Catersource and Event Solutions Conference & Tradeshow | Session Scheduler | Stephen Zilli

Session Scheduler

View, browse and sort the 2017 Catersource sessions by package type, track, and format. With the CS2017 session scheduler, you can build your education schedule in advance, share it with your team, and access it during the show by exporting your selections.

PLEASE NOTE: Using this schedule builder is for convenience only and does not register you or guarantee a seat in the sessions. Pre-registation through the registration system is required for Workshops and optional events, but all other sessions are first come, first served onsite.

All SessionsSpeakersMy Schedule
View Sessions As:
  
  • Stephen ZilliCOOZilli Hospitality Group

    Stephen Zilli, Director of Operations and an owner at Zilli Hospitality Group, was born and raised near Milwaukee, Wis., the youngest in an Italian-American family of four boys. The company business at that time was a busy restaurant - and all the boys, six-year-old Steph included - were called upon to help. The first restaurant was a Tasti-Freez, and Steph recalls, "I began my career doing dishes at our small diner for .05 per hour. I was only 6 and just wanted to have some fun while spending quality time with mom and dad and brother Jim."


    Young Steph was already invested in the business. He took his pay and remembers, "Each day, I bought my mother avocado green ashtrays so they would have matching ashtrays in our restaurant."


    The diner evolved into a fine dining restaurant and eventually the family expanded the business into catering. What is today Southeastern Wisconsin's most prominent caterer began on a shoestring and a lot of hard work. "We began our catering career with a van we borrowed a family member," says Steph. "We then "graduated" to a Ford station wagon with paneling and no hubcaps."


    Transportation aside, it was again all hands on deck to build the business. "I can remember the first weekend we had two weddings and I was peeling potatoes at 4 am and thinking to myself that when I am out of high school, 'I am out of here and off to college.'


    Steph did get to fulfill that dream of college, but he continued to work in the business while in school. He says, "I did go to college but not out of state as the family business needed me so we could take a third wedding on a weekend - and I could stay until 6 am and peel potatoes." He returned to the business after graduation and has been an integral part of the company's growth and success for more than (how many years).


    By working together, the family business grew and every family member worked every position in the company throughout the past nearly 50 years, and learned valuable lessons through that experience. Steph would say he is a jack of all trades and master of just a few.


    Today ZHG does simple picnics from 25 to 23,000 guests, intimate plated dinners for 12 guests up to 1,000 guests, and everything in between. The business has grown and changed in 50 years, with the third generation of Zillis part of the business today.


    Steph is an owner and Director of Operations. His work involves managing and motivating his team, hiring new associates, and mentoring managers in all positions. He also has his hand in sales, menu development, and financials.


    But at the end of the day, he hasn't forgotten those basic skills. He says, "If we are short handed, I can still get down and dirty."


    Presenting: