Essential Staffing Recommendations for Specialty Events

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When restaurant guests request your venue for special events your role shifts from restaurateur to event manager. In turn, your staff is tasked with working the event in addition to their regular roles. They’ll need their skills in customer service, food handling, and time management to handle event schedules, set menus, and event guests with unique requests. 

Culinary Staffing is here to help you prepare for all your specialty events. These essential recommendations for staffing specialty events are your tool for bringing in the right help and feeling secure in your event plans. 

Identifying Staffing Recommendations for Specialty Events

Before we leap into our specialty events staffing recommendations it’s important to note how special events alter your restaurant’s standard operating procedures. Events are a curated experience organized by you and your client. 

Arranged to accommodate specific needs beyond your customary restaurant operations, whether it is in the form of additional allergy-friendly meal options or a restricted menu to accommodate more guests, you can identify your specific staffing needs by reviewing how events will differ from a standard workday:

  • Events require a dedicated staff, space for seating, and any entertainment plans. Your staffing needs to reflect this. Having additional staff on shift who adapt to change well will help keep the entire restaurant running smoothly.  
  • Special events often feature a menu distinct from your classic offerings. This heightens the need for back-of-house staff who are cross-trained and able to help kitchen-wide. 
  • Events add an extra layer of nuance to the standard restaurant shift. During the hiring and training process ensure staff are well versed in your event protocols, making the transition from restaurant mode to event mode quick and precise!

There may be other differences unique to the events you host, but, the key is to look at the particulars of the occasion to identify where additional help is needed.

Staffing Traits and Skills Suited to Specialty Events

This first set of staffing recommendations for specialty events focuses on the traits to look for when hiring employees for events. Many of these skills are already suited to restaurant work but take on higher importance when it comes to special occasions.

1. Team Coordination

Specialty events are a time when everything needs to run perfectly to ensure guest satisfaction. Team coordination is more important than ever in these situations. In hiring for events, seek employees who have a successful history of working in large teams. This indicates they are able to coordinate through hectic times. 

2. Heightened Time Management

During a specialty event, there is a finite time for every task to be accomplished. In any given restaurant shift, your staff has time to tidy up, manage restaurant upkeep, and check on customer needs without a strict timeline. At events, ensuring everything happens within the confines of the event schedule will ensure guests are satisfied every time. For this to occur, heightened time management is crucial.

3. Attention to Guest Experience 

Special events are finely tuned, specific occasions with one objective: a curated guest experience. Events are structured around a particular goal for the guests, be it celebrating a company milestone, enjoying a holiday, or engaging with event speakers. This structure aids in setting staff goals when catering to the specific needs of the event guests. 

4. Schedule Availability

Specialty events all have one thing in common: they happen on a vastly different schedule from classic restaurant staff work. Your staff need flexible scheduling availability, to be able to meet the needs of each event. When hiring for events, seek out temporary and short-term employees who are flexible to ensure you have staff when you need them.

5. Exceptional Organizational Skills

The time crunch of event structures is a recurring theme throughout these staffing recommendations for specialty events. To be able to provide thoughtful customer service, exceptional organizational skills are a must! The more your staff can manage moving pieces and keep the space tidy and easy to navigate, the more enjoyment guests will experience.

6. Proactivity

Proactivity is one of the best traits to seek in any employee. It’s especially helpful when searching for the right people to make your special events shine bright. Staff who take the initiative to step into a new role and pick up slack will give you less to worry about.

7. Audience Adaptability

The key to excellent service workers is the ability to work with any guest audience. There are some staff who are most suited to different locations and occasions. Then there are the folks who can fit into any business and meet the expectations of patrons with ease. Finding those adaptive employees helps you make a success of each special event. 

8. Cross-Trained Skill Sets

Cross-trained employees are the best employees. In special event situations, the more roles your employees can step into as needed, the better. When you search for service industry workers for your events, place cross-training at the top of your list of wants. That ensures your staff is able to work from a whole-restaurant and event perspective.

Key Staffing Needs for Specialty Events

When coupled with all the required skills of event staff, these key staffing needs for specialty events create the framework of your event plan. These positions already play a role in your restaurant–apart from the event manager. In event settings, they take on specific responsibilities that help the event run smoothly.

1. Hosts

Customer care starts at the host’s stand. For special events, it’s best to have a front door host, as well as a few support hosts to always have someone greeting guests and helping them find where to go for the event or delicious meal. The host’s job is altered by special events, particularly when seating is involved. Event layout, duration of the event, who to seat, and when to seat them all become the host’s job. 

2. Servers

Servers keep meals moving where they need to go and smiles beaming among the guests. For special events, it can be helpful to bump up the numbers of your front-of-house staff temporarily. In addition to your usual servers, bring in a few temps with casual scheduling to round out the team and give regular staff a break during the busy seasons.

3. Bartenders

Specialty events are a time of celebration for your guests, ranging from birthdays to company mixers. During events, a bartender who can accommodate everybody by mixing great cocktails and mocktails can upsell anyone in the room. To boost bar profits and give patrons a taste of something new, a designated bartender is a necessary event feature! Your standard bartender is a good start. For large events, hiring some temporary bartenders for support will help you manage the crowd and keep the drinks flowing.

4. Chefs

Chefs bring the sizzle to your specialty events! Depending on event parameters, you may find specialty chefs are a must. For an immersive eating experience, a hibachi chef would be the perfect style choice, or for a Sunday fundraiser a garde manger creating picture-perfect charcuterie boards paired with a patissier who can make the perfect mirror glaze or flaky croissant. No matter what niche skill set, Culinary Staffing is ready to get you the chef you need.

5. Prep Cooks and Kitchen Hands

Kitchen prep staff are there to support your chefs and keep the heat turned up in the kitchen! These folks need to be organized, and well-versed in food storage procedures and labeling systems. Their job is to anticipate the kitchen’s needs to maintain peak efficiency. Their ability to julienne carrots or mince garlic and marinate ingredients allows for the chefs to whip up plated masterpieces. 

6. Event Managers

The other staffing sections on this list are familiar to everyday restaurant situations. The event manager position is unique, focusing only on specialty events and specific occasions. Your event manager is responsible for capturing event expectations and coordinating the translation into event magic. They also act as the main point of contact between your restaurant and the guest, so optimal customer service skills are a must. 

7. Bussers

Bussers play a vital role all of the time. Their importance is magnified in the event of a special occasion. Keeping the dining area clean and ready for guests to enjoy is a constant need. The best bussers are always cleaning up, looking at details, and being ready to handle impromptu guest messes. Bussers are the backbone of your staff.

8. Dishwashing and Cleanup Staff

Dishwashing and cleanup staff go hand-in-hand with your bussers. When these back-of-house workers are precise in their tasks they support a seamless guest experience. If the event you’re working at is at a new location, give your back-of-house staff time in advance to get acquainted with the layout and find their groove.

Frequently Asked Questions About Specialty Event Staffing Recommendations 

These FAQs about staffing recommendations for specialty events will get you thinking about how staffing has a role in the success of your business. Read on for answers that give you more to consider in finding the right staff for all your special events.

What are the Three Things You Must Consider When Planning Your Staffing Needs?

When planning your staffing needs you must consider:

  1. Projected growth: In particular, when planning around staffing recommendations for specialty events, your projected growth relates most firmly to future events. As you bring in event staff, consider how they could fit for future events, so you can build a roster of specialty event hires.
  2. HR needs: A lot of your HR needs around hiring for specialty events will focus on the onboarding process to get people started quickly. When you work with a staffing agency such as Culinary Staffing those needs are lessened, since we manage the initial interviews and employee vetting process for you.
  3. Workplace culture: How do these new hires fit into your workplace culture? How does your culture translate to one-off and specialty events? The main factor to consider around workplace culture in specialty events is how your culture plays a role in event success.

These three facets of staffing needs apply to long-term staffing solutions and specialty event hiring terms. For events in particular, these three staffing considerations help streamline your process for future events.

What are the Types of Staffing?

The common types of staffing are:

  • Temporary and contract-to-hire staffing
  • Short-term staffing
  • Long-term staffing
  • Direct hire staffing
  • Payroll services staffing
  • Strategic staffing

When it comes to staffing recommendations for specialty events the key types of staffing to focus on are temporary and short-term staffing. Temporary staff will make up the majority of your event workers. Short-term staffing is useful for ongoing event setups. 

What are the Five C’s of Staffing?

The five C’s of staffing are:

  1. Character
  2. Convictions
  3. Chemistry
  4. Competencies
  5. Capacity

These five C’s of staffing are designed so that each is less important than the one before it. It starts with character, because staff of quality character will be ready to help and willing to learn. Convictions play into character, and help build up what makes your staff keep reaching for greater success with customers.

Chemistry comes into play with teamwork and your workplace culture. Competencies are a base need. They are, however, lower down on the list because employees with strong character and convictions will work hard to be competent. Capacity comes last and complements the rest of the list. The capacity to learn and approach work with a growth mindset guarantees the smooth evolution of workplace practices.

What Do You Call People Who Help at Events?

The people who help at events are most specifically called event coordinators and managers. This doesn’t encompass the people who work the event, such as servers, hosts, and cleaners. The event coordinator is the person responsible for planning the event and making sure everything happens according to plan. 

Specialty Event Staffing Recommendations: Staffed to Perfection

These staffing recommendations for specialty events will get you ready to host events with ease. The ability to lean on your staff throughout events starts with having the right staff, and Culinary Staffing can help you there! Connect with our staffing experts and enjoy our database of qualified candidates to build your employee roster.