For the past few years, staffing has been especially challenging for the hospitality sector. Millions of workers left the sector during the Covid-19 pandemic, and only now are staffing levels coming back to where they were beforehand. It's more important than ever for hospitality businesses to get their personnel decisions right the first time – and that's why we hosted a webinar on putting together the ideal staff.
We were fortunate to be joined by three top experts in the sector, covering everything from catering and restaurants to mega-events like sports tournaments:
- Maggie Barton, Chief Executive Officer, Butler's Pantry (St. Louis)
- Adele LeGault, Vice President of Operations, Restaurant Associates (New York)
- Jeremy (JC) Campbell, Vice President of Sports & Entertainment, Proof of the Pudding (Atlanta)
Plan now to save headaches later
First we spoke about the time-horizons used for strategizing, with JC noting that mega-events routinely required staffing to begin two years in advance. With more predictable demand in catering and restaurants, Maggie and Adele said that their focus was on assembling a team to meet seasonal needs well in advance.
When it came to structure, all of the experts said that finding the right mix of permanent and temporary workers was key, often pairing them up to ensure that an experienced mentor was always present for short-term staff. Adele also emphasized the importance of cost-benefit analyses when assessing the training needs of new workers.
Don't get bogged down with big hires
When bringing in dozens or even hundreds of people for an event, efficiency is the byword. The experts shared how they would filter down a large applicant pool and then assess them again upon meeting them in person, looking for small signs that hinted what roles they might play. Yet even with big hires, Maggie said it was crucial to maintain standards and pay attention to detail – a single mistake could end up hurting the entire brand.
Keep the best people
As JC said, "Anybody knows, when you find someone worth keeping, they're a diamond in the rough." After identifying the most promising staff, communication and feedback are critical for building relationships. JC recommended staying in contact outside of events to maintain a strong connection.
Feedback also has a big part to play, especially since the best workers always want to improve. In the best case, Adele said, communication began before the shift, continued in the workplace, and culminated in feedback afterward – either directly or via a staffing agency or platform.
All of the experts also spoke at length about creating a positive workplace culture. And this culture needed to apply just as much to the experience of temporary workers, because they could be some of the best recruits for permanent roles.
The experts offered many more insights and details from their own approaches, so we hope that you'll watch the webinar to learn more from their deep expertise. Feel free to get in touch with us via firstname.lastname@example.org if you have more questions after watching the video. Best of luck for the holiday season and beyond!