After months of testing tens of thousands of users, a platform that provides the restaurant industry with a frictionless hiring process has launched across the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
Called Seasoned, the new app offers a suite of easy-to-use, low-cost tools that allow someone to get hired in as little as 24 hours. Think of it like LinkedIn for restaurants: Seasoned is a community of service industry employees who can review job openings, schedule interviews with operators, and build connections with peers.
Seasoned was originally founded in 2017 when CEO Ware Sykes saw that restaurants needed a better, more effective hiring process that would dramatically cut down the time spent on sourcing resumes and vetting candidates. That combined with an increasing demand for niche social spaces online led he and his team to create the community-based application.
“Restaurants almost universally identify hiring as their number one challenge, both from a time and economic perspective—the cost of managers sourcing, sorting and arranging interviews, and the cost of having empty roles while that work takes place,” Sykes told Dallas Innovates. “We’ve had managers tell us using Seasoned has allowed them to spend dramatically more time on thinking through business growth and how to manage their restaurant effectively.”
The platform is meant to have two-fold benefits for both sides of the hiring process.
Restaurateurs can easily find applicants, schedule an interview, and make a hire with Seasoned’s simple four-step process. And, according to Sykes, it’ll cost 60-70 percent less than traditional methods.
At the same time, job seekers—like servers, chefs, and bartenders—are able to create a single profile for an array of restaurants to see. They can also build their own bespoke social network to communicate, share trade tips, and support one another in an often difficult, battered industry.
“We want to empower every hourly professional to achieve financial security, health, and happiness in life, while positively impacting their industries and society,” Seasoned states on its website. That’s been an especially important mindset during the COVID-19 pandemic.
When coronavirus completely disrupted the food and beverage industry, Seasoned quickly revamped its platform to respond to restaurants’ most pressing needs. The startup previously raised $20 million from TPG Growth.
Sykes told us they created an online hub specifically for restaurant workers to build their own community of like-minded individuals and share struggles of closings, dining bans, and layoffs. They then re-oriented Seasoned’s hiring product to focus on the ‘fast and quick’ service industry since it was seeing the most growth during the pandemic.
“We want to give restaurant owners access to the tools they need to succeed, especially at a time when businesses around the country are under pressure,” Sykes says. “We want to get Seasoned into the hands of as many people as possible.”
As more people transitioned to takeout and delivery, Seasoned saw a rapidly growing demand from the fast-casual and quick service segments of the market. Add to that an extremely high employee turnover and the need for a platform like Seasoned is obvious.
The team quickly started working with some of Dallas-Fort Worth’s biggest restaurant operators like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Chipotle. Before its recent launch, the Seasoned app was tested with thousands of local restaurants, many of which are users.
From here, Seasoned plans to focus on DFW as its primary expansion market. The goal is to have more than two-thirds of the 320,000 local restaurant job seekers pass through the platform.
According to Sykes, as the industry starts to recover, Seasoned is the ideal tool to better enhance operations—he says restaurants are continuously saying that hiring is the number one challenge to sustaining growth.
But on the first day of using Seasoned: “You get access to cheaper, fast hiring tools, and job-seekers can immediately source opportunities across the region.” That, to Sykes, is immediate impact.
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