Meet the Team Member: Maria Rios, AYS NYC & LI

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When you think hard working and dedicated, you think Maria Rios. A member of both our NYC and LI teams, Maria Rios is the type of staff member who would commute into Manhattan only to commute out of Manhattan if it meant helping out a client in need. Maria is a manager's dream. She not only loves to work, but she brings a passion for hospitality and commitment to good service that few have ever seen before. Whether it's working in the city or out on Long Island, when Maria is at an event we just know it is going to be a success! We recently sat down with this star staff member to learn a bit more about her. Check it out below. 

1. How long have you been working with us, Maria? It's already been two years! My how time flies!

2. Where did you grow up? I grew up in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

3. What attracted you to the hospitality industry? Someone once said: “It always seems impossible until it is done." That’s exactly the feeling I get when I am at work. What I love about hospitality is the adrenaline. The passion. The interactions. I LOVE what I’m doing. The feeling I get every morning when I start working, not knowing what will be happen that day, and at the end of the day, the satisfaction of the work done. It's priceless.

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4. What's your favorite part about working for AYS? I get to meet so many fascinating people, from the clients and the managers to our staff and the staff at the locations we are going to. A few weeks ago, I got the opportunity to worked with some survivors from 9/11. They were people just like us, working in catering on those buildings. After I heard them, I could not have felt more blessed to been working with them. Their stories are simply AMAZING. Also, just working for AYS in general - it's the first time in 13 years in this business where I've feel part of something. Working for AYS is knowing someone cares.

5. How do you unwind after a long day? After an stressful day, I love to just chill with my dogs (pictured above). In the summer, I pick them up and take them for long walks at the beach. And of course, a great Malbec after a long day always help! Ha! 

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

Posted on November 17, 2017 .

Meet the Managers: Monica and Sue, AYS NYC

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Monica and Sue are the two newest managers to join our Time Square office! We recently interviewed them for our 'Meet the Manager' segment on our blog! Check it out below:

1.)  How long have you been working with At Your Service?  Sue and Monica: We've both been here about a month now! 

2.)  Where did you grow up?  Sue: Rockland County, NY Monica: Phillipines

3.)  What’s your Alma Mater?   Sue: Binghamton University. Monica: University of St. La Salle.

4.)  If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why?  Sue: Tourism- I love people and the travel industry as a whole. That or I'd be a writer - as I love words and being able to express my point of view. Monica: Healthcare as it is my background of education. I have a lot of experience in the healthcare industry. I started from the bottom of the work chain and made my way up. I have an in-depth understanding with how the system works.

5.)  What attracted you to the hospitality industry?   Sue: The great interactions! Also, knowing I could make a big difference in someone's day and that they would remember me. Monica: The passion I have working with people, the connection, the satisfaction of working together, and making it easier for everyone to co-exist in society.

6.)  What’s your favorite part of working with At Your Service?  Sue: Getting to know the staff and feeling I'm part of something bigger than myself. Monica: The people I work with in the office, and inter-office co-workers! Also, the clients together with staff members. When the event is successful, both clients and staff members are happy – it inspires me to be better both personally and professionally. 

7. )  What do you do outside of work?  Sue: Explore NYC, try to capture that perfect camera shot, spend time with friends and family. Monica: Having a great time with my friends, eating good comfort food, and just enjoying everything around me. Making the most out of what’s in front of me! 

8.)  Which is your favorite AYS location to visit?  Sue: I haven't been to any but would love to see what our new Chicago office is like! Monica: BOSTON! I love the Pats! 

9.)  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  Sue: Eastern Europe, esp. Austria and Prague. I love exploring European cities! I am Austrian in my heritage and have been told by many people I should experience Prague. Monica: Maldives - the beach is a place close to heaven I believe.

10.)  What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work?  Sue: Checking out some of the great food found in many of the Queens neighborhoods and taking a long walk. Monica: Have a drink! (Haha!) Sorry, but it’s true. A wine a day keeps the doctor away. (Just Kidding!)

Posted on October 20, 2017 .

What's Important to Know When It Comes to Hiring a Hospitality Staffing Agency?

The decision to use a hospitality staffing company to fulfill front of house service needs is not one to be taken lightly.  When doing so, you need to feel confident that the staffing agency you partner with will provide you with the same caliber of staff that you typically hire yourself.  But, how do you do this?  Well, you need to be sure you’re asking the following questions:

  1. How do they hire their own staff? If the agency doesn't take their time to vet their employees then you can't be confident they are sending you a quality team. At AYS, we recruit from popular job search websites, college campuses, and the surrounding community. Our managers and trained office staff personally determine whether applicants are worth investing in by interviewing each and every potential new hire in person.
  2. Do they provide training for their staff? If your partner just sends untrained staff out to your events, then your client will surely be able to tell that you brought it outside help. That's why here at AYS, we conduct a four hour course before placing new staff on work. This course is led by seasoned team leaders and captains who weed out staff based on their characteristics such as catering ability, knowledge, attitude, and presentation.
  3. Do they provide uniforms? Hospitality staff need to know where to get a uniform if they need one or else they'll show up to your event unprepared! AYS will loan out standard uniform pieces and require all staff to get their uniforms approved and go to our clients prepared and dressed appropriately according to their standards.
  4. Can you reach them after hours and on weekends? Hospitality is not a 9 to 5 industry so your staffing partner can't be either. Here at AYS we recognize that in the hospitality industry changes can happen at the eleventh hour - that is why we always have a manager on call during weeknights, weekends, and holidays. We want to make sure that there will be a point of contact between our staff and our clients at all times.
  5.  How do they choose staff for events? If you provide feedback on temporary staff then that feedback should be taken seriously - if it's not then what's the point? AYS uses our in-house software to track staff and take note of their performance, strengths, and weaknesses. We use this to carefully book service staff we think would be the best fit for our clients’ needs.

At Your Service Staffing can provide bartenders, waiters, captains, coat check staff and unparalleled service for exclusive catered events. CONTACT US TODAY TO LEARN MORE!

Posted on August 11, 2017 .

Our Rising Star

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The Society for Hospitality and Foodservice Management (SHFM) has named our very own Casey McGinnis as a Rising Star!  Like At Your Service Staffing, SHFM recognizes the important role young professionals play in ensuring the continued success of the corporate foodservice and hospitality industries. The SHFM Rising Stars Program has been established to recognize rising stars at foodservice and hospitality companies.

Casey has excelled as a Client Relations and Staffing Account Manager for our DC office since joining our team last year.  Described by her co-workers as hard working, dedicated and a great teammate, it comes as no surprise to us that she has been recognized as a Rising Star for SHFM.

We are so proud of this recognition! Congratulations Casey! 

Posted on August 2, 2017 .

SHFM Critical Issues

The hospitality industry does not slow down or stop but it is important to take time connect with our colleagues and discuss current topics in our industry.

On Tuesday April 25th, myself and two members of the AYS Account Manager Team- Jennifer Baker and Irmak Hatiboglu attended the SHFM 15th annual Critical Issues conference hosted by Credit Suisse.

The newly renovated Credit Suisse was an amazing location for this event and the team there exemplified hospitality.  There were three panels throughout the day, all very educational and informative. 

However, what really struck a chord with us was when one of the panelists during the Food and Dining Styles presentation mentioned that we can have brand new cafeterias, have a focus on Wellness in the workplace and essentially have the best of everything but if it is not driven with hospitality or if hospitality is not at the core of it all, the best of the best is all for naught.

Hospitality 360 was such a fitting title for this SHFM Critical Issues Conference.  We look forward to the 16th Annual Conference!

-Jeanine Cosgrove-Albert, Vice President

Posted on May 3, 2017 .

Client Spotlight: Notre Dame of MD

Our Baltimore based management team recently sat down with our client, Dana, at Notre Dame to learn a bit more about what things are like on the other side of the industry and why she likes working with AYS! That conversation is shared below.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?  I have always enjoyed cooking and being around food since I was young.  When I was in college, I saw an opportunity for a marketing internship with a catering company.  It sounded like my dream job!  I applied, got the position, and have continued to work in hospitality industry for five years now.

What do you find most rewarding about the industry?  Hearing about a guests experience is the most rewarding aspect for me.  I enjoy hearing what we did well, and what we can improve on next time.  The best part is being able to go back to my team and share the positive feedback with them. 

What is the most important attribute you look for when hiring staff?  The most important attribute I look for when hiring staff is an upbeat and positive attitude.  At SAGE, we tell our staff that a smile is part of their uniform.  There are times when our job gets stressful, and having staff who stay positive and upbeat is key to an events success. 

What is your favorite part about working with AYS?  My favorite part about working with AYS is always knowing what to expect.  AYS provides quality, hard working and reliable staff for each and every event.  Many of their servers have grown to feel like part of our team here at NDMU. We are very grateful for them!

To work with the same Baltimore based team that Dana does, click here. 

Posted on April 27, 2017 .

Meet the Manager: MacKenzie Collins, AYS NYC

1.)  How long have you been working with At Your Service? I started with AYS in November 2016! 

2.)  Where did you grow up? I grew up in Rhode Island.

3.)  What’s your Alma Mater? I went to DePaul University!

4.)  If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? I would be a judge on any/all food competitions on the Food Network.  I love cooking and have a borderline unhealthy obsession with food.  Any job/industry where I would get paid to enjoy food is the end all be all for me.  Dream big, I know.

5.)  What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I really enjoy working with people and the notion that every day brings something different.

6.)  What’s your favorite part of working with At Your Service? The people. Since I started, I have been welcomed by our team with open arms.  It truly feels like one big family.  I could not ask for better coworkers!

7. )  What do you do outside of work? I have been planning to join a gym for the past 3 years, but until then, I enjoy the occasional (daily) glass(es) of wine and spending time with friends and family.

8.)  Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I have not yet had the chance to visit any of our other locations, but would love to go to DC.

9.)  If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Greece.  I have always wanted to go and I recently found out I am half Greek, so it seems right.

10.)  What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work?   I like to head home and de-stress by cooking a nice meal while listening to Etta James Pandora.  If not, dinner with friends or family is always a nice treat.

To work with MacKenzie and the NYC team, contact us here.

Posted on April 3, 2017 .

Our Day Of Service With Habitat for Humanity

The At Your Service Long Island office recently volunteered at Habitat for Humanity Suffolk County as part of the At Your Service Day of Service series. Our team was honored to help build a one story house in Ronkonkoma. We had a lot of fun - and we learned a lot too.

Before we suited up, we got to learn a little about the Habitat program from our coordinator, Chris. Habitat has the home recipients participate in a series of classes on finance and basic home repair prior to moving into the home.  Recipients work for 300 hours on the home they will be receiving - they call this sweat equity.  The program establishes a foundation so the recipients of a Habitat home can successfully maintain and stay in that home.

Through partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service, Habitat for Humanity gives housing for AmeriCorps volunteers, individuals who serve full time to volunteer at Habitat or affiliates and gain scholarship money to use to further their education at the end of their term. We got the chance to work with 2 individuals from AmeriCorps, (they were in charge of making sure we didn’t get hurt in the process!) and despite the cold, we had a great time and really felt like we were making a difference in the community.

The house itself is going to a Huntington School district security guard, Youlanda Carey. Huntington High School’s Habitat for Humanity Club raised $20,000 to support the Habitat efforts and came out to volunteer at least once a week to work on the house that Ms. Carey will be receiving.

This day really encouraged us and made us feel like we were making a difference for this home for a very deserving person. The project is running into the summer so we are hoping to make it back there! (Once the weather gets warmer!)

Thanks to Habitat for having us!!

Posted on March 9, 2017 .

AYS Behind the Scenes: In Boston with Karen

AYS Behind the Scenes is a new blog series focused on getting the inside scoop on our office cities right from our management team. We have Karen Cavanaugh, our Operations Manager, fill us in on Boston for the inaugural post. 

Karen (left) with her husband, Jimmy.

Karen (left) with her husband, Jimmy.

Does your city have a nickname? Tourists call it Beantown, but I don’t know anyone from Boston that calls it that! When someone says they’re going to “the city” or “into town” in Massachusetts, you just KNOW where they’re headed – it’s all the nickname they need.

Best place to grab a bite? For brunch, I love Met Back Bay – so, so good! For a late night bite, my friends and I used to go to NY Pizza on Columbus – better than any pizza I’ve ever had in New York City!

Best local watering hole? JJ Foley’s in the South End for sure. But go to the ATM first, as it’s cash only. Oh and if you go, tell Jerry I said hello!

Favorite local charity to support/volunteer at? We love going to Cradles to Crayons – it’s a charity that provides kids age 12 and under living in low-income situations with items deemed essential for them at home, at school and at play.

Favorite sports team? TOM BRADY IS THE BEST EVAH! No, but really – love the Pats! The Sunday ritual of going to my parents’ house for the game is SO NEW ENGLAND – but so am I!

Best resume pro-tip? Try to focus in on the more recent positions in your career – no one needs to read about what you did your junior year of high school.

Best interview questions you’ve ever been asked? I once was asked what I was going to do if I didn’t get the job. That one threw me for a loop.

Best advice for an interviewee? Be professional BUT be yourself! Your interviewer is going to want to leave the interview knowing more about who you are as a person than why you chose the major you did in college. It’s important to dress and act the part, but make sure you’re doing so in a way that’s still authentic to you. Being genuine goes a long way in the real world.

Posted on February 20, 2017 .

Client Spotlight: Gourmet Caterers

Gourmet Caterers is a renowned Boston-based catering company and one of our incredible clients.  We recently got the chance to ask Karen Denaples, Gourmet Caterers’ Staffing Manager, some questions about how she got started and why she chooses AYS for her temporary staffing needs.

How did you get into the hospitality industry?  I started as a way to earn extra money.  My daughter was 8 months old and I needed to be with adults.  What better way to do both!

What do you find most rewarding about the industry?  I always liked working an event from start to finish, knowing that the client was truly happy.

What is the most important attribute you look for when hiring staff?  I think knowledge is a good thing but a willingness to learn is needed more than that.  Anyone can be trained if they want to be.

What is your favorite part about working with AYS?  The office staff for sure.  I am confident they know what I am looking for and the quality of staff I need. 

To work with the same Boston based team as Karen, contact us here. 

Posted on February 13, 2017 .