When it comes to event staffing, we have been around the block once or twice. From working with household names to international businesses and plucky local start-ups, we have seen it all. Product launches for a shoestring technology business, samplings at local supermarkets, brand launches to give away cars, concerts and movie premiers. We’re probably in a position to claim a certain level of expertise.
We have gathered staffing expertise in so many broad categories that we could write a blog on each one – and sometimes we do. When someone asked us for a team of bartenders to staff their bar for a 1920’s style product release for 1000 people, we knew that someone who knows how to pour a beer and a vodka lime and tonic, isn’t going to be good enough. We look at what’s expected, and find staff that can get the job done, by defining the job in the first place.
Can you pour an Old-Fashioned? What are the ingredients? What sort of garnish would you use?
What about a Cosmopolitan?
How do you handle a busy cash bar?
What do you say to a drunk patron?
These are just a few of the questions that bartending staff who know what they’re doing will be able to answer easily.
This is just one example of how event staffing can be done well, and it’s an opportunity – if missed or underestimated – to do it poorly. Finding someone who fits a general overview of the role, isn’t the same as finding a team of staff that can get the job done brilliantly.
Perhaps wait staff are the most underestimated.
Aside from having to know how to carry plates (far more complicated than you think) wait staff also need to be able to explain various dishes and interact with the public. Even at a cocktail function, when walking around with a tray of food a good waiter or waitress should be able to explain exactly what they are holding, and how it was made. They should also be able to handle questions like, “is this salty?”
“This hasn’t got gluten in it does it?”
“I’m allergic to peanuts, was this cooked near peanuts?”
Promotional staff are often the reason that an event fails to deliver at optimum levels. We discovered the gap in staffing early on, with a lack of product knowledge, or experience in the specific event usually being the reason for less than stellar results. The staff weren’t to blame, and the client certainly wasn’t – we needed to hold ourselves to a higher standard. So we began increasing the number of requirements we had for special events, from increasing product knowledge requirements to an appreciation of the intricacies of a client’s business. We put planning processes in place and had staff go through a testing protocol to ensure everyone was up to standard.
Security and valet services are another event staffing area that is often underestimated, because security guards are licensed and valets are experienced. However, with both, an understanding by the staff of the expectations involved is critical. Have security staff worked in a, “hands off,” fashion before? Meaning, are the staff experienced in negotiating an elegant removal of a guest from a location, without creating a fuss? At a black-tie function when a guest becomes intoxicated, and it is the host’s legal responsibility to remove them from the premises, a good security guard is worth their weight in gold. Likewise, the valet who has to collect a car urgently due to a guest having an emergency, and manages to do so without an issue can create a feeling of gratitude in that guest, which echoes through to the host.
Special event staffing is a discipline reliant on knowledge, and a commitment to top performance. Event staff at PUSH Agency are held to a high level of performance, and we hold ourselves to that level also. Staff are the reason that events succeed and fail, and event staffing, when looked at in this fashion, becomes crucial, especially when you consider how much money is being invested in the event, by a business that expects results.