Staffing Firms Boost Hotel Banquet Business

By Will Temby

More and more hotels have been cranking up the competitive heat in the lucrative banquet business over the last several years to offset revenue losses in this tough market.

They’ve been successful at filling huge halls and spacious ballrooms with a variety of clients, including military groups and business conventions. Banquets can be very profitable because of their higher checks and lower food costs.

But how can these hotels accommodate groups if they don’t have a big permanent staff? Most can’t afford to keep extra employees on the payroll throughout the year. The answer is that they’re turning to temp agencies to contract and expand as functions appear on the radar screen.

Apprentice Personnel has someone on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to answer requests. And the regularly check in with their hotel, restaurant and catering company clients in Kansas and Colorado to see if there is a need for banquet assistance over the weekend or in the upcoming week.

Servers sent out are required to go through an agency-sponsored orientation before working a banquet. They watch a detailed video, take a quiz and demonstrate their skills by carrying a tray filled with plates. They also check in at the agency in proper uniform for a briefing right before an event.

Recently, Fort Carson hosted a military ball for 700 guests at the Antlers Hilton in Colorado Springs. E-mails began flowing into Apprentice Personnel a few days prior to the ball from the banquet captain asking for servers and a crew to set up and tear down.

In the days and even hours before the function, the Antlers called to bump up the number of servers to a total of 14. The hotel then called the morning following the event to request many of the same servers and set-up crew for functions happening over the next two days.

Catering companies like Kansas City Catering, which has been in business for 27 years, also rely on Apprentice Personnel. Recently, they called the agency at 5:45 p.m. requesting eight servers for a 1,500-person convention at 7 p.m. Workers were called immediately and made it to the event in time and ready to serve.

About the Author

Will Temby

Will has enjoyed a 20-year career in leadership positions in the hospitality and travel industry throughout the U.S. with the Hyatt, Sheraton, Hilton, Renaissance and Steamboat Ski and Resort corporations. Will received a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. From 2000-2007, he served as President and CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. He also served as Vice President-Special Projects for the University of Colorado Foundation from 2007 to 2009. Will is a past Chair of the Board of Directors of the National Homeland Defense Foundation and former member of the United States Chamber of Commerce Committee of 100. He is married to Nan, has five wonderful children, and enjoys coaching, traveling, hiking, golfing and skiing.

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