Join the Celebration! Kristin Kent directs food and beverage for Studio C
Kristin Kent is a rising star in the cinema business: She is tough, funny, and can pull off just about anything. Kristin is director of food and beverage operations for Studio C, an entertainment company that brings diverse groups of people together through movies, music, dining and events, best known for Celebration! Cinema locations.
Her background is in restaurants and hospitality. Now the theatre channel gets to see her expertise in action at Celebration! A life-long Michigander raised in Sterling Heights, she has chosen to stay in her hometown and mentor the next generation of cinema food and beverage players with her leadership skills.
“My father, at the age of eight, moved to the United States from Poland,” she reminisces. “He put himself through college. He always remained humble and taught me to work hard in order to be successful. My father is my role model and someone I lean on and speak to daily.” Meanwhile, her mother taught her the power of helping others in need. “She is the strongest woman I know.”
One of five children, Kristin was a star in track and field at Ludington High School and earned a scholarship to Grand Valley State University, where she earned a B.A. in Business Administration and Criminal Justice Prelaw. Few people know she also was stellar in the pole vault as well.
Kent launched her career in the restaurant industry. She began working with JK&T Wings, a franchise owner of Buffalo Wild Wings. When she started with JK&T, they owned two restaurants. During her 11 years of employment, she assisted in the development of 38 new locations in three states. While the hospitality industry was not her first choice for a career, once she became immersed in the industry…well, it was a love affair.
“The fast-paced, ever-changing environment was exciting and created a drive for me to continue to grow. The concept of creating experiences for guests became a passion,” she states. Her time at JK&T gave her the impetus to succeed. “When I first began at JK&T, there were very few females in leadership roles. This was the factor that led me to work harder: The motto ‘Never give up and always learn from mistakes’ kept me growing and led me to continue to excel.”
In 2016, Kristin had the chance to found her own consulting company. Her experience with JK&T had piqued interest from other restaurateurs in the area, and she jumped at the opportunity to lead their organizations. Watermark Corporation, a leader in private dining facilities and country clubs, recognized her prowess and asked Kristin to oversee their efforts to make their facilities public. She joined Red Water Restaurants Group in that mission. Her time at JK&T gave her the momentum to succeed
Kristin joined Celebration! Cinemas in 2017 and replaced Kenyon Shane as director of food and beverages when he retired. “Celebration! exists to create space where the story happens,” she observes. This philosophy fits her personality perfectly. “While there are stories told on the big screen, the more important stories are those that each guest brings with them to the theatre,” she believes. “The idea of enhancing these stories through food and beverage poses an exciting new challenge” that she is eager to take.
Kent believes there’s great potential in introducing trends from the restaurant world. “Teaching guests that the movies aren’t just popcorn and candy anymore—they can have a superior theatre experience, complete with adult beverages and full meals. It is not as simple as implementing new items in a restaurant, it’s a new way of thinking. Relying on peers to help blend the two in order to achieve operational success.” Kristin also believes, “It is about designing in existing theatres kitchen spaces that can create high-quality food at a value the guest will love.”
Thinking outside the box may be her most outstanding attribute. “Finding the right and best way to introduce enhancements can sometimes be a tricky balance,” she confesses. She likes to introduce new items with various textures and unique flavor profiles, with the overall objective of delighting guests with fresh concepts that are fun and out of the ordinary.
Kristin loves going to movies, enjoying a tub of popcorn, Swedish Fish and a great cocktail. She loves reading, especially leadership books that help build teams. But she prefers reading with her children: her son Landon, 10, and daughter Braelyn, 8. “Whatever book they want to share with me is my favorite!” Her hobbies are biking, fishing, boating and visiting the beach. She is an adept runner, joining at least one half-marathon each month. Billy Madison is her favorite movie, as it represents her perspective on life: You have to work hard to be successful, you learn from your mistakes and grow, but make sure you Celebrate!