Jeremy Julian

Is this the Uber of Staffing Restaurants?

January 17, 2018

We live in an on-demand world. Things change at the drop of hat, and as owners and operators, you must be nimble and flexible. Other industries have been affected by this on-demand world as well, like taxis and hotels. You may be asking, how does this pertain to me or the restaurant industry?


The answer: staffing.


We are sure you have experienced this before: there is a special event, like a private party or major sports event that drives a bunch of customers to your establishment seemingly immediately. Or, a scheduled worker is a last-minute no-show. You do not have enough staff to cover the shift, you have to scramble and customer experiences are guaranteed to suffer. Managers and other staff are disgruntled, stressed and overworked. Well, now there is an app for when, not if, you are put in that situation again. Well, multiple apps, to be correct. Let us introduce you to platforms like Jobletics, Wonolo, and Jitjatjo.


“Within the platform, our clients can order up to two months in advance or within an hour’s notice. So if they have a pre-planned event, they can come into the app and place a booking for staff. Or, if they have a last-minute no-show or callout, they can remedy that with the app as well,” says Justin Melia, head of marketing at Jitjatjo. “Basically, the app operates very similarly to Uber in the sense that you can place an order for a [ride], and placing an order for a Jitjatjo talent is just as simple.”


The platform pulls talent from all different job platforms, such as Indeed, and has had thousands of applicants. Jitjatjo also has talent acquisition specialists who work to attract applicants to the platform through various channels. For operators, there’s no front-of-house or back-of-house job that the app doesn’t have—whether it’s bartenders, bussers, bar backs, or dishwashers. In other words, if you need any spot filled, you can fill it. There is now no need to put employees in stressful situations who are not trained or not ready to handle bigger roles. Just open the app and pick what you need, when you need it.


Jitjatjo charges clients on a per-hour basis with no subscription fee, and the app is free to download. Restaurant users pay for the time that they book a worker, and the worker can clock in and out directly through the app and be paid within seconds of completing a shift. Additionally, the restaurant can leave a ratings assessment on the temporary worker’s performance, ensuring they would get first priority on that person the next time they have a need, or simply sharing general feedback.


Similarly, the on-demand app Pared—for which Chef Thomas Keller is an adviser—starts rates at $17.95 per hour for scheduled gigs. The company says that rate is “less than you’re paying for a fully loaded employee after taxes, benefits, insurance, and recruiting costs.” On-demand prices are set at a base of $21.95 per hour for restaurants, but rise to a ceiling of $29.95 to make it more attractive for a worker to accept a position on such short notice.


As is usually the case in supply and demand scenarios, the more operators are willing to pay, the more likely it is they will get assistance even on short notice. If an operator likes the work of one of the Pared workers and wants to employ them full-time, the app charges a $500 to $1,000 fee, depending on the position the person is offered through the platform.


Will this become the future? Will restaurants rely more and more on on-demand employees than full-time staff? Yes and no. As with anything, there is a balance to find. It is great to have these resources as safety nets, but there is something to be said about having a staff that knows the in’s and out’s of the restaurant, what to do and what not to do and process efficiency.


What do you all think? How will these apps and others like it affect the restaurant industry?

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