If you’ve worked in a restaurant, you know employee turnover is high as people head back to school, find a different job, or just . . . stop showing up. All this employee churn can be costly to a business, which then has to find, hire, and train new people. Jobletics wants to change how restaurants, grocery retailers and food management companies staff up by becoming an online “temp agency 2.0” for the food biz. Its online platform offers up pre-qualified workers for different positions, helping reduce restaurant costs while giving workers more flexibility.
For example, let’s say a restaurant needs a line cook. Instead of hiring one permanent, part-time worker, the restaurant goes to Jobletics, outlines what it needs, and chooses from a number of different, qualified line cooks to fill those shifts. After a “Joblete” completes a couple of training shifts at the restaurant, they are then able to fill in shifts whenever the restaurant needs them. Restaurants can rate Jobletes and have three or four of the best ones on a virtual bench of trained workers it can add to the schedule as needed.
The Joblete is able to take on shifts as they fit into their schedule, for their skillset and choose which restaurant (or restaurants) to work for. If they have a bad experience at a restaurant, they can opt to not take that job again.
Jobletics acts as the W-2 employer, and according to CEO Rahul Sharma, the company’s “Intelligent” platform can match the best worker to the job opening. Jobletics says it can do this because of its rigorous hiring process. During Jobletics interviews, applicants are given psychographic and cognitive reasoning testing. “The bulk of what makes a good worker is behavioral,” said Sharma.
Having this rotating bench of available and qualified workers means that restaurants don’t have to go through the lengthy process of finding, hiring and scheduling a part-time worker, which can be expensive.
The company has “a few hundred customers” across Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area and Philadelphia, and roughly 1,000 Jobletes. Sharma says all Jobletes are guaranteed a wage, which can be above minimum wage, depending on the location.
While he likens Jobletics to the gig economy, Sharma says that his company is fundamentally different from companies like Uber and Lyft. First, Jobletics interviews each worker to assess their skill set, and further, Jobletics is trying to create long-term relationships between workers and restaurants. Chances are good that you won’t see your Lyft driver again, but Jobletics wants to provide workers that restaurants will hire over and over.
Jobletics makes its money by building in a small percentage fee to the employer for every shift it fills. The company has raised some funding from private investors and is now using SeedInvest to crowdfund additional money.
My concern when hearing the Jobletics pitch is that it creates some sort of perpetual restaurant caste system. A busser will always be a busser because there is no system to move up through. However, Jobletics offers free training for workers who want to learn new skills. If they are interested in becoming a line cook, Jobletics will help train them and place them in a line cook job at a restaurant (at a discounted rate for the employer).
The one drawback to Jobletics seems to be the loss of camaraderie. Working for a restaurant instead of at a restaurant does fill you with a sense of team spirit (even if you didn’t like everyone). I still have friends from my busser days, and I’m not sure that would be the case if most of the workers were temps.
Hat tip to Bostinno, where I first learned about Jobletics.