Meet the Manager: Laura Boucher, AYS BOS/MW

Meet Laura, our Metrowest and Boston Client Relations and Staffing Manager! Laura joins our team with a history in the hospitality staffing industry and has already begun making her mark on our Massachusetts markets this season! To work with Laura, contact us here.

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

2. Where did you grow up? I grew up in a small town in southern New Hampshire

3. What’s your Alma Mater? University of New Hampshire. Go Wildcats!!

4. If you had to work in any other industry, which would it be and why? I’m not exactly sure… but any job where I could work with animals would be amazing!

5. What attracted you to the hospitality industry? I grew up around the restaurant industry my whole life - my father owns several restaurants in NH that I worked at throughout high school/college, so I like to think I have a little of that hospitality gene in my blood!

6. What is your favorite part of working with At Your Service? I like that I get to contribute to making an event/function a positive and memorable experience for both guests and clients. It’s also cool to work with such a wide variety of venues!

7. What do you do outside of work? Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my dog Winston, hanging out with friends and family, and snowboarding to get me through the long New England winters!

8. Which is your favorite AYS location to visit? I have not yet visited any of our other locations, but I’d love to visit DC and NYC!

9. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? This is a tough one… there’s so many parts of the world I haven’t seen yet and would love to travel to. But if I could hop on a plane tomorrow and go anywhere I’d probably check Greece off the list!

10. What’s your favorite way to unwind after a long day of work? Go to the dog park with Winston followed by a glass of wine on my couch with my roomies!

11. What advice would you give a new AYS manager? If you feel like there’s a million things going on at once…don’t worry, that’s part of the job! There’s a lot to keep up with on a daily basis, and what helps me is making To Do lists so things don’t slip through the cracks!

12. What advice would you give to a new field staff member? Have a good attitude!!! It’s one of the easiest things to do that can make the biggest difference. Skills can be taught, but caring about your work and having a positive attitude really makes all the difference 😊

Posted on November 15, 2018 .

Meet the Team Member: Gwen Stephens, AYS NYC

What do we look for when we hire? Our NYC interviewer, Gwen Stephens, reveals what it takes to be a member of the At Your Service Team!

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1. How long have you been working with us, Gwen? I began in the field in September 2016 and became the New York City Hiring Coordinator in March of this year.

2. As the hiring coordinator what do you do? I review all the applications and schedule interviews with those that seem to have potential. After that I conduct daily in person interviews, send offer letters and handle all hiring paperwork.

3. What do you look for when you decide to hire someone? I really believe in our motto: Attitude is everything. You do not need to have a lot of experience but you do have to be willing to learn, be open to feedback, and be able to work well with others. Being on time and having all required documents also leaves a positive impression.

4. What experience did you have before working for At Your Service? I had worked in retail and hospitals previous to my time here. It’s funny to think now but when I was hired I never had held a tray in my life! I love that AYS is willing to give people with no experience a chance if they have the right attitude! You truly build your own brand - when I applied for the hiring coordinator job I had never met the account managers as they were new. BUT, they knew who I was from the feedback clients and team leaders had given them, and that’s what gave me the opportunity to be here today.

5. What advice would you give to a new hire? No matter how small you feel the job you are assigned at a specific event is, do your best. It did not matter what I did I wanted to be proud of my work and clients saw that and offered me more opportunities. Be open to learning new things and watch others that are experienced to see how they do such a great job.

6. What is your favorite experience so far with At Your Service? We had the head of one of our client companies attend a lunch. It was a very hectic high stress day and everyone just worked together and jumped in. The client, the event planner, the in house staff, my coworkers and I stayed positive and really came together as one team! After the client emailed us how flawless the VIP felt our event went. Knowing I played a part in something that big was very rewarding.

7. How do you unwind after a long day? I like to plan events for my loved ones, picking out food and décor. I also love shopping and am a big foodie. I am going to Japan this year and can’t wait!

To become a part of AYS and have an opportunity to meet with Gwen and our other great hiring coordinators click here.

Posted on October 25, 2018 .

Handling Hospitality with CARE

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Connect. Anticipate. Respect. Exceed. In her recent presentation on “Achieving Hospitality Excellence” with our management team, Shelley Dickinson identified these four actions (CARE) as a necessity in providing a high-quality hospitality experience.

  • Connect. As we’ve discussed earlier in this blog series, connecting on a personal level with your clients is the best way to form a lasting loyalty. Reading and feeding their signs while interacting with them makes you an indispensable part of their experience – and guarantees that you will be their go to for providing hospitality services to them in the future.

  • Anticipate. Anticipating client needs is an incredible way to provide an excellent hospitality experience for your client. To know what someone may need before they need it ensures that they are feeling heard. Those non-verbal cues that guests share saying “make me feel important” are addressed when you give them something they want before they even have to ask for it.

  • Respect. Showing respect for not only your clients but your staff, too, allows you to create a positive vibe that will be felt throughout your event. By showing respect for your staff, you put them in the mindset to pay it forward to your clients. If they know you respect them then they will respect the guests at your event – ensuring the best experience for everyone involved.

  • Exceed. Exceeding client expectations by going above and beyond takes loyal clients and turns them into referring clients. Clients whose needs are met come back again to work with you. Clients whose needs are exceeded bring their friends to work with you as well. Building your business through referrals is akin to getting paid interest on your savings account – it’s a reward for the job you were doing anyway.

“The road to success is paved with mistakes well handled.” As Shelley closed out her presentation, she shared this with us and as we close out this blog series, we wanted to share this with you. In hospitality, as is in life, how you handle issues often is a better reflection of who you are and the service you provide than anything else. Handling situations with CARE will ensure future success.

Do you use CARE in hospitality? Share with us how in the comments below and you may be featured in an upcoming post!

CARE with us! Contact us here.

Posted on October 18, 2018 .

Connecting the Dots in Hospitality

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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 defusing 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

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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

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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! 

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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 .