MANUEL J. CUSTODIO
DIRECTOR OF CATERING OPERATIONS
Apollo Global Catering
Manuel is the quintessential operations problem-solver go-to man. With more than 20 years of hospitality operations under his belt, he has developed a highly effective blend of knowledge, experience and versatility. As an inveterate polyglot, his full command of English, French, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian allows him to make use of his enviable operational skills practically anywhere in the world. He has the ability to very quickly and deftly setup a new operation from scratch or step in to raise the level of performance of an ongoing operation all without missing a beat.
Throughout his career, Manuel trained in two highly recognized hospitality schools: the Portimao Hotel School in Portimao (Portugal) and the Maritime Hotel Academy in Salzburg (Austria). These two institutions endowed him with a very solid set of hospitality skills which he applied successfully in various working environments as he progressed professionally.
In 1983, Manuel landed his first hospitality job with Poseidon Catering Services, a company which at the time managed the catering concession on board of Royal Caribbean and Premier Cruise Line vessels. Originally hired as a waiter, he patiently worked his way up to become Maitre D'Hotel, a position he maintained when sometime thereafter he moved to Crystal Cruise Lines.
The next decade was marked by a gradual but sure-footed ascendency to higher levels of responsibilityin a number of different organizations and positions. Starting in 1990, he worked as a Restaurant Manager for Apollo Ship Chandlers food and beverage concession on board of Celebrity Cruises’ vessels. He then went on to work as Dining Room Manager for Windstar Cruises for about 3 years. Recruited by V-Ships for the Air Tours operations, he once again climbed the organizational ladder to become the Food & Beverage Manager of a 1200-passenger vessel. Returning to Premier Cruise Lines In 1991, he progressed from his initial position as Hotel Manager to Purchasing Manager and was ultimately promoted to Director of Purchasing.
In 2001, Manuel was hired as Hotel Operations Manager by Club Cruise. There he supervised and coordinated operations from the head office and headed a team dedicated to the startup of chartered vessels.
As The Apollo Group (TAG) began plans to expand operations in 2009, they saw the need to bring in an additional manager with exceptional procurement, hospitality and operational experience. Manuel fit the bill perfectly, so he was recruited back into the TAG family. Then in 2011 he was appointed Director of Catering Operations for Apollo Global Catering (also part of TAG). In his current role Manuel is in charge of the startup and supervision of AGC catering operations.