The sharing economy continues to shake up how restaurants do business, and a new app is addressing an age-old staffing conundrum. Called the “Uber of finding restaurant staff” by Food & Wine, Jitjatjo grants New York City restaurateurs access to temporary staff on demand.
The program vets restaurant workers and also organizes them by skill set, covering everything from front-of-house hosts and servers to back-of-house cooks and bartenders. “It helped us in emergency situations where it’s kept our service standards to where we always want them to be. In the past, without Jitjatjo, my service would have suffered,” says Blake Irving, manager of Black Barn in midtown Manhattan. The rustic yet artisanal concept was among the restaurants that participated in Jitjatjo’s beta test. “I have a pretty large staff, and we have broad coverage, but there’s always the unknown,” Irving adds.
Like Uber, both the restaurants and the workers can rate each other after the job is completed. When managers wish to hire temporary staff, they can specify not just function but performance levels as well. The higher a worker’s rating on the app, the more expensive they are to hire.
Jitjatjo also puts favorably reviewed repeat workers at the top of a restaurant’s list of potential staff, which can save operators time in bringing temps up to speed.
At Black Barn, Irving says he will still try to fill open shifts with in-house staff, but Jitjatjo provides a valuable backup that also opens the restaurants up to new possibilities.
“I can now take additional parties that I wouldn’t have been able to in the past, especially for a seasonal, last-minute thing,” Irving says. “So it gives me the ability to capture more revenue, too.”
Presently Jitjatjo is only available in New York City, but Irving says he could see it working in other large metropolitan areas with a robust hospitality scene.