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Turning the Tables: New job app addresses restaurant hiring challenges

The Hippo Press

Posted by Angie Sykeny

How did you come up with the idea for Fliptable?

The concept came to fruition probably about two and a half years ago, just before Covid hit. I had a lot of restaurant experience growing up —that’s how I paid for my college tuition and books — and I had friends and family who owned inns and restaurants. … It was a natural segue … when I started traveling around the country as a business consultant, helping startup companies enter the market, I would always hear from restaurants that they had a problem finding qualified [workers] in a way that was also conducive to their very busy schedules.

How does it work?

The app has two interfaces: one for job seekers and one for restaurants. … If you’re a restaurant, you download the Fliptable app, available on the Apple store and Google Play Store, and let the app know that you’re hiring. … You create your profile … with the name of your restaurant and its geographic location. You [indicate] what roles you’re looking for by selecting tags, like ‘bartender,’ ‘dishwasher,’ ‘front-of-house manager,’ ‘back-of-house manager.’ Then, job seekers who match those tags get matched with you, and you get to determine if you like that candidate, or if you want to pass on them. The restaurant also has the ability to do an ‘instant interview,’ which means if they find a candidate who they really like, that candidate gets an instant notification on their phone, letting them know that a restaurant is interested in interviewing them. From there, the restaurant and job seeker can coordinate a scheduled time to conduct an interview or for that candidate to come in and start working right away.

How does it appeal to restaurants?

Restaurant hiring managers are often so busy that getting them to stop and read resumes or interview a candidate is really challenging, even when they really need the help. I’ve witnessed and experienced this myself time and time again. … When you post a job on Craigslist or Indeed or Ziprecruiter … you pay for clicks and views and people to apply. … You could get 100 resumes and not a single one of them is a good fit, so you just spent all this time and money and you still don’t have a qualified candidate. Restaurants that download the Fliptable app spend less than a tenth of the cost and a tenth of the time [on hiring] because they … have complete control over the hiring process. … They can communicate and [schedule] interviews with job seekers from within the app … so they know what kind of qualified candidates are coming through the door.

How does it appeal to job seekers?

Anyone who has ever tried to get a job at a restaurant knows that getting a hold of the manager or assistant manager is pretty challenging, because oftentimes that person is wearing so many hats, and they’re not at their desk. … If they … walk into the restaurant and … speak to the manager, the manager tells them, ‘Here are the roles that are open; send us your resume.’ The job seeker creates their resume and goes back to the restaurant … and nine times out of 10 the manager isn’t there, so [the job seeker] is just kind of leaving their resume on the bar and hoping that someone gets it and reads it. There’s no meaningful connection [regarding] whether they could get a job. … Fliptable [helps them] create that connection.

Was there a need for an app like Fliptable even before the pandemic?

Attrition and hiring in the restaurant industry has always been a challenge; it just so happened that we also had this pandemic hit during the early development of the app, and now restaurants and job seekers, specifically in the food and beverage industry, need a product like this more than ever.

How does it address the needs of the restaurant industry in New Hampshire specifically?

The Granite State [values] local … and [the app] is very much local. … If [a restaurant] has a question, they get a response right away from their designated account specialist … who is a local. … They like that there’s a restaurant hiring tool with local reps who care … and who know their name, know where they’re located and likely have met them. That’s something that Indeed and Ziprecruiter won’t be able to touch.

What would you like to accomplish with Fliptable in the long term?

I would like it to be the No. 1 [hiring] solution that restaurants across the state of New Hampshire are using. We’re getting closer and closer to that every day. … In just one month’s time, we have more than 55 restaurants [using it] throughout the state of New Hampshire, and about 160 restaurants throughout the country. … We’re doing the best we can to be creative, to really rebuild this restaurant community from where it is now. … I’m very optimistic about restaurants making it through this [pandemic era]. I think the ones that do make it are going to be the ones that are using creative hiring solutions, and Fliptable is that creative hiring solution.

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