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Who We Are

Our Core Value System

Established in 2016, Essential Catering Solutions is a full-service caterer and total event management company that directs and oversees food and beverage services for our clients and focuses on flawless execution of business projects, corporate events, and celebrations of all of life’s special moments. Private dining events, weddings, retirement parties, and family memorials and gatherings are just a few of the many services we focus on providing with utmost quality and expertise. 

Mission Statement - The mission of Essential Catering Solutions is to serve our clients at the highest level of quality with a joyful heart. We do our best to engage with our clients and bring positive energy into a room.  We have found that the job is never done when it comes to setting a standard of excellence.  Our trained food service staff and customer care focus gives us an advantage when tackling the many stressors involved in event planning and meeting the needs of guests.

Core Values - Our success is attributed to our integrity and honest approach derived from our faith in God and servitude to our community. Good begets good and we foster a team culture of faithfulness, availability and a desire to be taught to enrich oneself.

Our team members are empowered in our work culture, and we rely on each others strengths to balance our weaknesses to sustain our ever growing and vibrant business model. Brokering food and event service vendors has enabled us creating an exclusive network of providers that assist us in giving you that personalized and genuinely customized experience that only we can offer.

Vision Statement - Strategically focusing on solutions to a wide range of end use markets gives us a valuable edge on staying ahead of our competitors. We think outside of the box and are always striving for perfection in all services we provide. We are not afraid to make mistakes and make them right. We are not afraid to apologize or make amends when we may be wrong. The vision of this company depends on our strong believe that; Technology, Transparency, Tenacity, Trustworthiness and Thankfulness are what make us Thrive and withstand the tests of time for generations to come.

Market Summary - This company has evolved into a complete event management ecosystem that leverages the experience of veteran and new risk taking, progressive industry professionals and business owners to provide specific and specialty services to our clients. We are expanding into a parent company conglomerate housing event production and promotions companies, and now non-commercial food management and quick service food establishment designed to assist organizations in utilizing food to add to the value of the services they already provide on a daily basis.

To learn more about us check out the videos below. 

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Founded in our hearts more than 20 years ago.

As a family owned business, Essential Catering Solutions, Inc. has always committed to supporting our community with our time and financial donations.

We believe our food and our service is life to all in this and surrounding communities. We regularly give food to our local shelters who feed the less fortunate right here in our city and county. Lighthouse Ministries has been our chosen recipient for the last three years and counting. Our company as a whole and our team participates in community fundraisers and actively engages in non-profit activities, and supports these organizations in word and in deed. 

Organizations Our Heart is One With:

Achievement Academy - Lakeland, Florida

Breast Cancer Foundation of Central Florida

Christ Community Christian Center Church

Girls Incorporated of Lakeland

Lakeland Volunteers In Medicine

We believe we are blessed beyond measure as a company and as the people within it because we choose to give of our resources, time and gifts that God has given us. We provide discounts and work with shoe string budgets and often provide our catering services free of charge to non-profits helping others in the same way. Yet, we have always been able to pay our bills, pay our staff competitive wages, and increase our revenue annually.

Our founders Dorcas and Darrian, have always had open hearts to give both financially and of their time and have instilled this into their three son's who are growing into the future leaders of this organization. Dorcas has served as past board chairman of Florida Dance Theatre, a local fine arts non-profit that teaches dance to many who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford it, at nominal or no charge, as well as various other non-profit boards, and together she and co-founder and husband, Darrian have given more than a quarter of million to local charities and non-profits here in the local area.

The Visionaries behind the Vision

Homegrown natives of Lakeland, Florida, Dorcas and Darrian are Principals at Essential Catering Solutions, Inc parent company, currently rebranding into DARC Brands, Ltd., which will encompass their growing conglomerate. They lead the firm’s advisory services division which includes guiding the way to successful execution of each of their businesses. Their way of thinking about organization structure may not pay them major dividends just yet, but it affords them a lifestyle that supports their desire for family time and growing their business.

Just a snapshot into their humble beginnings tells the story of two people who decided to take control of their money-making abilities and instill self-investment in their children. They literally started this company with a tax refund from Uncle Sam, after choosing to leave their corporate jobs, and receive the amount of pay from their church that would place them below the poverty line, in order to help the ministry at the time. Dorcas and Darrian chose this way of life for several reasons; one of them due to being caught between upper and lower working class, sitting in somewhere called the “middle”, where you make plenty of money working a corporate job, but don’t every really see any of it and pay higher taxes, but don’t receive any of it back at the end of the year? Yep, you may know what we’re talking about. So they both quit their jobs to be “poor on paper, because obviously they weren’t’ financially wealthy. They saw that you had to be one or the other, but you couldn’t have it both ways.

To tell you they’ve learned so much and made so many mistakes, would be un understatement, but through self-starting their American dream, they learned what they didn’t know they didn’t know, and as a result, used what they learned as stepping stones to be better at monetizing the value they started to see in themselves to others.

Together they have more than 30 years of experience in the corporate areas they governed, helping large companies like Keiser University and Lakeland Regional Health, achieve their

goals of adding value to the customer experience through the lens of specific types of service, capital fundraising, strategic staffing and partnerships.

So it’s no wonder that their focus areas for ECS Inc., include capital campaign fundraising, partnerships that enhance event experiences, succession strategy, food management, organizational infrastructure using digital technology and unrealized talent, transformational leadership with a focus on service to others, Senior and Gen Z hiring, and collaborative business to business execution of customer satisfaction. As CEO and Vice-President for the Corporation, they have led the catering and event management service to just under half million in in gross revenue, and, with a major shortfall during and after the pandemic.

Prior to starting Essential Catering Solutions, Inc, Dorcas worked in early childhood education and social work, grant writing and fundraising campaigns in upwards of a quarter to just under two million, emergency and disaster planning and mass event execution. Darrian worked in insurance underwriting, advanced career placement and head-hunting services, and currently owns an independent service firm, auditing small company books. They both have been stewards for multiple, multi-million-dollar businesses. Darrian earned a bachelor’s degree in business management from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Florida and Dorcas earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Southern College also in Lakeland Florida and dual master’s degrees, in management leadership and human resources management from Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri.

Darrian and Dorcas met each other at Lakeland Christian school on entrance testing day and the rest is history. They married at First Presbyterian church right here in Lakeland where her Dad, also a native Lakelander, Bishop Walter K Laidler Jr, walked her down the isle and performed their wedding. They’re raising three young men, Darrian Jr, Dorian, and Daylen and live in North Lakeland.