Brigitte Zaki, Apollo Global Management
This month’s Member Spotlight features Brigitte Zaki, Head of Administrative Support and Office Manager at Apollo Global Management.
Which hospitality and foodservice operations do you oversee and how does SHFM help you balance these responsibilities?
I oversee corporate and administrative services, under which falls all foodservice, pantries, reception areas, and conference spaces. We are a self-operator and offer buffet style breakfast and lunch every day to our employees in our headquarters located in Manhattan. Our in-house kitchen and pantry teams take care of all catering needs for on-site business meetings. SHFM has introduced me to vendors we have started using, including our new meeting room booking software and our supplier for recyclable paper products. I have also met some extremely knowledgeable industry experts who readily share their opinions whenever asked about their own experiences and best practices managing these areas at their own firms.
What do you see as the most important trend in the industry?
Our industry is increasingly focused on food trends. We spend a lot of time thinking about trends such as local/organic food, farm to table or the sustainable table, eating for wellness, and generational trends, and how that translates to the food we offer and provide. Medical and voluntary dietary restrictions, increased awareness of the connection between what we eat and how it affects our health, and the rise in interest in sustainable food all affect the decisions and policies that are made with regard to food options and programs. At this year's recent SHFM Critical Issues Conference, I was a part of the committee that worked on the agenda for the Client-Liaison Roundtable. We all agreed that food trends was a topic that we and others would be interested in discussing. It’s a very broad topic, so we decided to focus on food allergies, which are of particular interest with the rise in nut allergies and gluten-free diets, and on taking an in depth look at how Boeing implemented a nationwide healthy eating program in their 71 cafes.
Why did you join SHFM?
I joined SHFM to stay informed about current industry trends and practices.
What is the most valuable benefit from your membership with SHFM?
I greatly appreciate the benefit of shared knowledge. SHFM has connected me with industry colleagues who I feel comfortable reaching out to as initiatives or issues arise.
What and where was the best meal you have ever had?
That’s a difficult question to answer, but I always have a fabulous dining experience at Gramercy Tavern in New York City – this is also a sentimental answer given my husband proposed to me there. I’d give an honorable mention to a little restaurant in Paris called Le Christine that we went to 10 years ago and as far as I know is still there.