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Case studies:

Fernz Catering

The client

Fernz Catering is a dynamic and experienced catering company that operates across a range of venues including the Alexandra Park Racecourse, Auckland Showgrounds and Netball Centres in both Auckland’s North Harbour and Waitakere. 

Andrew Blake, the General Manager at Fernz Catering shared insights to the many challenges temporary staffing has brought them.

The challenges

Fluctuation in requirements

Supporting various venues, Fernz Catering have very fluctuating staffing needs that may vary from requiring 5 staff members at smaller events, to requiring up to 40 staff members at bigger events. They find scaling up and down difficult to manage with a direct staffing pool due to the high fluctuation in staff numbers and weekly hours. 

Admin overhead

Fernz Catering has their own permanent staff, and a pool of direct part-time and casual workers. Trying to grow their staff beyond this, Fernz has found there to be a lot of admin overhead in recruitment, interviews, and contract management for workers who may only be required for a short period of time, or for only ad hoc shifts from time to time.

Maintaining high quality of staff

Fernz has found that using traditional temporary agencies to help supplement their direct team comes with a lack of visibility and control over who they are hiring, and no visibility of who is going to turn up on shifts. This made it really difficult for them to maintain the high quality standards that are important for Fernz.

“With traditional hospitality staffing agencies we have tried outside of Sidekicker it always felt like it was luck of the draw of who we were going to get sent in, so we always felt there was a risk of getting low quality staff.”

The solution

Requesting staff on-demand

Fernz Catering first used Sidekicker in May 2018 and now uses Sidekicker as its primary option for providing high quality temporary hospitality staff to supplement their own staffing pool for their fluctuating needs.

Making requests onto the thousands of pre-qualified Sidekicks ready to work on the Sidekicker Marketplace has been made quick and easy with the assistance of request templates set up for the broad range of roles they hire, including Baristas, Kitchen Hands, Function Wait Staff, Dishwashers and Event Setup staff. Templates are set up based on the venues Frenz is hiring for, so all site specific details such as onsite check-in information and arrival details are pre-populated on the request form, streamlining their operations on the event day. 

Requests can be made completely self-sufficiently 24/7, without the need of a ‘middleman’, which helps with managing the gaps in their roster with a short notice. 

“On bigger days we will have 40 staff rostered, and typically up until the night before (and even the morning of) we will be receiving messages from staff that can no longer make it for whatever reason. With Sidekicker we can post a shift directly to their staffing marketplace at 4am in the morning if we want, and get staff applications immediately. This sort of turnaround time is impossible with a traditional hospitality recruitment agency but hugely valuable to our business.”
Transparency and control

Through the Sidekicker platform, Fernz Catering has complete transparency and control over their hiring decisions, with each applicant profile detailing their full work history on and off platform, pre-employment and license verifications, star ratings and reviews from companies for each completed shift, and a reliability score giving Frenz confidence around workers commitment and performance. 

“With Sidekicker we have the ability to view & review staff before we hire them for a shift. This allows us to hire quality staff and ensures customer satisfaction in our business”

When Fernz finds Sidekicks who are a great fit for their business, they collect them onto Talent Pools, making it easy to directly request those Sidekicks to work in the future shifts. This way they may fill their temporary staffing needs from previously used Sidekicks, rather than seeking new ones from the wider Marketplace each time. Making requests directly to their Talent Pools, Fernz may use the Sidekicker Auto-Hire feature, allowing the platform to automatically hire the first applicants to fill the job, reducing the recruitment admin even more. 

The results

Fernz Catering have steadily increased their usage of Sidekicker over the past 5 years, and throughout 2023 were consistently using between 30-50 Sidekicks per month across 5 different sites and a range of roles from Kitchen Hands and Service Hands, through to Baristas, Function Waitstaff and Bartenders.

Through Sidekicker Fernz Catering has filled over 80% of their shifts posted to the platform, even when at times posting shifts relatively ‘last minute’. On average across the 2nd half of 2023 Fernz Catering received its first applicants less than 30 minutes after posting a shift, and still maintained 70%+ fill rates even for shifts posted within 24 hours of the shift start time.

"We have used Sidekicker for over 5 years and love the ability to post requests any time of the day (on short notice) from your phone, with all applicants having a profile and star rating we can review before hiring. We can get experienced staff and control the pay rates ourselves, and Sidekicker allows us to scale up our team size when we need it without the need for ongoing commitment or contracts.”