When Andrew Cavitolo, CEO of Riviera Caterers, joined his family’s fourth generation New York City company, he knew he was going to change the game. Cavitolo grew up in the world of food service and hospitality. He started helping in the Riviera kitchen when he was 13 and from there pursued a Masters in hospitality while he prepared himself to enter the family business. When he did make his entrance, he already planned what he wanted to bring to the table. He “took all of the successful elements of what existed within the family catering business and married it to an award-winning, innovative event production team.”
It worked. With Fortune-500 companies and celebrities booking huge parties, Cavitolo has brought Riviera Caterers to the forefront of luxe entertainment in New York City. And come December, Riviera Caterers will relocate to the 68th floor of Four World Trade Center to become the largest and highest private event space in New York City.
Cavitolo says that Riviera is not just a catering company, they’re creating complete experiences for their customers. Riviera works with customers closely to develop an event that will create a unique experience that will blend aesthetics with high end cuisine. He says, “We don’t just send a menu. We interview them. We want to gain an innate understanding of the message they are trying to convey with the proposed event. We create an overall concept and build the presentation, innovative elements and food around it.” It’s bespoke catering and event planning at its finest.
For Cavitolo, the most memorable – and challenging – experience Riviera has created since he joined the
business, was the 14 consecutive events they planned for Nike during the World Cup. “The objective was to create an innovative presentation that reflected all of the countries sponsored by Nike including Brazil, United States and France. Notably, we created an authentic Brazilian BBQ pit where we created made-to-order, one-bite hors d’oeuvres for each guest – it was essentially an open chef’s kitchen.” Cavitolo credits Riviera’s current success to this high-level attention to details and customization.
When he took over, he was lucky to be part of a family business that welcomed change and evolution. Cavitolo credits this openness to change and the younger generation to the growing success of the company, “I am fortunate to have four generations of family who have been quite welcoming to change and most recently, younger management. However, the biggest key to Riviera’s longevity and evolution with modern-day needs is the innate understanding of each client’s needs combined with a fresh, innovative approach tailored to what is relevant from a lifestyle perspective.” In service of this, Cavitolo makes sure Riviera’s catering staff, traveling the city in the company’s signature chrome-coated trucks, is highly trained, attractive, and impeccably groomed.
When it comes to the food, he’s working just as hard to ensure high-quality, beautiful meals are part of each event’s presentation. The recipes Riviera uses are modern adaptations of recipes that have been handed down from Cavitolo’s great grandfather, the first member of the family to operate Riviera Catering. Meals are served on bespoke trays and the food stations are also developed in-house to match the visual design of each event.
As Riviera’s client list has grown to include celebrities like Keith Richards, Puff Daddy, Flloyd Mayweather, Kobe Bryant, Usher, and Joaquin Phoenix and Fortune-500 companies like Nike, Bentley, and Google, it only comes naturally that the next step is to expand. Cavitolo says that the growth is now making them consider other markets, and in the future clients may be able to hire Riviera to plan events in Miami and Los Angeles.