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Following My Passion, Starting a Business: Tackling Challenges in the UK Hospitality Industry

I am so proud to have started my own business, based in a sector I adore, alongside a close friend and trusted business partner Matt. Founded in 2021 by managing directors Matt and Jess, Viking Staffing and Events is an exciting new player within the event and hospitality industry. Drawing on Matt and Jess’ combined 25+ years’ experience in the events and hospitality sector, we are able to ensure the highest quality of staffing and service whilst ensuring we are maximising all potential revenue making opportunities and fulfilling all customer satisfaction ambitions your brand has.

Starting my own business in the UK hospitality industry during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic was not an easy decision. However, my passion for hospitality, coupled with the determination to make a positive impact, inspired me to take on this endeavour. I would like to share some of my inspiration in starting my own business, some of the challenges faced by the UK hospitality industry, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, and how my business aims to tackle some of these hurdles. The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a severe blow to the UK hospitality industry, causing widespread closures, financial losses, and significant job losses. The industry faced challenges such as reduced customer demand, changing regulations, and health and safety concerns. However, in the face of adversity, the industry has shown remarkable resilience and adaptability. The pandemic brought to the forefront of the UK, the issues souring mental health needs within society and a workforce where these needs can be most prevalent is the flexible/agency workforce. In today’s dynamic workforce, agency workers play a vital role in various industries, providing flexibility and filling temporary staffing needs. However, it is essential to recognize and address the unique challenges they face. My business was founded and is based on the importance of supporting the welfare of agency workers and discuss how businesses can prioritize their well-being. By fostering a culture of fairness, respect, and inclusivity, we aim to create a work environment where agency workers thrive. Effective communication is essential to support the welfare of agency workers. My business has established clear channels of communication, ensuring that agency workers receive regular updates, understand their roles and responsibilities, and have access to all necessary information. Transparent communication fosters trust, reduces uncertainty, and enables agency workers to perform their tasks efficiently. Having clear leadership and allowing our workers to put a name to a face by getting to know myself and my business partner Matt, as well as other senior colleagues in the business because we are present ‘on the ground’. Supporting the welfare of agency workers is not just a moral obligation but also a strategic investment in a diverse and flexible workforce. By ensuring equal treatment, fair compensation, clear communication, prioritizing health and safety, providing professional development opportunities, fostering inclusion, and seeking feedback for continuous improvement, businesses can create an environment where agency workers feel valued, respected, and supported. Our entire business model is based around better conditions for workers and fostering the raw talent myself and Matt have been lucky enough to uncover working on various projects, events and in venues throughout the UK, during our combined 25+ years of hospitality experience.

We specialise in event bar management and event staffing, however we can also provide a range of other services including specialist bar supervisor and management teams, event bar consultancy (inc licensing and health & safety advice), single bar activation build and break – providing consistency for the brand and bar and general event bar staffing. All of our senior staff hold valid personal licences, current full DBS’s and have additional responsible alcohol sales training (BIIAB level 3). Our staff are all experienced and have been interviewed personally by Matt and/or Jess. Many of our staff have worked with us multiple times and we have a core group of staff who work exclusively for us and attend all the events we are part of. All our staff are brilliant team players who support each other and can cope easily with the potential demands of a high volume festival or event bar. We only employ staff of the highest quality and this, combined with our extensive focus on staff welfare, makes us truly unique and puts us at the forefront of quality staffing provision within the events industry. No project is too complex for us, we are happy to discuss any and all requirements you and your brand may have. We have a special passion for working with smaller, unique festivals and events, where customers really get a personalised experience.

In today’s competitive job market, attracting and retaining talented employees is a top priority for businesses. While various factors contribute to employee satisfaction, one of the most influential is the way employees are treated in the workplace. Recognizing employees’ achievements, providing constructive feedback, and expressing gratitude for their efforts are essential practices that contribute to a positive work culture. One of our main focuses at Viking, is fostering talent and rewarding hard work. I had previous experience working for some unsupportive and frankly awful employers within the industry prior to starting my business, I am determined to make sure none of my staff ever experience any sub-par treatment. Myself and Matt know how to treat staff well, get the best from their performances and manage those rare times when they’re not quite living up to our consistently high expectations.

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