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New ECEP Member Profile



The story behind a business isn't just about its beginning; it's a window into its values and aspirations. Take Bingemans, the ever-expanding hospitality and catering organization located in Kitchener, Canada, and the subject of this new ECEP member profile.

Profile of bingemans catering | ecep | top caterers | top caterer canada | elite catering and event professionals


Back in 1938, Marshall Bingeman Sr. kickstarted the journey on the family's sprawling 170-acre property, laying the foundation for the future with the creation of Kitchener Dairies. They started by supplying milk and ice to the Kitchener and Waterloo areas and soon added picnic grounds and camping sites. Fast forward to the 1950s, when the dairy and a burgeoning restaurant catered an important YMCA dinner. It was at that point that Bingemans added catering and convention business to its empire and it continues to flourish to this day.

But the foundation of this origin story built on a local, small farm and family-run business remains the personal relationships it fosters and the focus on entertainment that led to one of the first water parks in Ontario, along with more attractions such as mini golf, two-speed slides and the first wave pool. As the amusement park facility grew, so did the company’s catering program, all managed in-house.


Today, the company comprises Bingemans Camping Resort, Big Splash Waterpark, FunworX Indoor Playland, and the catering and hospitality divisions.


“The business growth was organic and haphazard,” says Mark Bingeman, president. “There was no masterplan. My aunt, uncle and father were very entrepreneurial and when they saw an opportunity they took it.” 

Mark Bingeman | Profile of Bingemans catering | ecep | top caterers | top caterer canada | elite catering and event professionals

Mark’s own career growth was also organic. “I always knew I’d go into the business, which was my intention. I went to Michigan State University and when I graduated, I thought I’d come back to work for the family business.” When the time came, surprisingly, his father said there was no job for him. Mark then applied everywhere, landing at the Hyatt Hotels in Atlanta in the management trainee program.


“Later my father told me that was one of the hardest things for him to do,” Mark recalls. “But he didn’t want me coming into the business without having more experience in the world.”


In 1994 Mark had a decision to make between two big job offers and flew home to think it over. He was met by his aunt, father, and a business adviser.  He wondered if this was a career intervention, and in a way it was. “My uncle had just passed away. They sat me down and said if I had any intention of coming home and into the business, now was the time.”


He began doing whatever was needed, which was a bit of everything. In 2004, the board tapped him to helm the company. “In many ways, I was already leading the company,” Mark says. “A family business operates differently from a corporation, and it had been a bit of a transition. Our market is not metropolitan, the business cycle is different. Relations are based on who you know. Decisions are often based on emotion, which is good and bad.”


Mark learned that really nothing matters when you love what you do. “I love catering and creating memories, always creating an exceptional experience,” he says. “We align across all our divisions that way. People have been working for us for more than 35 years. We just keep trying things we really love and if we like it, we do more of it.”


And just as it began, Bingemans remains true to its original values. Along the way, the company has become enmeshed in its local business community and now in the larger community of hospitality as the first ECEP member to represent Canada.


Profile of bingemans catering | ecep | top caterers | top caterer canada | elite catering and event professionals

Profile of Bingemans Catering: ECEP AND BINGEMANS


Mark was drawn to the ECEP community with one simple question. “Who in their right mind would want to plan and event for 2,000 people in a field with no services?” Mark asks, rhetorically. “I’ve found that’s the common thread between everyone in ECEP.”


ECEP and Bingemans came together naturally. “Our Director of Sales, Laurie Schell, wanted to network with peers and learn how others do things. She started in the ice cream shop. We found she excelled at sales, and she’s been now with us for 35 years.”


She came across ECEP during her research to learn new methods and avenues for change. One of the attractions of being in ECEP is to learn from the best in the business. To that end, many years ago, Mark attended the US Open not as a golf fan but to observe their hospitality operations. As it turns Susan Lacz, founder of Ridgewells, one of the original founders of ECEP, and caterer of the US Open for 10 years and counting, was the firm looking after the event. Fast forward to today connecting that experience from years prior with the high caliber of firms making up ECEP, that sealed the deal for Mark and he asked Schell to submit Bingemans for consideration.

Profile of bingemans catering | ecep | top caterers | top caterer canada | elite catering and event professionals


“ECEP has come at a great time for us,” he says. “Our entire team is focused on growth, especially with HR and our culture. We can’t grow unless we have great people. I view ECEP as support for me as a business owner and operating at a continually higher level.”


From its beginning as an industrious and prosperous family that settled in Ontario selling milk and ice, Bingemans is continuing to sow the seeds of change and growth that brought the company to where it is today and will take it far beyond.




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