Coming out of a busy season it’s probably fair to say that everyone across our industry struggled for kitchen and serving staff this winter. Having spent nearly 15 years in Event and Catering staffing I can categorically say that the relationship a customer has with its agency partner will directly influence the service they get. So I’ve compiled what I think are some good tips to get the best out of your agency relationship and get the staff and service you need.

  1. Be nice! Sounds obvious but there are people out there who still think shouting and screaming will get them the best service. In fact its likely to have the opposite effect as whoever you deal with wont like working with you and will probably be too fearful to bring up any potential shortages and certainly won’t feel like going the extra mile when you need it.
  2. Get them close- real close… We like to feel part of your team. Don’t keep us at arms length and in the dark. Invite us in, show us where the staff will be working, keep us informed about big days coming up, you can even take us for a drink! Fact is if we feel part of your business and appreciated then we’ll be more engaged and motivated to get you want you want.
  3. Choose wisely – despite there being more agencies than ever there are still plenty of cowboys. Take your time and meet them. Don’t be wowed by fancy software and apps -what matters is getting the staff, service and price right. The rest is just window dressing.
  4. Make sure you meet the person who will be looking after your account. The salesman might be great but it’s the person delivering to you day in and day out who matters…
  5. Don’t have to few eggs in too many baskets.. You need to find the balance between spreading your risk and giving your suppliers something worth having. We work in a generally low margin industry so splitting 50 staff across 10 agencies will probably have the opposite effect you are looking for. Its not enough for anyone to come and check in for example and you are likely to find when you the chips are down and you need the extra’s during those busy Thursday/Fridays in December none of them will help. Give 2 or 3 a decent chunk of business and they will nurture it and make sure you are looked after.
  6. Treat the staff you get well. Everyone wants to see the same faces back so make sure they want to come back! Make sure they feel part of your team and get regular breaks. Feed them if you can and tell them when they’ve done a good job.