Late summer and early fall are arguably the busiest times of year for events, which means Turning Stone Resort Casino’s banquets team is gearing up for a rush.
Add to the weddings and conferences, a regular lineup of VIP dinners and nightly dinner service at the new Parlor lounge, and the skilled bunch in banquets certainly is juggling quite a bit going into the second half of the year.
Helming the team is none other than Banquet Manager Mehmet Duymaz, a 19-year-veteran of the banquets team. Mehmet started with the Oneida Indian Nation as a special events porter and worked his way up to his current position. Along the way he served as banquet captain, banquet supervisor, and assistant manager—working just about every job in the department.
“I have been here longer than most,” he said. “At this point, my team is like a second family to me.”
As Mehmet explained it, while tasks in the banquets department are similar from week to week, no two days are alike. Some days the team may focus on a wedding; other days the team may be working with a corporate group. The team also handles catering for golf tournaments, which keeps them busy.
Before COVID, the banquets team managed the concession stand in the event center. Now the team is managing nightly dinner service for anywhere from 300 to 500 TS Rewards members in The Parlor.
Training is a big part of the banquets experience, and Mehmet said employees get most of it on the job. For Mehmet, the best part of working in the banquets department is the teamwork he and his colleagues get to practice every day.
“We work hard, but we play hard—always together,” he said. “That’s something I’ll remember forever.”