“Exceptional” Is Standard Fare at Verizon Innovation Center The Verizon Innovation Center near Boston, Massachusetts is where next-generation services that use advanced mobile wireless technologies are developed, tested and showcased. More than just a research facility, it’s a wellspring of inspiration for new ideas and excellence. Quality comes first. And cookie-cutter practices don’t succeed. So when it comes to partnering with a corporate dining provider, Café Services is the clear choice for Verizon over most other Massachusetts corporate food services companies. Like Verizon, Café Services recognizes that a robust corporate dining program is a smart investment for a company that thrives on the free-flowing exchange of ideas. "When employees eat in together, they talk about what they’re working on and exchange ideas," says Café Services chef manager, Fred. "It’s good for productivity and it’s good for the bottom line." Captivating Diners Every Single Day. Fred manages a vigorous corporate dining program for Verizon that includes a full-service dining facility and a catering division run by Cafe Services private chef, Stephen. On any given day, Fred will serve up to 150 lunches in the dining room. Stephen will cater to up to 100 people a day in the Innovation Center, a venue for showcasing the company’s creativity to high profile collaborators and sponsors—such as the Verizon Board of Directors and private investors from professional sports and other elite fields. In a first-class environment like this, the Café Services mission is to deliver a dining experience that’s as distinct and superior in quality as the products and services Verizon produces. The catering menu can be lavish—featuring rich desserts, artisan breads, and on occasion, gourmet foods like Kobe beef and lobster. The corporate dining room, table linens and serving ware are spotless. When "exceptional" is standard fare, the stakes are high. And the competition among Massachusetts corporate food services companies is strong. Fred embraces these challenges with a passion for people and culinary excellence that’s a Café Services hallmark. "My job is to captivate my customers, every single day," says Fred. "But I’m passionate about what I do, and I’m driven by the motivation to do something different every day to keep diners excited." Nurturing A Culture of Creativity. At Café Services, chef managers like Fred are given the latitude and encouragement to do things differently. Unlike many Massachusetts corporate food services companies, it’s part of the Café Services culture. Fred firmly believes it’s a big reason why the company attracts the best chefs in the industry. "Café Services gives me the freedom to work the way I want. I empower my associates in the same way. Because when they’re excited about the food we’re serving or the events we’re running, it rubs off on our customers." Fred invites his associates to contribute ideas and special skills that add authenticity to themed cultural and seasonal events—like handcrafting a decorative scarecrow for a harvest meal; or, suggesting a family recipe for an ethnic food festival. Contests that reward winners with a free meal are a popular draw. To create a bustling, marketplace ambiance, Fred props cookbooks on stands at the soup station and stocks glass display shelves with locally produced specialty foods. Premium Quality Food—The Main Attraction. Like at most Café Services dining establishments, the main attraction at Verizon is the premium quality food. Fred is a master at preparing meals in smart, creative ways that are both tasteful and cost-effective. This is a priority at Verizon where Prime Rib and artisan pizza are expectations, rather than exceptions. A culinary artist to the core, Fred welcomes the opportunity to be inventive and measures his success by the enthusiastic feedback he gets frequently from happy customers. "Customers go out of their way to tell me when they’ve enjoyed a meal,"says Fred. "It goes to show that when we keep platters full and put quality first, everything else falls into place."