“In the tech industry, everyone is on LinkedIn, so there’s one central point where you have all the jobs and all the candidates. In many industries, such as the bar and restaurant industry, they don’t tend to use LinkedIn so there is no central point where they can all find each other. That is what we want to create. “
For every company hiring staff has always been an arduous process. Sorting through thousands of resumes and scheduling countless interviews in the hopes you will find the right candidate, the first time, otherwise, the whole time-consuming process will begin again. Of course, large establishments either have internal recruiters or hire a recruiting agency, but what about smaller industries? In the fast-paced world of running a restaurant, it is nearly impossible to find the time to curate the right candidates. Luckily, there is a new app on the scene that will ease the hiring woes of restaurant managers. The new recruitment app Pluggd – with Tinder-inspired mutual matching and an Uber-like rating system – is offering long overdue solutions to restaurateurs and staff alike. “We want to make our app for the bars and restaurant industry. One of the things we found was that when we went into bars and restaurants they didn’t like the usual recruitment platforms because it’s not specific to them, it’s across every industry” says Daniel McCormack, Pluggd Co-Founder and Managing Director of Toronto recruitment agency Bay-Teck.
With an extensive background in recruitment and executive search, Daniel originally intended for Pluggd to be a recruitment tool for large financial institutions. He explained that recruiters get an onslaught of job applications, and a lot of follow up calls and emails from the least qualified candidates. By the time they get through all of the follow-ups, and get to the applications they are interested in, the candidates have already taken jobs elsewhere. “We looked at how mutual matching changed online dating, by only allowing communication after both parties had expressed interest, and then how it would work in recruitment. It would remove all the noise of people you are not interested in, and allow you to move much faster on those you were.” He added that the ease of the app encouraged unhappy employees to apply for jobs, “By the time you get home after a bad day at work you’re unlikely to be motivated to update your resume and apply for jobs. But if you are having a bad day at work, you will go for a coffee, open an app, and swipe right on the jobs that interest you. If you go home that night and you see you got two matches, you are much more likely to be motivated to update your resume or message the employer because there is something you will miss out on if you don’t.”
Daniel realized Pluggd would be perfect for the restaurant industry as he was scrolling through Facebook and noticed the frequent posts of restaurant managers desperately looking for staff for last-minute shifts. “A friend of mine owns a couple of bars and restaurants in Toronto, and every week I saw on Facebook or Instagram ‘I need a bartender tomorrow’, or ‘I need a line cook mine just quit’, and we thought what if we took our idea and put it in the bar and restaurant industry.” Daniel says, “And what we found was that there was a number of reasons why it was perfectly suited to that industry.”
It’s not uncommon for managers to have to find staff last minute. Sudden weather changes, last minute reservations, and industry-wide high staff turnover are just a few of the many factors that lead to a short-staffed restaurant. Since Pluggd is industry specific managers are more likely to find the right candidates through the app than a Facebook post. The Tinder-inspired swipe element also increases the possibility of finding someone quickly in the event of a last minute request.
Another trend Daniel noticed was that many industry staff needed to pick up extra shifts on top of those they were getting from their existing employer. During slow times staff can grow to be frustrated with the lack of shifts. The ability to pick up one off shifts elsewhere prevents staff leaving for another establishment altogether. Daniel says, “A bar that is open only four days a week may lose people because they need more than 4 shifts. We found an owner or manager would be more than happy to tell them to go use an app like ours to go and find extra shifts, so he didn’t lose them altogether. Not only are we in a position where we can help people find staff, we are also in a position where we can help them keep staff by providing extra shifts around that as well.”
The app may be new but its user base is steadily climbing thanks to their partnership with the Food and Wine Industry Navigator, a Toronto-based Facebook group with 27 000 members. The online community ranges from seasoned veterans to eager hopefuls, all empowering each other through sharing advice on everything industry related. The diverse posts cover everything including equipment and ingredients sales, serving etiquette, workers’ rights, and finding employees and employment.
The benefit for the early users is the creative reward platform that allows them to earn tokens during either their hiring, or job application processes. The rewards go above and beyond than the usual invite code. Both restauranteurs and candidates can earn rewards during their daily job duties and processes. Staff can earn tokens for invite codes, filling one off shifts, or for attending an interview. Establishments can earn tokens for either hiring or interviewing. “The idea is that we are giving out these reward points for actions in the group. We will have traditional reward partners that are industry specific, who will accept these reward tokens. We have spoken to bars & restaurants, yoga studios, gyms, and chef’s clothing vendors.” Daniel says, “We also want to speak to dental clinics, because very few restaurant employees have health benefits. We’re also looking to get restaurant suppliers and POS systems on board, so industry staff can be rewarded based on their contribution to the Pluggd community.”
The job postings are currently free, but overtime restaurants and bars will be paying for postings using the reward tokens. Early users will have the advantage of obtaining a balance of tokens before any charges are implemented. “Early users will be able to use the tokens they have earned to post jobs, whereas the newer people jumping on at a later date will have to buy these tokens to post a job. There will be a limited supply of tokens, so when the reward distribution runs out, users will be able to buy and sell tokens off each other within the app.”
The Uber style 1-5 star rating system of the app guarantees a more curated selection for both restaurants and staff. Lowering the possibility of hiring unreliable staff, or staff ending up in a position where they will be mistreated.
The Pluggd app solves many issues within the restaurant industry, but one of the most important issues they aim to resolve is mistrust between staff and management.
While Pluggd intends to stay industry specific, they are looking at options for white labelling or licensing their technology for use in other industries, “We see bars and restaurants as a great use case, but the reality is that this technology would solve problems in any industry that is not a big user of LinkedIn, including construction, private tutoring and retail” Daniel says.
Pluggd has been available on both iOS and Android since mid-December, already has 2000+ users in Toronto, and is currently going through a funding round to help expand throughout Canada and the US in 2018.