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The Nationwide Caterers Association
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Looking after your staff

Happy staff means happy customers. Trade profitably the happy way.

Get the right staff.

Caterers regularly quote staffing problems as one of the biggest causes of stress. Staff cancelling at the last minute, or simply failing to show up can ruin a caterer’s trading day. You need to hire reliable people who’ll work hard and fast, and who you can trust with the till.

5 tips for hiring great staff.

  1. Employ someone with experience in the catering industry if possible

  2. Ask other traders if they know anyone reliable looking for work

  3. If you’re a start-up, family and friends might be your best bet

  4. Don’t be afraid to offer a higher rate of pay to an excellent employee

  5. Don’t trust them? Don’t hire them.

An experienced and reliable staff member will be able to serve at least twice as much food as a newbie. So you want to retain your staff as long as possible. And you can only do that if you keep them happy.

Training eases staff retention.

Stats show that staff are more likely to stay with employers who have invested in them through training. Make sure you provide all legally-required training for your staff – you can find out more about catering training courses here.

You should also do practice sessions before you trade, so that they know what to do from set-up to take-down. Shrewd food business operators also train their staff in customer service. How to handle complaints, what to do if a customer is abusive and how to keep an itchy queue calm are skills that could come in very useful!

Managing and motivating.

Your team’s performance is your responsibility. Show them how to do a good job and lead by example at every stage of service. These tips will help you keep your staff working and smiling:

  1. Have a laugh while you work - you’re in the service-with-a-smile business! If your customers see you having fun with your staff, they’ll enjoy the mobile experience much more.

  2. Ask your staff to come up with new ideas about how to do things better – they’ll feel more involved and they’ll probably have excellent and profitable ideas!

  3. Pay your staff fairly. Obviously you must pay at least National Minimum Wage (or the National Living Wage if they're over 25), but if you want to really motivate them, consider paying extra.

  4. Reward good performances. Praise, thanks and bonuses are a powerful way to motivate staff. If you’re not grateful, why would they want to work hard for you?

NCASS staff are happy staff.

And we love to share ideas about keeping hard-working staff happy with our members. Give us a call if you'd like to chat about joining and put a smile on our faces - 0121 603 2524 is the number to call.

Join the Nationwide Caterers Association for just
£20.25 p/m


Work opportunities, legal documents, essential and invaluable advice, training codes, cashback and lots more are the name of the game here at NCASS HQ. And with prices starting from just £20.25 per month, why not become the latest member of the NCASS Family? Maximise the profitability of your food business with NCASS membership. > Find out more

Want to talk about membership? Call 0121 603 2524

or to request a call back click here

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Latest News

Caterers challenged to revamp trolley into fully functional street food business

by Sophie Haigh | Jul 24, 2019

Mobile caterers with a keen eye for innovation have been set a challenge; to create the smallest street food vehicle based on the design of a shopping trolley.

Dubbed ‘The Street Food Trolley Challenge,’ the concept is the brainchild of Dolly, the UK’s smallest, most versatile food truck, whose owner launched the exciting competition to get people to ‘use every corner of your imagination.’ The challenge has been described as a mix between MasterChef and Scraphead Challenge.

The competition officially launched on 17th July, with competitors invited to register at In round one of the challenge, competitors will create their chosen design using the plans of the trolley and must take into account the fact that the four wheeled ‘vehicle’ should be able to function as a street food operator – serving up any kind of food or drink. Food hygiene is also a major consideration when designing the trolley vendor.

A group of judges will then pick their favourite designs to go forward to round two, where each competitor will receive a refurbished trolley to develop and run as a street food operation at an exclusive street food event in London in September. Round three will then see the winner being selected and rewarded with a trip to Sweden to attend the European Street Food Awards, as well as £500 in cash.

Dolly's Creative Director, Andrew Mellon, said: “There are three things Dolly is particularly obsessed with. Fantastic food – that always comes first; recycling and refurbishment – she’s a great example of this herself; and trolleys! She has a pair of retro Monarch Airline trolleys that are perfect for so many uses, especially holding her gin. So this competition is something very close to her heart.”

Dolly, a 1986 Dolly model 2CV, was transformed into a state-of-the-art food truck and concept bar in 2018 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the 2CV. She now operates as a fully functional, retractable kitchen, incorporating a series of exchangeable units for serving up food and drink, as well as the option to take her doors and wings off to allow her to slip through a double door. She has made appearances at the British Street Food Awards, the Portsmouth Seafood Festival, London Food Tech Week and most recently, served 100 VIPs at L’Etape Tour de France.

Anyone residing in the UK is eligible to participate but must register and complete the first challenge by 6th August. Each trolley will be judged on the following: 

  • Quality and creativity of food
  • Trolley appearance
  • Branding and style
  • Overall idea
  • How well everything works
  • Service Cleanliness and food hygiene
  • Eco-friendliness

If you fancy a challenge and the opportunity to serve up your own menu at the exclusive foodie event in London, click here to register. Good luck!

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