Waitstaff in Dallas remain among the best in the nation
The events industry of the Dallas Fort Worth area consists of a vibrant collage of small to large-sized companies. From independent caterers to national rental companies, they all face the many challenges inherent to events everywhere. And from the planning to the cleanup, each company represents a critical piece to the puzzle. If even one vendor fails, then the whole event could be jeopardized. Therefore, the stakes remain high every single time, for every single player. That dynamic exists because each event represents a unique creation of ambiance intended to yield cherished memories for its attendees. Consistency remains critical for caterers and waitstaff in Dallas, where flawless execution represents the gold standard. Aside from the client’s money spent, the fate of their special moments rests in the hands of the companies and people working hard to make it happen.
Special events represent unique challenges to catering and waitstaff in Dallas
As unique creations, all events remain completely new to their interacting participants. Whether a guest attending or a staff member working, each event experience becomes as unique as a fingerprint. But from coordinating vendors, to execute a plan in a rapidly-changing environment, events quickly become complex. And as complexity increases in any system, so do the number of accidents, miscalculations and critical errors. From chefs accidentally spilling the beef sauce to waitstaff setting up a dish pit that bottlenecks, mistakes abound. Collectively, these mishaps and mess ups illuminate the many lurking ‘single points of failure’ which endanger an event’s success. So how can event companies overcome the tendency for events to devolve toward chaos? And how can they plan and execute events with consistency?
Leaders of waitstaff for events in Dallas face rigorous demands in their position
The answer lies in both the experience of the teams involved and the planning systems that they employ. Events represent semi-chaotic, brand new scenarios, unfolding on plans that have not been tested until they are being used. And on game day, deviations from those plans will test the most seasoned planners and operators. From multiple vendors scrambling to set up alongside one another, to practicing waitstaff being shooed away for room photos, edits to the plan remain the norm. With events, no plan survives contact with reality. Therefore, plans must contain contingencies in order to accommodate likely changes. Especially when managing multiple vendor teams in such a coordinated fashion. Just maintaining situational awareness alone becomes difficult beyond the abilities of any one person or plan. Therefore, while effective leaders remain a pillar to success, all leaders must be accompanied by a coherent team.
The best waitstaff in Dallas use preparedness to succeed
Planning and preparedness also represent the best way to take the offensive in combating the uncertainty of events. From catering outdoors on ranches in west Texas, to waiters in Dallas executing five-course seated dinners, each requires detailed planning. The old adage that, “you’re only as good as your last event,” further illustrates the very real stakes at play. The constant pressure to perform at very high levels permeates especially the Dallas events scene. Therefore, the plans of caterers and waitstaff services in Dallas must extend past the mundane movements of staff and equipment. Optimizing daily operations and granular tasks comprises just one part of a larger answer. From a higher vantage point, planning should extend further out in time, to encompass more than just tomorrow or next month. Also, preparedness should extend out past the tools that are readily available, to include what tools can be envisioned.
The most reputable waitstaff services in Dallas create winning cultures
A quick survey, reveals the lack of doctrine for our industry, and specifically, how event staff succeed despite the unpredictability of events. Many “how to” books on business do apply to event companies in general best practices, and in building winning cultures. And from investor Ray Dalio’s “radically transparent culture” in Principles, to silicon valley Bill Campbell’s best management practices, the genre holds value. Add in Simon Sinek’s Start with Why and Netflix CEO Reed Hastings’ ideas on creating a winning culture , and you have a potent combination. However, the literature that makes great companies still does little to instruct us in how to handle the difficulties of events. Leaders of waitstaff services understand in a visceral way the need for a unified doctrine to leading event staff. Specifically, how do they rally their teams and combat the chaotic nature of events to achieve victory consistently?
Waitstaff in Dallas exposed to a wide range of client unpreparedness
Winning consistently remains difficult for even the most seasoned veterans, considering the length of the wedding and holiday seasons in Dallas. The ability to give one hundred percent every day becomes a marathon effort of willpower. However, like Steven Pressfield’s warrior and artist, an event lead’s fate remains the same. They must “rise and fight the battle anew each day.” Since events reflect the civilian equivalent to combat, there exist many attributes common to both. Therefore waitstaff services must move beyond just common sense and nebulous, unwritten best practices. Indeed, something altogether different must be added to our industry’s foundation. To succeed beyond statistical probability and good luck, event staffing companies need a unified doctrine to illuminate the path to success.
Waitstaff for events in Dallas need a unifying doctrine
Thankfully, the ideological constructs needed to understand how to combat chaos and win in our industry do exist. They can be found in the annals of history and the military theory. From Sun Tzu’s 14th century, The Art of War, to Carl von Clausevitz redefining the modern battlefield in “On War”, military doctrine can be our tutor. Because, like General William T. Sherman’s comment that, “war is hell,” so too are events. The Texas summer alone makes that true for laboring waitstaff in Dallas, where the local zeal for outdoor events meets brutally-hot temperatures. However, using the oldest human enterprise since the dawn of civilization, we can learn how to win in the civilian model of total war. So, instead of resigning ourselves to the misery of uncertainty, we should attempt to rise above the ‘din of the battle’ in order to master it.
How can waitstaff services combat the uncertainty of events?
“Chaos will stomp a mud hole in a good plan.” – Justin Atkinson
Events are impacted by entropy, meaning they follow the tendency of all systems to devolve towards disorder. As issues arise, and entropy increases, complex plans with no contingencies tend to fracture and spin out of control. In this environment, plans unravel quickly, waitstaff teams fragment, and institutional lack of command at multiple levels quickly undermines order. From waiters losing their teams amid a sea of gala waitstaff in Dallas, to backyard bartenders accidentally breaking glass in the ice bin, issues appear unexpectedly and frequently. All waitstaff and equipment represent opportunities for disruption to be injected into our plans. Therefore, plans must exhibit the adaptability seen in planning and executing within the rigors of combat. Except that the stakes involve reputations instead of lives. Regardless, battlefields both ancient and modern offer us tantalizing clues on how to adapt within fluid and difficult environments.
Why waiter staffing services must strive to do better
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win.” – John F. Kennedy
On May 25, 1961, President John F. Kennedy delivered the above iconic message to Congress. It has since become one of his most inspiring quotes, because it illustrates the rewards to be gained in striving to achieve difficult things. Even today, nations, companies and individuals can rally behind his words. They serve as reason enough to strive for the high mark in any industry, including our own.
Creating a tactical manual for waitstaff field operations
Events are comprised of planners, caterers, photographers, florists, rental companies, chefs, bartenders and guests. Each of these groups arrives and operates with their own set of competing priorities. This dynamic interplay naturally generates friction points in various ways. Coupled with equipment failures, oversights and downright shortcuts, they can combine to turn an event into an uncontrolled melee. But we should neither be content to accept disorder, nor fail to do anything about it. Developing a unifying doctrine of event tactics, strategy and governing rules therefore makes perfect sense. Ultimately, that doctrine must seek to codify best practices for leading waitstaff. Both mentors and contributors will be required to generate and ratify any resulting manual. However, it must be done in order to preserve and enhance the event staffing industry for future generations.
Best waitstaff services mirror military-style command and control
Inspiration for creating a waitstaff field manual can be found in publications from brilliant tacticians and skilled strategists of military theory. The theories on how to win wars possess highly-applicable parallels to our civilian industry. No better doctrinal publication exists to start with than the U.S. Marine Corps War Fighting publications. In distilling this fascinating body of work, we will attempt to create something truly unique, and written specifically for our industry. In doing so, we dedicate ourselves to a path of vigilant research, and take the offensive against entropy. But beyond this genesis in the maneuvers and control of waitstaff, universal constants of event staffing must percolate to the surface. Those then must be clarified through real-world exposure. Ultimately, any doctrine or manual must seek to become a universal reference in how to lead event staff to victory at events.
The Event Staffing Field Manual
This publication is about leading and winning amidst the chaos of events. Succeeding requires many attributes, including technical perfection and skillful leadership. Also included are focus, sound judgment, and an ability to act decisively. However, these by themselves do not equate to success. Many event staffing companies in Dallas possess leaders with these qualities in their ranks. But, when we closely examine the most reputable event staffing agencies versus their competitors, we observe one critical difference. The best waiter services have fused together the efforts, skills and resources of their company management and field leadership toward a decisive goal. Their consistency does arise in part from aggregate staff training levels, morale and retention. But more importantly, it arises from their leaderships’ mastery of effectively weaving those things together. Ultimately, winning in events depends on both strategic managers and tactical leaders thinking creatively and acting decisively.
Forward to On Waitstaff
This manual is written for the benefit of leaders within waitstaff services at all levels. Whether a member of company management or in the field operations leadership cadre, you count. Waitstaff for events will always require committed leaders who continuously hone their skills through study and practice. This publication serves as the definitive guide for your profession. It borrows from the theories of warfare and the tactical manuals of the U.S Marine Corps . It does so with the resolve to impart time-tested tactics of war to our civilian version of difficult environments. The concepts and ideas within this publication synthesize battle-hardened truths to draw parallels to events. Throughout our history as a waitstaff service, one of the biggest reasons for our success has been the skill and ability of our leadership. Through both technical mastery and quick senses, our leadership create an operational homeostasis that delivers consistent results.
Waitstaff leadership in the new era of events
On Waitstaff is written to act in tandem with the entire Field Manual. It presumes a technical proficiency in how to perform the mundane tasks of event waitstaff. Rather, On Waitstaff focuses on winning at the tactical level of events by exploring relevant concepts and best practices. Great leaders have worked both the very best events, and certainly the worst ones too. Leaders suffer miserable cold and debilitating heat for the sake of winning once again. Whether pushing through the scramble of setup, or acting as a force multiplier amid the din of food service, leaders earn their stripes. The black-suited leadership of waitstaff in Dallas know both the highs of perfect service, as well as the misery of owning their mistakes. To all of the leaders who carry their teams across the finish line daily, this manual is written in your honor, and with your best interests in mind.
Great waitstaff leaders understand service to others
Leaders serve to protect standards, uphold morale and instruct new team members. The primary responsibility of their rank remains to uplift the junior waitstaff that serve under them. The esprit de corps that they help to crystallize among the rank and file staff remains essential to success. Staff morale has always been one of the most important factors driving our culture. Leaders exemplifying humility and service see their waitstaff as wards under their care. And, while leadership may seem glamorous at first glance, it ultimately becomes a service to others. Like Eagle Scouts, leaders must be: trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty brave, clean and reverent. Because leadership is a “by example” kind of thing, and the best leaders do so from the front.
Waitstaff services require leaders who care about their teams
When the decision to lead, follow or get out the way arrives, will you step up and lead? And will you excel at becoming the humble warrior servant that prioritizes their team over themselves? Sun Tzu, the 14th century tactician, would add that, “a skillful leader seizes victory from the situation, instead of demanding it of subordinates.” As the leader, you represent the tip of the spear, piercing chaos for the sake of your team, but blunting yourself in the process. But what seems like a burden at first will become your Red Badge of Courage. Jesus exemplified it by washing the feet of the disciples to show that service to others is noble. And just as the lead sled dog endures snow in their eyes and a very cold nose, you too must be ready to endure hardships for the sake of your teams.
The best waitstaff companies have calm and effective leadership
This Field Manual will compel you to lead your waitstaff in a calm and effective manner. In reading it, you will be stripped of the privilege and rank that you think you deserve. The material will shore up the bulwarks of your weakest qualities. It will also test your resolve to be a better operator and a better human being. Only by lacking ego and hubris can we come to a place of managing ourselves the worker from above. Through implementing this publication in yourself and your organization, you will become a comfort to those you lead. Ultimately, the measure of a true leader is to see who is following. Therefore, work tirelessly on improving yourself, and demonstrate that standard to your teams. The rub is worth the shine, and your waitstaff will follow you to hell and back for it. Now go, lead and win!
Stay tuned for bi-monthly installments of The Event Staffing Field Manual.
Author Justin Atkinson