Denise Righetti is a Hospitality, Marketing & Event Planning/Management Veteran. She started her company, Savor Our City in 2014 which allows her to utilize her knowledge and passion for bringing like-minded people together to experience all that a destination has to offer from a culinary perspective.
Her company develops & operates historical walking food tours & unique culinary experiences (wine tastings, cooking classes, mixology classes, craft beer tastings & scavenger hunts) for corporate (and social) groups looking for team building/bonding & client appreciation events.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Denise Righetti: Thank you for inviting me to be interviewed for your magazine. My name is Denise Righetti and I am the Founder/CFO (Chief Foodie Officer) as well as our CWO (Chief Wine-O) for Savor Our City. I started the company 8.5 years ago after leaving my role as Marketing Manager for the largest property owner in Downtown Boca, the city where I have lived for 20+ years.
During my tenure with my former company, I was responsible for helping to promote our tenants’ businesses- over 100+ mom & pop restaurants. I became known as “The Foodie Girl” , someone who had their pulse on all the latest restaurant openings and best places to take out of town guests or local groups needing a venue to host small luncheons.
I started creating these tasting events to help drive traffic to our restaurants and simply called them “Denise’s Foodie Events” – they were instantly a big hit with both the restaurants and the foodies who attended them. I would rotate the restaurants each month and create a multi course tasting menu for one fixed price, which on average came to $40 per person, inclusive of tax, gratuity and 1 glass of wine or cocktail (I began this back in 2009).
Eventually, I went off on my own and formed Savor Our City. We are a hybrid between a media/marketing company and a culinary experience company. Savor Our City was started in 2014 with one single weekly historical walking food tour in Delray Beach called “Taste Atlantic Ave”. Today, we have expanded both the geographically, covering all of South FL & Central FL, as well as other cities across the country..
If you were in an elevator with Warren Buffet, how would you describe your company, your services or products? What makes your company different from others? What is your company’s biggest strength?
Denise Righetti: Savor Our City excels in creating custom small group culinary-focused experiences. Our signature experience is our customized photo scavenger hunts which our corporate clients love because we incorporate several of their core values, catch phrases, etc into the clues and we provide them with a keepsake video at the end highlighting their fun time together.
Besides our scavenger hunts and food tours, we are booked quite often for our hands-on cooking classes as well as our “Iron Chef” or “Chopped” style cooking competitions, our Mix & Munch classes, Perfect Pairings experiences, Highway to Hops Brewery tours and more…
From team building to convention groups, client appreciation groups to unique networking events, holiday parties, shore excursions and marketing support for restaurants. We are a small company and as the owner, I take great pride in responding to inquiries immediately. I am told over and over by clients how impressed they are with my responsiveness.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Denise Righetti: We have launched a new website and have expanded our network to allow us to now serve our customers in many key cities nationwide. We completed our 3rd year providing marketing and event planning services for the Economic Development department of the City of Tamarac, FL.
My team and I created a new campaign for the city called “Savor the Flavors” Tamarac which kept us quite busy this past year. We had developed a brand new website www.FlavorsofTamarac.com, designed an interactive digital “Flavor” map and ran a month long Restaurant Bingo game. This was definitely something I am proud that my team and I pulled off.
What advice do you wish you received when you started your business journey and what do you intend on improving in the next quarter?
Denise Righetti: Get a CRM and learn to automate. I’m pretty old school and I am just getting around to implementing some tools that will help my business run more efficiently. Also I intend to hire someone to help me with our social media posts and looking into more partnerships/collaborations in 2023.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Denise Righetti: When the pandemic first hit and prevented us from doing our in-person events, we did pivot to offer virtual online experiences. We did some, but not as many as we thought we’d do. Coming out of the drenches of COVID, with corporate groups and cruise lines getting the green light to start traveling again has resulted in a boost to our business. We are busier than ever and our group sizes have increased considerably as well..
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Denise Righetti: I suppose I have had to overcome obstacles as a Founder of a company who has boot strapped the business entirely without taking on any partners, investors or debt. I am sure that my company would have grown faster had I decided to raise capital. I have enjoyed having full control over the decisions and direction of my company, The challenge is I am getting so busy that I need to find, hire and train more guides to keep up with demand.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Denise Righetti: In my opinion, the most underestimated part of running a company is planning for emergency cancellations, such as COVID and Hurricanes. If it weren’t for the governments’ support through PPP and SBA programs, we would have been wiped out. Fortunately, we made it out alive and are bouncing back with a vengeance.
What does success in the year to come mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Denise Righetti: We are excited to continue to build upon our business with our Destination Management Company partners, our cruise line partners as well as develop new collaborations that we feel will really help grow our presence and bookings nationally, and perhaps we will start offering our experiences globally again (we ran a successful 10 course “Clandestine Dinner” in Barcelona for sponsors of a big Meeting & Events Planning Conference in Barcelona in 2019).
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Denise Righetti for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Denise Righetti or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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