The hospitality industry has been hit particularly hard by layoffs due to the COVID-19 crisis. While many companies and brands are focusing on donating and raising money for relief funds, Jitjatjo, an on-demand staffing platform for the hospitality industry, has taken a different approach.
Jitjatjo set up its #hirehospitality campaign to inspire various industries to look to hospitality professionals, like bartenders, for temporary staffing needs during the current global pandemic.
The company has been able to generate more than 1,200 jobs already and is continuing to work with government and other businesses that need temporary staffing right now.
We interviewed Jitjato Founder Tim Chatfield to get more information about the program and find out how hospitality staff can get involved.
Bar Business Magazine (BBM): Tell our readers a bit about Jitjatjo and what it offers the hospitality industry.
Tim Chatfield (TC): As an on-demand staffing platform for the hospitality industry, Jitjatjo provides quality, vetted talent to restaurants and catering companies as well as to some of the largest hospitality organizations in the world. Our #hirehospitality campaign has been designed to recognize the versatility of hospitality workers and help them earn an income during this crisis, while supporting industries in desperate need of hourly employees.
BBM: How can unemployed hospitality staff get involved in the #hirehospitality campaign?
TC: To become part of the program, displaced hospitality workers in need of employment can visit the website that launched this week, hirehospitality.org, and register for the program via the Jitjatjo Flex app. As gigs become available, our platform uses Empathic Intelligence to match those gigs with qualified talent.
BBM: Is the #hirehospitality campaign occurring nationwide or just in New York?
TC: At the moment, Jitjatjo is working with government and other businesses like grocery stores that need temporary staffing, are a good fit for the skill-sets, and could be mutually beneficial for both out-of-work professionals and companies needing temporary, qualified, immediate hands. The campaign started in New York, has already expanded to Chicago and DC, and from there will go national.
BBM: Can you name a few of the positions/companies that you’ve placed hospitality professionals in so far?
TC: We are providing cooks and other back-of-house staff, like general utilities, porters, and dishwashers to permanent and temporary hospitals; picker/packers to producers shipping farm-to-table food; and we see opportunities for hospitality workers to help in warehousing and distribution of essential household goods, together with grocery/supermarkets. Companies that have booked shifts with us and our employees include The Javits Center, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, and the new field hospital development at the US Open Tennis Center.
BBM: What skill sets do you think hospitality professionals possess that make them a good fit for the current temporary staffing positions?
TC: Most of the staff we’ve been providing to field hospitals have been back-of-house (cooks, dishwashers, porters, etc.)
We have also had success with front-of-house hospitality professionals, who are applying their training, experience, and passion for making people feel good in new environments.
Hospitality workers are multi-skilled, versatile, and resilient. For example, general utility hospitality workers can also operate as warehouse staff, dishwashers can be cleaners in other environments, cooks can work in stocking, cashiers can be clerks, porters can work in delivery, and bartenders can be utilized as greeters, or many variations of these.
BBM: Can you tell our readers more about the COVID-19 awareness and hygiene training the Jitjatjo workforce undergoes?
TC: To ensure employees and employers feel safe and are fully aware of COVID-19 safety procedures, taking guidance from the WHO and CDC, we have created a free COVID-19 Awareness and Hygiene Training accreditation that we offer to all of our talent. While it is not required, we do prioritize work for talent with the accreditation.