Co-Owner and COO
Footers Catering & Social Capitol Events
Location: Arvada, CO
Excitement. Acceleration. Exhilaration.
Working with April Lambatos is like being on an amusement park ride.
Her ability to dream big, achieve results, and have unlimited fun in the process has earned her the appellation, The Head Honcho of Happiness. A title that makes her smile, Lambatos, COO and co-owner of Footers Catering, is the first to acknowledge that you do not need to have a title to be a great leader.
“Leadership begins with your character and your values,” Lambatos said. “You have an opportunity to inspire and create change at any phase in your life and career.”
And for Lambatos, she has grasped every opportunity possible on her path to building her reputable, multi-million-dollar catering company.
She has proven that dreams can indeed come true.
After studying business at The University of Florida, Lambatos worked at Walt Disney World and was introduced to the hospitality industry. And what better place to learn than The Happiest Place on Earth? Lambatos then knew that she wanted to one day own her own catering business.
She had found her passion and was smitten.
With a smile on her face and determination in her heart, Lambatos applied for a dishwasher position at one of central Florida’s top catering businesses so that she could learn every part of the catering business firsthand. Working her way through the kitchen, Lambatos ran all the culinary operations before moving from Florida to Denver, Colorado. Landing her position as the director for Paradise Bakery, she oversaw the catering operations for 11 stores, setting numerous sales records for the company. Partnering with her husband, Anthony, in 2010, they purchased her father-in-law’s catering business, Footers Catering. Since then, Footers Catering revenue has tripled, turnover has been drastically reduced and they have moved twice, doubling the size of their headquarters both times. And although business was down 70% due to the setbacks of COVID-19, the future is bright for Footers Catering. Set to move into the building, Social Capitol, in early 2021, the new home of Footers Catering will have a capacity of 1,200 people for a cocktail party and 500 plus for seated dinners. The 40,000 square foot space has room for future growth opportunities and over the next five years Lambatos will be focused on how to bring further opportunities to fruition.
“I am a firm believer that adversity opens doors to opportunity. As a leader, I stay focused on the big picture and what we want to accomplish through the change,” Lambatos said. “Keeping the end goal in mind helps get through the challenges and setbacks that occur along the way.”
Lambatos’ tenacity and willingness to take calculated risks have led to great things at Footers and they have been recognized nationally for what they have done both in terms of a catering and their commitment to company culture. Under her leadership, Footers has been named Small Business of the Year twice by the Denver Chamber of Commerce; won the ACE award for Achievement in Catering Excellence for the best caterer in the western region over $2M in revenue; been named a best place to work by The Denver Post, Colorado Biz Magazine, and The Denver Business Journal; been a finalist for the International Catering Association Awards and is a current member of The Knot Hall of Fame for having exemplary wedding reviews for the past seven years. Additionally, Lambatos has been recognized as a 40 under 40 winner by The Denver Business Journal and a top COO through their C-Suite awards. She was also named one of the Top Women in Business by the Women’s Chamber and was asked to contribute a story to the book, STEW (Smart Talk Exceptional Women) in 2020. A founding board member of the Mile High Young Professionals, she is currently on the board for the Denver Public Library, Friends Foundation; the International Catering Association and has previously been a volunteer for Minds Matter and Colorado Youth at Risk. Additionally, she co-founded Mibe Tribe, a sister company to Footers Catering, which focuses on education around heart leadership and intentional culture building for the hospitality industry.
Of all the accolades, Lambatos is most proud of the team that has made Footers Catering successful.
“My success is defined by my team’s success,” Lambatos said. “When my team is excited and love what they do, they feel empowered in their work, and they go above and beyond to create magic.” She added, “It is the best feeling in the world to experience and celebrate our accomplishments together.”
A true Titan, Lambatos leads by example and reminds her team that they should not wait to hold a title to begin leading.
“I could not be in this leadership position with such great responsibility if it were not for the incredible support and solid foundation of my team,” Lambatos said. “My ultimate success is doing what I can to help them grow and reach their full potential.”
And much like being on an amusement park ride, her team should buckle up, because under her leadership, the thrill of the ride is just beginning.
"Leadership begins with your character and your values."