The mission of Z-Golf Food & Beverage Services is to provide outstanding management for golf course food and beverage and wedding & banquet services. Z-Golf will be the authority in golf and banquet Food & Beverage. Z-Golf success will be measured by profitability, guest satisfaction, ethical business practices, and client satisfaction.
Z-Golf Food & Beverage is recognized as the most successful and innovative banquet operator. Currently, Z-Golf operates a collection of banquet and meeting centers under the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Center brand. These facilities are located nation-wide with a record of success at every venue. In 2015, the Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Centers served nearly three quarters of a million banquet guests! The Wedgewood success is due to its trademark Valservenience – Excellent Value, Terrific Service, and Exceptional Convenience.
John & Linda Zaruka, founded the Wedgewood concept in Ventura in 1986 at the Buenaventura Golf Course. Over the last three decades, the Z-Golf team has perfected a formula that provides excellent service to a broad range of banquet clientele, while delivering a strong financial return. In early 2001, Bill Zaruka joined the family team and a decision was made to expand the Ventura Wedgewood concept. The first new ventures were in Northern California. These facilities were losing more than $100,000 per year. Within two years these locations were generating $300,000 per year in profit. Ownership then made the strategic decision to offer Z-Golf’s professional management throughout California and the West. In 2014, Prospect Partners of Chicago purchased an equity position in Z-Golf allowing for even further development. Several of Z-Golf’s locations are municipally owned.
Our Management Team
Founder & CEO
John began his hospitality experience at age 13 at a Long Island beach concession owned by his parents. He fell in love with the industry and pursued this passion by attending and graduating from Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration. John started his career in the hotel business in 1973 and within 10 years became a Regional Director, responsible for 9 hotels with 1700 rooms. Soon after, he became the Vice President of Operations for a Southern California hotel management company.
In the summer of 1986, John and Linda purchased the lease of the Wedgewood Restaurant and Buenaventura Golf Course Pub & Grille in Ventura. They immediately converted the restaurant to exclusive banquet use. They have since rebuilt the pub and grille three times and nearly tripled the golf course food and beverage sales. They also developed a highly successful banquet operation that serves nearly 28,000 guests per year. In 1997, John oversaw a major renovation and expansion of the Wedgewood, which increased the capacity from 225 to 350 persons. In 2008 another renovation was completed to maintain their predominant market position in Ventura County. The original Wedgewood continues to serve over 300 events and 25,000 guests a year.
John and his wife, Linda, have been married since 1974, and have two children, Bill, also a graduate of the Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, is President of the family business. Stacy, a graduate from Johnson & Wales University in hospitality management, is the General Manager for the Wedgewood at Buenaventura. Linda is a Past President of the Ventura Chapter of the National Association of Catering Executives and was Wedgewood’s first Catering Sales Director. John is the Past-President of the Rotary Club of Ventura South and is very active in the local Chamber of Commerce and is a past Vice President of Administration. He coached high school basketball for ten years and taught in the hospitality program at Oxnard College for seven years. He is a Director Emeritus of the California Restaurant Association Board of Directors having served on the Board for ten years. John has served on several charity boards.
He was recently honored for his impact in the community by being selected by the Ventura County Star as being one the twenty five individuals selected as a 25 over 50 winner and John was inducted into the West Babylon Schools (Long Island, New York) Alumni Hall of Fame
In 1999, John created Z-Golf Food & Beverage Services, an operations and consulting practice exclusively for the food and beverage departments of golf courses, banquet facilities, clubs, and resorts. Z-Golf is the only such practice in the U.S. John has written several articles for publications such as‚ “Golf Business”, Club Magazine, Golf Business Canada, and the National Golf Foundation.
He is an international speaker on golf related food and beverage subjects. He was an invited speaker at the National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago in 2005. He has reviewed clubs and resorts throughout North America with a concentration on improving hospitality financial performance and design. He is an accredited member of the Food Service Consultants International.
Bill was only 14 years old when he started working in the family business at the highly successful Buenaventura Golf Course Food & Beverage Concession. Bill worked every position at the Bar & Grill serving golfers, as well as the Wedgewood Banquet Center, serving weddings and banquets. He performed all the service and accounting functions. His interest in the business led him to pursue a degree in Hotel Administration at Cornell University. At Cornell, Bill exhibited his leadership skills as President of his fraternity and as Captain of the Lightweight football team. He graduated in 1998.
After graduation, Bill joined the food services division of Universal Studios, Hollywood, CA. As a multi-unit manager he was responsible for several of the restaurants in the park where he created budgets, wrote operating standards, training programs and led the installation of several point-of-sale systems.
In 2001, Bill rejoined the family business. During his tenure Z-Golf has expanded rapidly into Northern, Southern, and Central California and has extended into Las Vegas, Phoenix and Colorado. As President he is responsible for leading a dynamic management team, opening and supervising all Z-Golf restaurant operations. Under his leadership, sales now approach $50,000,000 with average profit percentages and customer service ratings far exceeding industry averages. He recently led the corporate relocation to Temecula where the corporate staff, accounting team, and call center are located.
Bill resides in Southern California. He is married to Jenn Zaruka and they have four children.
Director of Business Development & Operations
Kevin as Director of Business Development and Operations, focuses on working with property owners and managers in an attempt to uncover all the benefits of potential partnerships with Wedgewood. Kevin overseas all new business opportunities, works directly with each individual to assess long term potential, and helps work through the proposal and due diligence process. If a venue chooses to partner with Z-Golf and Wedgewood, Kevin spearheads the business transition to assure that all matters are handled in a smooth and professional manner.
Kevin comes to Z-Golf and Wedgewood with more than 20+ years of sales experience. Prior to joining the Z Team, Kevin was an integral member of the Callaway Sales Team for 18 years. In his most recent position as National Account Manager, Kevin was responsible for $62+ M in sales to big box and e-commerce accounts. While in this position, Kevin was recognized for assessing and re-aligning inter-departmental responsibilities, which resulted in increased sales, improved communications, efficiency and “Best in Class Service.” At Callaway, Kevin also served as the Inside Sales Manager for several years. He was responsible for the training, management, and career development of a large team of sales professionals with a sales responsibility of $165 M.
While Kevin’s sales background has been primarily in the golf industry, he does have some food and beverage experience. During college, Kevin served as a waiter at the Cheesecake Factory in Redondo Beach. This job “paved the way” to his graduation from UCLA, with a BA in English Literature.
Vice President of Operations
As Wedgewood Wedding & Banquet Centers’ Vice President of Operations, Jeff leads a team of 8 Regional Managers who oversee 28 properties throughout the western U.S. Jeff is responsible for overseeing Sales, Operations, Recruitment and Property Transitions for the company. He is a hospitality veteran with more than 25 years in the industry. Prior to joining Wedgewood he served as Vice President of Hospitality at the Fairplex in Pomona, CA. Jeff has held leadership positions with some of country’s finest hotels and resorts. He is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and the Culinary Institute of America. Jeff is a native New Yorker. He and his wife are the proud parents of three.
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
As Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Julia Henning is responsible for managing the Z-Golf and Wedgewood brand. She oversees Wedgewood’s online marketing, print advertising, online reputation, social media, and she leads the team in the centralized call center. Her department has steadily increased lead generation, increasing market share and overall revenue. Julia Started with Z-Golf in 2010. Her first project with the company was establishing the centralized call center. Since then she has managed three of Wedgewood locations in the Inland Empire before transitioning into her role as director of marketing.
Julia is a native of West Los Angeles. She graduated with a B.F.A. in Theater from New York University’s prestigious Tisch, School of the Arts. After graduating she performed comedy in alternative comedy clubs in New York City. She started her career in the hospitality industry working as a cook in Los Angeles for several off-site catering companies, including Catering by Field. In 2009 she went back to school and attended Cornell University School of Hotel Administration and graduated with a Masters of Management in Hospitality. Her interests are music, comedy, art, data, and excel spreadsheets.
Chief Financial Officer
Daniel E. Bylund most recently served as Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Finance, and Secretary/Treasurer of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Inc.
Mr. Bylund has more than 20 years of global finance, treasury, and accounting experience, including experience spanning IT, risk management, and human resources, along with key strengths in all aspects of corporate financial functions, including debt and equity financing, cash management and planning, and detailed financial forecasting.
Mr. Bylund has built a track record of guiding multi-location domestic and international financial operations to ongoing growth and success by employing strategic planning and forecasting expertise. Most recently, as Chief Financial Officer at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurants, Inc., he oversaw all accounting, finance, IT, risk management, treasury, and human resource departments. Notably, as a key part of the management team that orchestrated the company’s growth from start-up to 38 global locations with $180 million in sales and 4,500 employees.
Mr. Bylund joined Rusty Pelican in 1993 as its Vice President of Finance, Secretary and Treasurer, while at the same time serving as CFO of Green Leaf Ventures. Prior to joining Green Leaf, Mr. Bylund worked with Merrill Lynch and was a former audit manager with Ernst & Young.
Mr. Bylund graduated from Jacksonville University with a B.S. degree in Accounting and lives in Carlsbad, CA.
Director of Recruitment & Retention
Scott is a passionate, community-minded recruitment, engagement and retention expert. After graduating college, Scott began his hospitality career with the Marriott Hotel & Resort Corporation in The Netherlands at the Amsterdam Marriott. Upon returning to the U.S., Scott joined America West Airlines, working in the Phoenix hub and in the field. Once he landed for good, he founded a unique New Mexico-based hospitality conglomerate which conceived, crafted and operated a diverse group of cafes, lounges, nightclubs and restaurants. Committed to the creation and on-going evolution of quality dining, lounging and entertainment experiences, Scott’s establishments were cleverly crafted, highly successful and provided exceptional and sound community care. As a native Californian, Scott missed the beach, so he headed west to San Diego. There, Scott took on the role of Director of Human Resources for the largest off-premise catering and event company in Southern California for 10 years.
Now as our Director of Recruitment and Retention, Scott oversees promotes, coordinates and develops our ever-growing team of top-notch hospitality professionals. Scott is a world traveler who speaks Spanish and Dutch fluently. He is a life-long culinarian, an active community volunteer and an accomplished bartender with fascinating margarita-making superpowers.
Our Regional Managers
As Northern California Regional Manager, Jerome is responsible for overseeing multiple Northern California Z-Golf and Wedgewood properties. Through his leadership and expertise, he ensures these facilities are all running to the Z-Golf standard of customer service and profitability.
Jerome currently resides in Tracy, California with his wife and two children. When he is not driving between properties, Jerome loves being a dad and spending time on the water wake boarding with family and friends.
Results oriented, process driven Regional Manager who oversees multiple wedding & banquet locations. Achieving high levels of quality, excellent customer service while exceeding financial goals. Regularly promoted leader, coach and trainer. Proven turnaround of locations while focusing and developing top grade talent & meeting/exceeding goals.
As Southern California Regional Manager, Dan Pennington is responsible for overseeing multiple Southern California Wedgewood properties. He ensures these facilities are all running to the Wedgewood standard of customer service. Dan is no stranger to the food and beverage industry. He has 20+ years managing restaurants such as Rock Bottom Brewery and Ignite Bistro in San Diego. His years of experience greatly benefits Wedgewood with new and fresh ideas to improve overall experience for our clients and their guests.
Dan is a native to Southern California and spent most of his life in San Diego. He enjoys watching football and wood working. When he is not driving between properties, Dan likes to spend time with his wife and dog Brutus.
Michael is Regional Project Manager for Nevada, and Phoenix, opening and overseeing several properties.
As a graduate of San Diego State’s Business Management program, and a native San Diegan, Michael feels right at home in Southern California. He joins the Z-Golf team with more than 25 years of experience in the food & beverage industry both in the front and back of the house. Michael’s career began in hotels starting as a Banquet Manager and quickly becoming the Food & Beverage Director for a boutique property in the Historic Gaslamp District. Always yearning for more, in the late 90’s Michael returned to school to earn a degree in the Culinary Arts. Taking his newfound knowledge and experience Michael returned to San Diego to manage several local restaurants as General Manager. His attention to detail and his “going the extra mile” personality earned him several awards and accolades.
In 2006 Michael teamed up with longtime friend, Executive Chef and Owner, Dawn Parks as the Director of Operations for The Wild Thyme Company an upscale catering and event venture. After several years in off-premise catering Michael decided to make a change and has joined our team. During Michael’s time with Wedgewood he has managed several properties and now is a driving force as we expand in the Southwest.
As Colorado’s Regional Manager, Anna Worthington is responsible for opening the Colorado region & bringing the Wedgewood culture to Colorado. Anna is passionate about providing incredible customer service to her team and empowering them daily. Her favorite part of the job is seeing her team members grow in their careers and seeing events go off without a hitch. Throughout the week, you can find Anna driving across the state to get to her properties, motivating her team, making conference calls on the go, going over spreadsheets late at night, or taking any of her incredibly talented team members out to a happy hour.
Anna is a graduate of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration and has grown with Wedgewood from a Catering Sales Director to a Regional Manager.