Connecting the Dots in Hospitality


To kick off Shelley Dickinson’s “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” presentation at the AYS Annual Summer Retreat, our team played a game that involved us introducing ourselves by connecting an experience we’ve had or something we have in common with the colleague that had spoken before us. This, called “Connecting the Dots,” quickly proved to be a great way to learn more about each other while also emboldening the idea that there are more things that make us similar than that make us different. To apply this to our careers in hospitality, Shelley explained that connecting the dots is a wonderful way to get to know a staff member or a client outside of the traditional employer/employee or business/client relationship. This not only humanizes us to the staff member or client, but it reminds us that they are people too.

So, how can we connect the dots in our day to day work lives?

  • At a networking event: When being introduced to new people, listen closely when they say what they do or where they are from to find something you have in common with them. They do Catering at Assumption College? Wow, you went to a Assumption – or you’re from the Worcester area! Making these connections will allow the conversation to flow in a more memorable way than just exchanging business cards.

  • With a staff member: When a staff member calls in to change their schedule and shares it’s because their kid had a last minute activity come up, ask them about their kids and what activities they’re into. Maybe you played soccer, too, when you were a kid or loved how your mom never missed your games. By taking a moment to treat the staff member kindly as opposed to just reworking their schedule, you make an impression with them that they will remember the next time you need their help with a shift.

The depth of bond formed by making these simple connections in everyday life allows us to see each other as more than just transactions – building a loyalty and cementing a partnership that will be mutually successful for both parties for years to come. Whether your ultimate goal be to get a staff member to work a shift, a client to give you more work or a stranger at a networking event to make an important introduction for you, connecting the dots with them will certainly give you a leg up on achieving your end result – and also will go a long way in forming lasting relationships as well!

Do you “Connect the Dots” in your everyday professional life? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Connect the Dots with us! Contact us here.

Posted on September 14, 2018 .

Reading & Feeding Signs: The 5 As in Hospitality

In her recent presentation on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” with our management team, Shelley Dickinson spoke about how important it is to read and feed signs in hospitality. When a situation arises on site that requires your attention, making your client feel important while diffusing the situation should be your number one priority. To do so, you must read and feed signs using the 5 As:

  • Acknowledge to your client that a problem has arisen
  • Apologize for the inconvenience or discomfort the client has been caused because of the problem
  • Ask what action you can take to resolve the problem in a manner they feel is fair
  • Act to provide a resolution for them that both you and the client feel is appropriate
  • Assess what happened to cause the problem in the first place to ensure it does not happen again

Taking the time to acknowledge and apologize feeds the signs of discomfort the client is showing you. Asking the client what action you could take to solve the problem before acting with a solution makes the client feel heard as well as allows you to temper your response. Sometimes, we offer more than is required to resolve the problem. Stopping to ask the client’s opinion before you take action can allow you to respond appropriately for both you and the client. Assessing the situation once a resolution has occurred rather than before the resolution occurs allows you time to properly review what happened, thus ensuring it is unlikely to help again.

Do you use the 5 As when handling client problems? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Achieve hospitality excellence alongside our team. Contact us here.

Posted on August 30, 2018 .

Achieving Hospitality Excellence


At the Annual AYS Summer Retreat this July, our management team had the pleasure of hearing Shelley Dickinson, CxRA Service Director, speak on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence.” Shelley’s career in hospitality includes a career cultivated at Sofitel, The Ritz Carlton and, now, Catering by Restaurant Associates in Washington DC, Philadelphia and Delaware. During her presentation, Shelley spoke on the concept that hospitality excellence is not just achieved in the event space setting – it is achieved through our relationships with our clients, staff and co-workers. As a customer, you know you have experienced hospitality excellence when you feel special, seen and like the other person “gets you.” As a manager, you know we have provided hospitality excellence when we have return customers, new clients who have heard about us through word of mouth and, of course, increases in revenue. By treating our customers as we enjoy being treating as customers, we achieve hospitality excellence.

Look out for our Hospitality Excellence blog series over the next few months, as we do a deep dive into the concepts Shelley covered with our team during her presentation. How do you and your team achieve hospitality excellence? Share with us in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

Achieve hospitality excellence alongside our team. Contact us here.

Posted on August 16, 2018 .

Meet the Manager: Agatha, AYS Flex Manager


Meet the newest member of the AYS team - Agatha! Agatha joined our team earlier this season as our first flex manager - she provides assistance to all of our markets. Learn more about her here!

1. How long have you been working with At Your Service? Just completed three months!

2. Where did you grow up?  I grew up in the Philippines.

3. What’s your Alma Mater? I went to school for hospitality in the Philippines. I then entered a visa program to work in country clubs in Long Island which helped me gain hands on experience. I quickly moved up to a management role. and came to AYS afterward.

4. If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? I love kids so I would be involved in education.

5. What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love taking care of people, happy to be of service. Knowing I can make a difference in someone’s day is so great. I met At Your Service team members when they worked at my most recent country club and they made an impression on me. I love being able to do that for others.

6. What is your favorite part of working with At Your Service? I enjoy different types of people. Every day I learn something new. You truly feel a connection with your coworkers, it’s like a big family!

7. What do you do outside of work? I like to go out for drinks, go to the gym and socialize with friends. I recently purchased a MoviePass and am looking forward to staying cool in summer at the movies. My favorite movies are Sci-Fi and Rom-Com!.

8. Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I would love to go visit Chicago. I would love to explore the city and experience the Midwest culture.

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Japan. The disciplined culture, the tech savvy atmosphere and of course the legit sushi all intrigue me! 

10. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work?  Best things would be a glass of wine, my husband’s company, and my feet up.

11. What advice would you give a new AYS manager?  Be open minded, take time to learn, and BE patient!

12. As a flex manager, you have a unique role. What are the most rewarding and hardest part contributing to multiple offices? I enjoy learning each manager’s technique. I get to work very closely with the other managers and learn from them. 

13. What advice would you give to a new field staff member? Be open to any changes and try different locations to learn more.

Posted on July 6, 2018 .

Meet the Manager: Allison, AYS DC

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1.) How long have you been working with At Your Service?  Almost 3 months! 
2.) Where did you grow up? Potomac, Maryland
3.) What’s your Alma Mater? New England College
4.) If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? Sports industry.  I’ve grown up playing sports and think it would be fun to be around that while working!
5.) What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love helping people!  It’s such a great feeling when someone can count on you to get things done. It's definitely a rewarding industry to be in.
6.) What’s your favorite part of working with At Your Service? Clients!  We have some awesome clients that are great to work with.  I also love my coworkers.  We work as a team to get things done!
7. )  What do you do outside of work?  I love going out with friends and exploring my city!  Traveling and going to the beach is also fun to do in the summer when it’s warm outside.  Going to DC games are always a ton of fun; Redskins, Nationals, Capitals and Wizards, definitely a big fan!  I also love getting together with my family since they are so close!
8.) Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I would love to go visit Boston.  I went to school in New England and the area is awesome! 
9.) If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Greece.  It looks beautiful!!  I would definitely love to explore the area and eat as much food as possible! 
10.) What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work? After a long day of work, I will either go home and sit on my couch or meet up with some friends for happy hour.  There are a ton of fun places in DC!

Posted on June 14, 2018 .

Maintaining A Strong Team

With the job market more competitive than ever before, making your employees feel heard and appreciated is more important than ever. As At Your Service has grown from a small business to a company with offices in seven different cities, we have prioritized maintaining our family feel. Interested in doing the same? Check out our “how to” tips below:

1.      Get To Know Your Team. Our account managers work hard to learn about our team’s lives outside of work - who is in school and what they are majoring in; who has kids and if so, how old they are; who likes to work where and what their favorite thing to do is. We know that treating our team with the same level of importance that we do our clients can only add to the excitement they bring to each event we staff.

2.      Ask For Their Feedback. Each month, our offices host a Monthly Coffee Talk where managers set aside an hour a month to highlight different clients, teach tricks of the trade, and have one on one time where the team can provide feedback to the company. You never know where the best ideas will be born and we love this opportunity to give our team a chance to see behind the scenes and give us their opinions on the day to day in the field.

3.      Appreciate Them! In addition to our Monthly Coffee Talks, we also do an Annual Staff Appreciation Event that gives our team the chance to be our guests for the night. Staff members get to celebrate their successes in the past year, thank the people that helped teach them in the field, and receive acknowledgement on what they have contributed over the most recent busy season – all while being served by our team!

As companies grow, maintaining a family-like feel is sometimes one of the first things to go by the wayside. But, at the end of the day, even the largest companies are only as strong as the team that works for them – and that is why At Your Service continues to make our team a priority as we continue to grow. If this sounds like the kind of company you want to be a part of, good news – we’re hiring! Join us and let your At Your Service Adventure begin!

Posted on April 18, 2018 .

Meet the Manager: Jennifer Molina, AYS LI

We recently sat down with Jenn from our Long Island office to learn more about what she does when she's not working, how her career has led her to manage our Long Island team and where she sees herself going next! Meet Jenn! 


1.)    How long have you been working with At Your Service? I have been working with At Your Service for 9 months now.
2.)    What roles have you played in At Your Service? I started in the field originally was a waiter! Then, i became an interviewer helping to hire members of our team. Now, I am the account manager for Long Island! 
3.)    Where did you grow up?  In Long Island - Mastic NY. I did spend the first years of my life in El Savlador though so I know English and Spanish.
4.)    If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why?  I’d be a filmmaker or working with Interior Design
5.)    What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I love food! I truly have a passion for it. I also love seeing people happy.
6.)    What’s your favorite part of working with At Your Service? There is such a feeling of home and family. I truly feel connected to everyone.
7.)    What do you do outside of work?  Outside of work I like to work out. Recently, the company had a fitness competition and I even worked out on my birthday! I have played almost every sport. I crave exercise. I also love to travel, go on road trips, and hit the beach.
8.)    Which is your favorite AYS location to visit?  I have only been to DC. I’d love to experience Chicago next, the Windy City. Can’t wait to see the bean. 
9.)    If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  Florence. I love learning how the culture  began and about the architecture. I really want to try the food -especially the pizza! I have heard it's different. 
10.)    What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work?  I like to binge watch Gilmore Girls and the Crown! 
11.)    What would be the advice you would give to a new manager at AYS? Come in with an open mind. People are always here to help you.
12.)     What would be the advice you would give to someone new as a field staff member? Go try all the venues you can and get your experience. Everything you do enhances your perspective.

Jenn works with us in Long Island. To work with her and join our team, contact us here.

Posted on March 28, 2018 .

Meet the Captain: Tun Chin Ang, AYS NYC

When you think of meticulous details, high standards and a class of his own, you think of Tun Chin Ang. A captain and waiter in our NYC team, Tun Chin is the type of staff member who makes you think he runs the place after only one shift at each venue. Tun Chin truly enjoys creating new ways of doing this job, leaving his own personal mark on every client and venue he visits. He not only loves to work he also has a true passion for quickly understanding everyone he meets whether it be a guest in the executive dining room or the head chef. Whether it's an exclusive wedding or an important business deal, Tun Chin is the kind of person that can truly make an event go from special to spectacular.  We recently sat down with this star staff member to learn a bit more about him. Check it out below. 

1. How long have you been working with us, Tun Chin? It’s been six years, I came in knowing very little about the catering industry.

2. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Malaysia and still have family there.

3. What attracted you to the hospitality industry?  I really like the personal touch and enjoy interacting with so many different kinds of people. It makes me happy to know something small I do can make a big impact on the event.  It’s pretty special to have the power to make someone feel better just by being you. Also, we have the opportunity to experience so many different venues, at times even getting to go to a different place every day. You really get to experience other people’s lives and learn from each other.

4. What's your favorite part about working for AYS?  AYS is a special family. I really enjoy the people I work with - you create so many great relationships. Also, the flexibility is great. I love to travel and get to travel so much more having a flexible schedule. Unlike some of my friends I never have to take work home with me which makes it a lot more fun.

5. What advice would give you a new member of AYS? I would say you must be willing to learn. No matter how much you knew before there is so much more to learn.  You should be wanting to learn for yourself not just to pick up a paycheck. Recognize the importance of presentation and detail that is what has set me apart. Some clients have even adapted what I have created and made it the standard at their location. That did not come overnight. That came from watching the more senior members of the company seeing how they did things. Noticing that even if it took them 10 times they would not let a guest see the setup unless was truly perfect.

 6. How do you unwind after a long day? After an stressful day, I love to do yoga, travel, and spend time with friends and family.

To work with Tun and the other star staff members that make up the AYS team, click HERE.

Posted on March 2, 2018 and filed under Meet the Manager.

Attitude Is Everything

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Here at AYS, "Attitude is Everything." From the first interview, to the 100th event of the season, our team takes pride in the idea that how they interact with our clients and their guests is bigger than anything else we ask them to do. Most staffing companies can provide you someone that can carry a tray and pass food, but can every company send you people that truly want to make an impression on your clients and have you remember their name? 

At AYS, we value (and make note of) someone’s attitude with as much importance as we do their skill. During our hiring process and at our orientation, our team takes the time to observe not only what the potential candidates already know how to do but also their desire to learn more about how we do things as a company for our clients. Although we can train someone to do the technical aspects of this position, we cannot train someone to care for others. The preceding is what we feel truly makes the AYS Difference.

We recently asked a few team members what they liked most about working with us. The common thread in each was that they enjoy knowing they can make a difference; that every time they go to a client is a chance to, in the words of Hamilton, "not throw away my shot."  Our team strives to be remembered by our clients for their smiles, their work ethic and, most of all, for making a true mark on our clients’ guests and our clients themselves!

We can't wait to show you how much we care and how attitude has truly helped us make our mark in the service world. Be our guest, be our guest, put our service to the test! To partner with AYS on a future event, contact us here. 

-Suzanne Schwartzberg, AYS NYC

Posted on February 13, 2018 .

On The Scene: Washington, DC

Recently, our DC managers sat down to share with us everything from the best places to go in DC to the best things to know before you go on an interview. Check it out below!


Does your city have a nickname?  The Capital!!!

Best place to grab a bite? We love to step out to District Taco for a quick lunch. Although it’s never that quick because the line is always out the door...but that is just a sign that it is definitely worth the wait!

Best local watering hole? Bar Deco is located right next to the Capital One Arena so you get the feel of being a part of the excitement without paying the big price! Their rooftop is the best place to grab a drink after a long day at work!

Favorite local charity to support/volunteer at?  This year for our Day of Service, we decided to serve lunch at S.O.M.E. and it was such a fun and wonderful experience. We plan on making it a more regular thing!

Favorite sports team? REDSKINS!!!!!

Best resume pro-tip? Always double check spelling and punctuation! That is such a big pet peeve of ours and can really make an impact in a good OR bad way.

Best interview questions you’ve ever been asked? 

Casey: One of the most unexpected questions I’ve ever been asked is what song I would choose to represent myself. That surprised me and made me think out of the box.

Myriam: “Tell me about a time you screwed up.” This question allows you to show how you turned a mistake into a positive situation.

Best advice for an interviewee? Always research information about the company so you know a little bit about the position prior to going in to your interview.

To work with our DC team, contact us here.

Posted on January 12, 2018 .