas. His southern hospitality paired with his penchant for developing unique international fusion-style recipes, especially sauces, has garnered his reputation as foodies’ fan favorite in his community and now on the Youtube space for his cooking show, Cooking with the Kriks. Krikorian is an alumnus of Henderson State University where he studied business earning his Bachelor’s Degree and met his wife, Mary. He earned his MBA from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. Serge became a restaurant entrepreneur when he purchased an old, run-down pizza parlor he and Mary revived called Sergio’s Pizza, but soon switched course to the catering business. The catering business took over after six months and they never looked back.

“The ‘secret sauce’ in our company is our commitment to invest in our staff and our company culture. We regularly invest in training and education for our team and we mean it when we tell people that our team is our biggest asset and our biggest strength. It’s not just rhetoric or a cliche. We have put together many internal systems that reinforce our commitment to our staff. It started with our motto, Make it Vibrant Everyday (MIVE). When we see team members doing something that goes above and beyond they are recognized for it in front of their peers. At our weekly MIVE Culture Club luncheons, we hand out Kindness Komments, kind words that our staff has written about their co-workers which are read out loud. We also actively promote social interaction among our staff outside of work – picnics, parties, and other group activities. Our core values are not just something we came up with and put on the wall and then promptly forgot about. We try to actively live our core values on a daily basis. We believe that if we create a fun, supportive working environment that our staff enjoys coming to, it translates to better customer service and greater customer satisfaction in a highly competitive service industry.” – Mary Krikorian, Managing Partner/Catering Coordinator at Vibrant Occasions Catering (and chef Serge’s wife)

Serge and Mary Krikorian embrace leading their team with compassion which can lead to numerous benefits, including increased employee satisfaction, improved productivity, higher retention rates, and enhanced innovation. By creating the best employee experience, it has been found that companies can cultivate a positive work environment where employees feel valued, motivated, and engaged. This inevitably translates over into the customer experience so it’s a win-win all around.

Here are some ways Vibrant Occasions have created an exceptional employee experience that any organization can implement:


  1. Foster a Culture of Trust and Transparency: Encourage open communication, active listening, and transparency within the organization. This helps build trust among employees and management, leading to stronger relationships and a more positive work environment.


  1. Provide Opportunities for Growth and Development: Offer professional development programs, training sessions, mentorship opportunities, and career advancement paths. Employees feel motivated and engaged when they have opportunities to learn and grow within their roles.


  1. Prioritize Work-Life Balance: Promote work-life balance by implementing flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options, flexible schedules, or compressed workweeks. Supporting employees in achieving a healthy work-life balance contributes to their overall well-being and job satisfaction.


  1. Recognize and Reward Achievements: Implement recognition and reward programs that celebrate and acknowledge employees’ accomplishments and contributions. It can be through public recognition, bonuses, incentives, or other forms of appreciation that align with the company’s values.


  1. Enhance Collaboration and Teamwork: Foster a collaborative work environment by providing tools, resources, and spaces that encourage teamwork and idea-sharing. This can include collaborative platforms, team-building activities, cross-functional projects, and regular opportunities for collaboration.


  1. Prioritize Employee Wellness: Promote employee wellness initiatives, such as wellness programs, gym memberships, mental health support, and stress management resources. Encouraging a healthy lifestyle and providing resources for physical and mental well-being can contribute to happier and more productive employees.


  1. Create a Positive Physical Workspace: Design and maintain office spaces that are comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and conducive to productivity. Incorporate elements such as natural light, ergonomic furniture, inspiring artwork, and communal areas that encourage interaction and creativity.


  1. Solicit and Act on Employee Feedback: Regularly seek feedback from employees through surveys, town hall meetings, or anonymous suggestion boxes. Act upon their feedback and suggestions to continuously improve the employee experience based on their needs and preferences.


  1. Embrace Diversity and Inclusion: Create an inclusive workplace that respects and values diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. Foster an environment where all employees feel included, heard, and empowered to contribute their unique talents.


  1. Lead by Example: Ensure that leaders and managers exemplify the desired employee experience by embodying the company’s values, fostering a positive work culture, and treating employees with respect and empathy.


By implementing these steps, companies like Vibrant Occasions are creating a workplace that prioritizes the well-being and growth of its employees, leading to a positive employee experience and ultimately driving organizational success.

“People won’t remember how you led them. They will remember the influences you’ve had on their lives.”  Tommy Spaulding, New York Times bestselling author of The Heart-Led Leader: How Living and Leading from the Heart Will Change Your Organization and Your Life

Thank you to Lori Sparkman photography for the headshots and several other photos sprinkled throughout this blog post. All others taken by Vibrant Occasions staff.

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