The Service Companies Blog

Service. Above All

2018 President’s Awards & Distinguished Service Award Winners

The President’s Awards and Distinguished Services Awards acknowledge The Service Companies’ top performing associates who have shown great customer service, leadership, and dedication to our company. Chosen by our executive leadership team, the winners are an elite group recognized among thousands of associates in our managed services department.

Recipients of the President’s Awards and the Distinguished Service Awards were evaluated on the following categories: associate, customer, and guest satisfaction, and compliance with company / property requirements and procedures. Our Manager-level award winners, along with the categories above, were evaluated on their implementation of the SHINE campaign and their financial management.

We are proud to recognize the following associates who continue to make our company SHINE!

President’s Awards Winners

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Manager of the Year – Robin Zamudio

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Supervisor of the Year – Donald Petterson

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Talent Acquisition Team Member of the Year – Adrienne Eckley

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Associate of the Year, Central Region – Erica Weston

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Associate of the Year, Eastern Region – Oscar Pena

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Associate of the Year, Western Region – Felicitas Arrizon-Ledon


Distinguished Service Awards Winners

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Manager – Gilda Postigo

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Manager – Rebecca Burrows

Gertie Johnson SUP Dist. Svc (1)

Supervisor – Gertie Johnson 

Rejane Santos Palm Beach

Eastern Region Associate – Rejane Santos

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Central Region Associate – Terry Anderson

Orlando Rosario Astacio Reno (1)

Western Region Associate – Orlando Astacio

Case Study: Luxury Casino Hotel in Mississippi

A reliable stewarding team, along with a professional EVS and housekeeping team, is key in the success of your casino hotel. The Service Companies has the expertise needed to provide a superior quality of service that generates positive shifts in service scores. Take a look at how the introduction of our services benefited one of our casino hotel customers in Mississippi:

Situation Overview

A 65,000 square foot casino with a 505 room hotel located in Tunica, MS, which is part of a large American gaming corporation, approached us to provide managed EVS, housekeeping and stewarding services in 2010. The property leader had previous positive partnership with our managed services team and brought our team in to implement the same positive results.

Challenges

At the time, the property was struggling with staffing shortages and poor quality of cleanliness. The property was ranked at the bottom of its parent corporation’s properties for Casino and Guest Room Cleanliness and the property’s leadership team desired to achieve a higher level of expertise and cleanliness.

Opening Process

On November 12, 2010, our Heart of House Services team took over the Housekeeping, EVS and Stewarding departments utilizing a task force of 14 trainers with significant experience in each area. 155 property employees transitioned to The Service Companies, leaving 20 open positions for our team to fill.

We inventoried and assumed equipment and uniforms, and deep cleaned the casino and other public areas to bring them up to standards. The deep cleaning process also served as training for the transitioned and new employees.

Housekeeping productivity standards were established and training was implemented to ensure productivity and quality standards would be maintained.

Results and Current State of Partnership

Guest service scores improved immediately and at the end of Q1 2011 Room Clean at Check-In and Overall Casino Cleanliness scores increased by 9.48% and 7.4% respectively QOQ. At the end of 2011 the property ranked in the top 10 of all of its parent corporation’s properties for Casino and Guest Room Cleanliness.

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Today, we continue to manage all three departments with a total employee base of 175. Guest Service scores and company ranking remain in the top tier of all of the parent corporation’s properties, while saving over $1 million annually through improved productivity and lower overall benefit costs driven by our team.

For more information about the stewarding services and the other managed services we can offer to your casino hotel, visit https://www.theservicecompanies.com/services/managed/.

What to Look for in a Restaurant Staffing Agency for Corporate Cafés

One of the best ways to get qualified staff members for your corporate cafeteria or corporate café is to turn to a hospitality staffing agency. Staffing agencies do not necessarily offer the same services or benefits to their clients, and it can be difficult to distinguish the good companies from the bad. Consider the impact a poor organizer or a sub-par chef could have on your company’s reputation. Hiring top talent is imperative and we have put together some things to consider when selecting a hospitality staffing agency for your business:

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  1.  Experience working with your type of business– Every kitchen and front-of-the-house is unique (that’s the best part of the industry!), and not all staffing agencies are familiar with the needs of every setup. For example, a company that routinely places candidates in traditional restaurants or hotels may have little experience finding the right person for the job with a university food service contractor. Kitchen environments are diverse; choose a hospitality staffing agency that has experience working with your type of corporate cafeteria operation.
  1.  Broad pool of candidate backgrounds and skill sets– This should seem obvious, but it’s something that cannot be emphasized enough. Just because a company claims to find candidates for hospitality jobs does not mean it has a large pool of them available. Many generic staffing agencies will bill themselves as offering corporate cafeteria staff members, but that does not mean they’ve courted many people with the right experience. There are many diverse skill sets needed to run or work in a hospitality setting. Focus on industry-specific agencies that have a diverse array of hospitality candidates with the exact backgrounds you need.
  1.  Assistance with screening and interviewing– The best hospitality staffing agencies not only connect you with candidates, but can pre-screen them using your criteria and even conduct a first round of interviews for you. This saves you time and money on your search.
  1.  Timely & Accurate Invoicing– Different staffing agencies use many varying fee structures but, in general, we believe you should only pay for results. You’ll want to know that your staffing agency is working for you and that they are incentivized to provide only the best candidates possible, all of whom meet and exceed your standards. Always be sure that payroll, taxes, workman’s compensation and fully-bonded insurance are included with your all-inclusive fee. This helps you keep peace of mind and ensures a healthy bottom line.

As the leading National Hospitality Staffing Firm, we look forward to providing your corporate cafeteria or café the top talent you need to be successful. For more information about our front and back-of-house and recruiting solutions, contact us at www.acrobatoutsourcing.com/contact-us/.

Common Issues We See In Casinos

With over 1.1 million sq. ft. of gaming area under contract and over 15 years of experience providing services to the industry, we understand the unique challenges that commercial and Native American casinos and casino hotels face in their day to day operations:

  • The struggle to find legal labor due to low unemployment rates, rising wages, and the ongoing “War on Talent”
  • High workers’ compensation and general liability rates/expenditures/exposure
  • Valuable resources are spent managing relationships in union environments
  • Inefficiencies and lack of productivity in non-core departments
  • Maintaining a consistently high quality of service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • High energy usage

These challenges create a large cost burden for casinos, and one option to alleviate these issues is to partner with a well-capitalized service provider (see our previous article on what to take into consideration when selecting a vendor). Our team of seasoned industry experts established a diverse list of services that cater to the common needs of every casino resort.

The Service Companies is the premier provider to the casino industry. We offer managed services, staffing services, specialty services, and engineering services to casino properties across the nation. Backed by a large investment fund, we have the capital to support a casino’s stringent requirements and massive needs and have the years of experience driving productivity and providing solutions that reduce costs and energy.

As part of our commitment to service, our team takes full accountability of recruiting needs, compliance checks, and training to ensure success. To learn more, click on the links to our services above, or contact one of our industry experts at https://www.theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

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Tips For Safely Maintaining Your Public Areas During Winter Conditions

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Our Public Area and Housekeeping teams have been digging out from the recent snowfall in many parts of the country though we still have a long way to go.

As we operate properties in all types of climates nationwide, each season brings different cleaning challenges. When asking about top cleaning challenges during the winter season, many will say snow and salt removal. The more it snows the more salt gets put down to melt the snow and eventually gets tracked into our facilities, potentially damaging our buildings and the surrounding environment.

We understand that shoveling and plowing alone cannot always keep the areas safe and that is when salt de-icers come into play. We want to share some cleaning and maintenance tips for these conditions in order to help keep your areas safe and clean, while managing salt being tracked in and around your property.

Many times the person who purchases or applies de-icers at our properties is not the same person responsible for cleaning it up inside or out. The key is to use de-icers moderately and to apply what product works best for your situation. There are many types of de-icing salts such as: sodium chloride “rock salt”, calcium chloride, potassium chloride and magnesium chloride, which is far less damaging to concrete, plants and the environment. There is also an opportunity to add sand to provide grit for added traction. Whichever product is being used, there is the challenge to stay ahead of potential damage.

Many times salt is applied very close to the entrance. For maximum melting results, it is best to apply the product more sparingly in the highest foot traffic areas. A salt pattern should begin with product applied more heavily away from the entrance and less as you get closer to the entrance. The natural foot traffic spreads it as people come in.

Proper application can provide substantial cost savings especially for repairs to interior spaces and corrosion of metal door entrances. It also prevents harm to landscaping with over application of salt too close to vegetation.

Proper entrance matting is the next line of defense to keep the “wet” and salt outside.

Take a look at the quality and placement of matting at the property entry points. Entrances may have a scraper mat as you enter so guests can release some of the snow followed by a longer wiper mat made of absorbent material that can wick the water and salt off the shoes as they walk.

If heavy snow fall is occurring, these absorbent mats need to be changed when they become saturated, so be sure you have enough on hand to make frequent changes to all your outside entrances.

Although matting selection and placement is ultimately decided by the facility manager, it is up to all of us to maintain and inspect these often to ensure they remain in good condition.

Even with having extra matting in place, salt will still make it inside!

Your Public Area team must be ready to remove it in the most effective manner. Entrances should be swept and cleaned often during these times.

Vacuuming can work well for salt removal though for safety reasons make sure your team knows not to vacuum damp or wet carpets because it is an electrocution hazard. Also vacuuming up damp salt and soil can damage your equipment.

In addition, it is important to train your staff to thoroughly vacuum the carpeted areas surrounding the matting. Even if sufficient matting is placed, there is always more salt and soil deposited as guests are walking off.

Vacuuming often is a great start, though you must also have a regular interim carpet cleaning program in place in order to tackle problem areas near entry points. This will help eliminate the salt stains that tend to build up and seem to return even after you extracted the area.

We prefer our interim clean be done every couple days during heavy snows and the salting that follows. At times, an extraction method just using hot water with an added neutralizer can provide great results pulling the salt and soil out of the carpets. Although your carpet cleaning generally occurs during off-peak periods, be sure you have a floor blower available to speed the drying time. Once dried, always thoroughly vacuum the area.

Because salt and de-icers can wear on marble, one thing to keep in mind during the heavy winter days is to not grind marble. Reserve this process for days where salt will not be tracked into the property.

Be sure not to neglect your equipment during this period, as they are working extra hard. You will need to provide extra cleaning care and maintenance.

Before you know it, spring will be back again though your work is not complete yet. During any long thaws or once spring approaches, be sure to thoroughly wash down walkways, the base of your building and areas near vegetation to disperse product residue and prevent further damage.

Having a good prevention plan in place and keeping the salt outside your facility should provide a safe and clean facility and you will be off to a fresh start for spring.

Tips For Giving Thanks to Your Associates

We would not be able to provide quality service without the help of our dedicated associates. That is why we have created a work culture that is built on the foundation of associate recognition, celebrations, and engagement. This Thanksgiving, we are sharing some expert tips on how you can give thanks to the associates who work hard to make your business thrive. Want to know the best part about the following tips? They can be used each day throughout the year to recognize a job well done!

  1. A day does not go by without employees giving their all. It is all about leaders giving back and recognizing that hard work as often as possible.
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  1. When guests share positive feedback, or a great service rating, spend time researching who made that possible.
  1. Always post and share customer compliments with your team. Take it a step further by including the associates’ photo and highlight details about the recognition.
  1. Write a personalized note of appreciation.  A simple “thank you” is great, though, be specific in how they made a positive impact.  We expect employees to be detailed with their work, so we should be detailed with their feedback.
  1. We all love a surprise treat now and then. Keep some goodie bags handy for that perfect moment to make someone’s day. You can always drop in your personalized note to make it extra special.  Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 9.32.26 AM (1)
  1. Some accomplishments happen without a manager noticing.  Encourage associates to share and acknowledge other team members whenever possible by creating a post-it board for their notes.
  1. Recognize their special dates outside of work such as work anniversaries or birthdays. More importantly, if they’re working that day, go out of your way to make the day extra special.
  1. Utilize every outlet to share recognition and congratulate team members. At The Service Companies, our leaders have several opportunities to share successes and engage in employee recognition by participating in the following:
  • Mandatory pre-shift meetings each day
  • Weekly recognition in SHINE on You through our company wide SHINE on Shift email
  • #TeamMemberTuesday across our Social Media platforms
  • Monthly recognition of our Top Performers through inspection and incentive programs
  • Quarterly In-brief newsletter
  • Annually through our company wide President’s Awards
  1. With all recognition, be consistent!  Morale can easily decline the moment you forget someone’s special day or don’t recognize a team member’s achievements. Robert Knowles- 70th. Birthday(2) (1)

For more information about how we focus on associate engagement to promote success at each property, visit https://www.theservicecompanies.com/contact/.

 

 

Cleaning The World One Community At A Time: The Service Companies Teams Up With Caesars Entertainment and Clean The World On A Service Trip To Zambia

As the service and hospitality industry experts, we know that effective hygiene is one of the most important elements to ensure the health and safety of our customers, their guests and our associates. It is important to us, though, to do this beyond our own departments and properties. That is why our housekeeping teams partner with Caesars Entertainment and Clean The World throughout the year to collect partially used soaps for hygiene kits that are distributed in underserved communities.

For the sixth consecutive year, we were able to send another team member on a trip of a lifetime to assist in the distribution of recycled soap and hygiene kits. Catherine Francois, a housekeeping team member from one of our casino hotel properties in Laughlin, Nevada, was selected to represent our company on a service trip to Zambia, Africa, along with members of Clean The World and Caesars Entertainment.

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When Catherine arrived in Zambia, she was able to visit three underserved communities and, with the other Clean The World and Caesars Entertainment participants, distributed soaps and hygiene kits, taught families how to properly wash their hands, and participated in skits to enforce good sanitation practices.

After returning from her trip, we were able to catch up with Catherine to hear more about her experience and how the service trip made an impact on her life. Check out the interview below to view photos and learn more about Catherine’s time in Zambia.

What was your reaction to hearing you were selected to go on the soap distribution trip to Zambia?

When I heard that I was selected to go to Zambia with Clean The World I couldn’t contain my excitement. I jumped and shouted with joy. I couldn’t stop talking about it.

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What were your expectations of the trip when you were selected? How were they the same or different than what you experienced?

Before going on this trip, I tried not to have any expectations. I was looking forward to the experience and hoped that I would not be disappointed. However, this trip surpassed all that I had imagined.

What Clean The World initiatives did you participate in during your time in Zambia?

In Zambia, I participated in each Clean The World activity. During our first performance, I played the role of “Super Soap”. In the second and third performance, I played a germ. I also demonstrated good hand washing techniques to the audience during our second site visit. I sang and distributed soaps during all three site visits.

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 Besides soap distribution and sanitation education, what else were you able to experience while in Zambia?

I was able to experience a few things in Zambia. In Lusaka, I experienced several different restaurants. I also visited the local markets to look around, shop for souvenirs, and interact with locals in the area. In Livingston, I was able have a fascinating experience when I saw Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park and Great Victoria Falls. Last but not least, I experienced a safari ride where I was able to see many animals in their natural habitats.

What was the most memorable part of your trip?

The most memorable part of my trip was all the different ways the people welcomed us. I will always remember the faces of children patiently waiting for hours to receive their soaps, as well as their excitement once they saw us arriving on site.
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What did you learn from your trip to Zambia?

I learned that Clean The World does not just give hygiene products to these families. They keep track of their progress throughout the year. They make sure that these communities are using what they learned to stay healthy and   check in to make sure kids are not missing school due to hygiene related illnesses.

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How has this trip impacted you?

This trip has impacted my view on life. It has forced me to look at things differently. It also made me think of what I can do to help others who are less fortunate.

Would you recommend others take a trip with Clean The World? Why or why not?

I would recommend that everyone take a trip with Clean The World to see how even the smallest efforts have the ability to make big impact on the lives of others.

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Work Relationships To Be Thankful For

As you look back on some of the most memorable moments you have experienced while working in the hospitality industry, many different events may come to mind. Most of your memorable moments may have taken place at your property, but mine took place in a more unconventional location- in a hospital’s delivery room with a housekeeper named Marie.

While working as a Manager at a resort in Orlando, the morning started the same as it normally would. I drank my morning cup of coffee and prepared my assignments for the staff. When Marie walked in, I could tell she didn’t seem herself. By this point, Marie was well into her pregnancy and her husband was working out of town. I decided to personally escort her to see a doctor.

Upon arrival, the hospital staff thought I was Marie’s Creole translator. They began asking questions as I helped Marie fill out necessary paperwork. Once the hospital staff understood we worked together, they asked me to find a seat in the family waiting area. Shortly after Marie made her way to the delivery room, a nurse handed me a gown and booties and I was escorted to a seat next to Marie. At first, I was surprised I ended up in the delivery room, but I quickly reached out to hold her hand and supported her along the way. Marie then welcomed her baby girl into the world.

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I have always believed that bonds between associates extend far beyond the walls of a property. In our industry, many associates like myself have lived and worked a distance from friends and family. Having the support and sense of extended family at work was very important to me. Employee challenges became my challenges and their accomplishments were our accomplishments; we kept our eye on goals together.

I always kept an open door and scheduled one-on-one time with the associates. Although our meetings always started with a bit about work, we were excited to later catch up on family and discuss our personal lives. I was grateful to be a go-to for employees needing advice about outside challenges. Although not knowledgeable in every area, I tried my best to listen and share advice.

Through close engagement with my team, many began to look forward to swapping new recipes at our covered dish events throughout the year. I couldn’t walk in the door without bringing a double batch of corn casserole. I could still taste Van Kim’s sticky rice and Melanie’s Lumpia. Terry always sent me home with an extra plate of her amazing peanut butter cookies.

Written holiday cards always started early to get them all in with a personalized note. I still look forward to receiving cards today from former coworkers. That valuable time spent at work was as much mine, as theirs.

As we approach the Thanksgiving season, I recognize how grateful I am for many unforgettable moments and traditions and look forward to creating future memories with my teams. Now that I have shared my story, The Service Companies would love to hear yours. What memory from the hospitality industry are you most thankful for? Let us know in the comments section!

Why Should You Join The Service Companies?

When choosing a career path, which of the following qualities are the most important to you?

  • Receiving hands-on training to prepare you for your new role
  • Competitive pay and benefits
  • A culture built on continuous training, employee recognition, mutual respect and strong work ethic
  • Opportunities for growth and advancement

Although each person ranks the above qualities differently, all four are key in achieving a happy and sustainable career. At The Service Companies, we not only invest in personal growth and training, but also the future of our associates. Here are just a few reasons why a career with The Service Companies may be right for you!

Training

Starting a new career can be intimidating. That is why we created a training and orientation program for the success of our new associates. Along with hands-on learning, each new team member is given access to our employee portal full of training guides and position checklists to ensure long-term success. Our new hires are also paired with a mentor during their 10-day training period to ensure effective learning on property.

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Benefits

Our associates work hard to make sure our clients and their guests receive the best possible service. To thank them for their hard work, we provide a complete employee benefits package that includes everything from medical insurance to short and long term disability and a 401k matching program. We also give associates enrolled at a college or university an opportunity to receive a yearly scholarship award and tuition reimbursement.

Culture and Associate Satisfaction

The Service Companies is the employer of choice for hourly associates. Our culture is based on recognition, respect and continuous learning. While we work hard, we also have fun. Our associates enjoy celebrations, weeklong events, contests, and friendly competitions year round. We also offer competitive wages and a safe and harmonious work environment.

 

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Growth and Advancement

As one of the fastest growing companies in the managed service industry, and the largest in the hospitality segment, there is a location and position that fits you! With customer locations spread across over 27 states and the Bahamas, and over 50% of our management positions being filled internally, now is the perfect time to join us and grow your career. To learn more about growth and advancement opportunities with The Service Companies, click here!

Whether you are a student, a recent graduate, U.S. Military Veteran, or just looking to launch your career, a job with The Service Companies is a great way for you to start making your impact on the hospitality industry!

Are you ready to join The Service Companies? Visit https://www.theservicecompanies.com/careers/ to apply now!

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Task Force Spotlight: Vladi Jones

After opening five new turn-key housekeeping accounts this summer, The Service Companies’ Heart of House Services department is growing faster than ever before. The success of The Service Companies’ managed services segment stems, in large part, from the training and leadership provided by our Task Force team to new associates and teams. Our Task Force associates travel to different destinations and assist with the operations of each account opening. Once training is finished and management positions are filled, Task Force members are given a new assignment in a different destination.

Task Force member Vladi Jones joined The Service Companies two months ago from a luxury hotel property in South Beach, Miami. During her time with us, she has already taken the lead on two housekeeping account openings in Kentucky and the Bahamas; during her time in the Bahamas, she was also able to achieve a large increase in productivity for the property. Vladi is now working hard to complete another opening in South Beach. Her passion and hands on supervision makes Vladi a key member of the Task Force team.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born Slovakia and came to the UniteVladi Jones 1d States in 1991. In Slovakia, I was an elementary school teacher. To this day, it still gives me joy when I am able to teach someone something new. I did not speak any English, but I learned to overcome the challenge by not being afraid of making a mistake. Being a member of Task Force allows me to have a special bond with many people in our industry who, perhaps, have had some of the same challenges as I did many years ago. I am very passionate about cooking, gardening, boating and fishing! I also have two amazing kids, who are on their mission every day to make me a proud mom.

What is your professional background?

My professional background is in hospitality. In total, I have had 27 years of experience working in the Rooms Division. My hospitality journey started in 1991, where I started at a hotel property as a Laundry Attendant. Since then, I have had the opportunity to work in all areas and have held several leadership roles. I love working with housekeeping teams.

What led you to become a member of Task Force?

I saw Task Force as a great opportunity to work with many professionals who are as passionate about “housekeeping magic ” as I am.

What role do you play in The Service Companies’ property opening process? 

I have held lead roles during my last two assignments. I am now currently preparing for a new turn-key housekeeping account opening at a hotel in South Beach.

What have you learned during your time as a Task Force Member?

During my time as a Task Force Lead, I have had the opportunity to further develop my interpersonal skills. I have also learned more about the housekeeping operations in hotels and casino hotels. I went from a property with 1,800 rooms to a property with 162 rooms. The switch between two different properties within a short period of time has made me open minded, a quick thinker, and has given me the opportunity to utilize my expertise to solve problems and make the department more efficient.

What is your favorite thing about being a member of Task Force?

It allows me to work with many great individuals in different settings and each property has a different challenge.

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