Perceptions will Change

Stephanie Hamilton is the Executive Director of Operations for ISS Food & Hospitality. Her passion for hospitality is evident as her belief in FM companies offering the best in food service.

Within a few minutes of spending time with Stephanie, one can tell a great amount from her actions. Her character reveals itself through small gestures that build confidence in others – a compliment to our waitress on her hair brought a smile to her face. It is clear that Stephanie sees a broader picture and the importance of every member of the team.

“Front line staff will work long hours and often in transient situations where they cannot build a strong relationship with their customer. It’s a habit of mine to find something to compliment the staff on and make their interaction with me less of a transaction – hopefully it brightens their day too. Working in hospitality consistently gives us the opportunity to be a part of other people’s lives – often during special moments. Little things can make a big difference when it comes to someone’s experience; understanding that can change the rapport with a customer.

I have been very fortunate to find an organization whose values fit well with my own. I understand that it may take time to change the industry’s perception of ISS as a catering force but we believe we can compare on a level footing with anybody and we have a culture and team that really believes in our people. Andy (Chappell, Managing Director) sets the tone and it is my role to live and breathe the ethos through operations. Whatever anyone says, I know that ISS will go the extra mile for our people and for our customers. Our executive team has a passion for food that I have rarely seen in other companies. In time, the perception will change.”

“I think my title is too long,” she laughs, “when people ask for my job title I just ask them to call me Stephanie and to ask me anything they would like to know about the catering operation at ISS. I am only interested in the substance of what we do; not titles. We believe in the concept of a “team” and we live to that goal. If one looks at our leadership team, one will see a united group that all share the same values and goals.”

This straightforward view does represent how Stephanie operates – it does not matter what one’s title is; what matters is the quality of the work, the service delivered and how everyone impacts as a team impact. It is about respect and care.

Currently, 80% of her time is spent with clients, reinforcing her customer importance values. Coming from a background of single service catering companies, Stephanie’s move to ISS meant venturing into the IFM for the first time.

“I felt that the market was moving in that direction and I was intrigued to learn more. When I was interviewed, I realized that ISS was the right-fit for me – I was going to be given more creative freedom with the food development team than at any other company I had worked with before, I would be able to spend most of my times at sites developing a relationship with our customers and employees and finally I saw an opportunity to leave a positive legacy within the organization. There is a shift in perception that needs to occur regarding IFM companies and I would like to be a part of the group that changes this view.

With IFM companies, catering is perceived as a side business. We are so passionate about food; we have all come from single-service catering companies into FM so that we can continue working on our passions and be able to provide our clients additional services if that is their need.

Recent contract gains in catering have allowed us to demonstrate our culinary skill to a wider audience. In the end, the client’s satisfaction is what determines our success. If the clients are happy and know what a quality company we are, our team can take confidence in that.”

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