With the on-demand economy impacting other industries, from taxis to hotels, it has also taken hold in restaurants in various ways, including staffing.
Circumstances that have long been difficult for operators—such as special events that create increased demand or a scheduled worker who becomes a last-minute no-show—can now be addressed immediately through staffing 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.
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.
With more on-demand platforms emerging, Melia predicts there will be further shifts toward the gig economy throughout the restaurant workforce. These apps are blazing into new territory, expanding what restaurants can offer their employees, from flexibility and immediate compensation to the ability to work shifts that match their personal schedule and lifestyle.
“There’s tremendous benefits for the workers,” Melia says. “And because of the efficiency this affords clients as well, you’ll see that it’s mutually beneficial, and apps like ours will continue to grow in popularity and utility.”