JAN 04, 2018
SnapShyft, which provides a platform to help food and beverage venues of all shapes and sizes operate smarter, announced plans to scale up its operations in Indianapolis, establishing its corporate headquarters here with plans to employ up to 40 associates by the end of 2019.
“In Indiana, we’re committed to propelling innovation and ensuring that Hoosiers are at the center of solving 21st century challenges and creating tomorrow’s solutions,” said IEDC president Elaine Bedel. “SnapShyft is a perfect example of why it’s crucial to create an environment that allows innovators to thrive and focus on what matters most – their product and their business. From pitch competitions to co-working spaces and incentives geared toward entrepreneurs, Indiana has the resources needed to spark new ideas and ensure we are a hub for innovation.”
SnapShyft launched its on-demand mobile and desktop app in September, allowing food and beverage venues to connect with qualified contract service professionals looking for shifts in their area. The company has rolled out its platform in Indianapolis and surrounding areas, and it plans to expand into additional markets, including Bloomington, Greater Lafayette, Muncie and at least four additional major metros outside of Indiana in 2018. Since the initial launch, nearly 200 venues have created accounts on the platform, including some of the most prominent food & beverage operations in the city, and the app has been downloaded by more than 1,500 hospitality professionals in the Indy metro area. Demand is growing beyond Indianapolis as well, with platform downloads in more than 130 cities spanning 42 states.
To support increased demand and planned growth, SnapShyft plans to invest $433,000 in its Indianapolis operations which will officially be designated as its corporate headquarters over the next five years. Initially, the company plans to lease space at both The Speak Easy downtown and Level, located at 55 Monument Circle, and will evaluate other options within Marion County for an increased footprint as its team grows.
“After months reviewing various metro areas that fit our criteria for growth, Indianapolis rocketed to the top of the list with the tremendous growth in tech witnessed since 2010 and being ranked at or near the top in a number of event-based and tourism-related business categories,” said Thor Wood, co-founder of SnapShyft. “Being in or near downtown Indianapolis was a true no brainer for the team, housing more than 400 food and beverage venues, an amazing pool of tech talent, and access to surrounding markets like Fishers, Carmel and Greenwood. We are excited about the growth happening in Indiana’s core city, and can’t wait to add to that.”
SnapShyft, which was co-founded by Stephanie Corliss and Wood, has already hired seven employees this year and plans to add another 20 associates to its team in 2018. The company plans to hire for management and administration, engineering and technology development and deployment, as well as customer success positions. New positions are expected to offer average salaries above the state and county average wage.
The company was first established in 2016 soon after Corliss and Wood beat out 14 other potential businesses for first place in the inaugural 2016 Indy Startup Challenge, hosted by Elevate Ventures and Logika USA, which the co-founders said provided the quality road map to help launch their business model. SnapShyft has also utilized the state’s Venture Capital Investment tax credit program, which helps innovators attract capital more quickly and efficiently by giving Indiana investors an incentive to invest in early-stage firms, to raise start-up funding in 2017.
“The story of SnapShyft is one of innovation and rapid growth — a company that has the potential to transform the market, born from the thriving start-up incubator that Indianapolis has become,” said Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “SnapShyft is a representative of our city’s tech ecosystem, producing solutions for the challenges of the 21stcentury and we look forward to celebrating continued innovation for years to come.”
SnapShyft allows venues, such as restaurants, bars, event facilities and catering companies to connect with qualified contract service professionals. The platform, which is available for download in both the Apple App Store and Google Play, is free for venues and workers to create accounts. Allowing business owners and managers to fill both last-minute staffing needs, as well as any future shifts up to 90 days out through its newly-released Advanced Scheduling feature, ensures venues can provide quality customer satisfaction and provides workers the ability to pick up extra hours on the fly that fit their schedule.
The IEDC offered Avail Productivity Systems (dba SnapShyft) up to $300,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $150,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The city of Indianapolis supports the project at the request of Develop Indy, a business unit of the Indy Chamber.
INDIANAPOLIS – We are proud to share that SNAPSHYFT was selected as a 2018 Indiana Innovation Award recipient. We couldn’t be more proud of the team and what this award means for the tireless efforts shown 24/7 to reshape the way staffing issues are handled in the food & beverage and hospitality industry.
Today more than ever, innovation is the key to survival and long-term success. Those who have the aptitude for identifying opportunities, creative thinking, problem solving, and risk taking will elevate the economic base within our state and lead to global recognition of Indiana as an innovation leader.
Established in 2011, the Indiana Innovation Awards are the only broad-based innovation awards focused on Indiana. The awards seek to recognize those individuals and organizations who are successfully leading the innovation charge in our state. This annual celebration culminates at the Day of Innovation each fall.
Announcement: San Francisco Office to compliment Indianapolis HQ
Published by SNAPSHYFT®
Indianapolis-based SNAPSHYFT®, the "future of work" startup, has confirmed plans to open a San Francisco office to compliment their Indy operations hub in 2019.
SNAPSHYFT® connects short-staffed food and beverage/hospitality operations with qualified industry workers, on-demand on a shift to shift basis. Building on successes in 2018, they are setting a new standard for staffing in the F&B industry, tackling a problem that exists on a global scale while outperforming the competition by 3X.
According to CEO Thor Wood, “We’re very pleased with our decision, and excited for what’s to come this year and beyond. Opening an office in San Francisco was preceded by diligent efforts to identify a strategic location within highly dense F&B and hospitality markets, in order to work with top brands and strategic partners in achieving our long term growth goals”.
Wood elaborated on the problem SNAPSHYFT® seeks to eliminate. “This industry is highly unpredictable, and subject to external factors presently beyond the control of the businesses. We aggregate a substantial qualified worker pool allowing our customers to be nimble to ensure proper shift coverage, rather than resort to temp agencies, or relying solely on job boards or traditional job advertisements”. He continued, “We solve this by removing friction points and embracing the fluidity of the workforce (15M+ workers). Rather than combat turnover with new tricks and gimmicks, we enable companies to focus on hiring core team players, while utilizing SNAPSHYFT® to scale up their staffing levels to meet demand”.
#futureofwork #gigeconomy #marketplace #hospitalitynews #foodandbeverage
How do you even gauge what’s appropriate when partying is part of the culture of your business?
published by Thor Wood – Founder/CEO
I recently dove into an excellent article from Bon Appétit that highlights 5 acclaimed chefs that chose sobriety and purposefully continue on that path. Shining light on a chaotic lifestyle, that is unavoidable in many respects… at some point, whilst working in the industry, you will encounter (or perhaps become shrouded by) the dark side of the food & beverage industry. Working in the F&B world is a high pressure environment. It’s a system where each respective position relies on it’s counterparts, and being short staffed is certainly a major contributor. Many factors go into the creation of the high pressure, and quite possibly the relief.
“A lot of young cooks look up to chefs in the press, and the common stigma is, ‘I need to be a badass, I need to be able to drink and hold my liquor and then work through the hangover.”
“This industry can tear you down if you let it,”
Kudos to Andrew Zimmern, Sean Brock, Gregory Gourdet, Michael Solomonov, and Gabriel Rucker. I highly recommend reading the full article.
“I want [sobriety] to be something people are proud of rather than shameful of. The simple fact that you have made the decision to take better care of yourself? That should be the proudest moment of your day.”
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the highest rates of illicit drug use are found in the accommodations and food services industry, and workers in that industry have the highest rates of substance use disorder: 16.9 percent compared to 9.5 percent on average across other industries. The highest rates of heavy alcohol use are in the mining and construction industries, with accommodations and food services coming in third.
SnapShyft: Giving 14.7M+ People Better Opportunities to Make Money
by Jeremy Miller
11 Month Old SnapShyft Already Has 6,200 workers & 150 venues.
I like restaurants. I mean, who doesn’t enjoy chowing down on some good sustenance blended with a happy, ready to serve you staff providing a positive experience. There’s few things I NEED in life and that’s good food, good people to eat the food with, and good memories to share. Restaurants are a perfect place for that…well sometimes.
The reality is sometimes you don’t find that blissful experience at a restaurant. It’s not the restaurants’ fault, necessarily, but it’s easy for us (consumers) to judge the restaurant every time. In fact 97% of US consumers rank the “perceived customer experience” as THE deciding factor on whether or not they patronize a venue. If it’s not the restaurant’s fault then who’s fault is it? Instead of pointing fingers we must look at the facts.
Turnover for the industry is well above 70% and 36% of operators state hiring and staff retention is the biggest problem they face DAILY.
This is the way the industry is (for now). Technology has left large pockets of the hospitality industry unserved. Before my first job as a cook, when I would go to restaurants with my friends or family and we experienced bad customer experience we simply just accepted it because it happens so often.
I didn’t start to notice how bad staff retention and the customer experience was until I worked as a cook at a restaurant for my first job. I knew then, that someone needed to do something about this serious problem. It wasn’t until I started working for SnapShyft when I realized people are working day and night to build the technology needed to fix this major issue in the food and beverage industry. Now, restaurants are able to keep their venues fully staffed to provide a great customer experience.
Thor Wood and Stephanie Corliss launched SnapShyft in October of 2017. SnapShyft is an app for food and beverage operations to instantly post uncovered shifts, allowing those operations to connect with experienced hospitality workers. Based on a workers industry experience, they can claim open shifts on the calendar and on-demand. There are shifts for all front of house and back of house positions.
The Market is Huge and is Pleading For Disruption
The restaurant industry is a mammoth. Annually, the industry does over $799B in sales across 1M+ locations. The industry employs 14.7M professionals in the US alone and will add another 1.6M jobs by 2027. Not only is the industry large but the problem is large too.
Each year $146B is spent or lost due to managing turnover and being understaffed.
Yep. That is “billion” with a “B”. The average venue loses $146k/year due to turnover and being understaffed. On SnapShyfts’ website there is a calculator that can calculate the EXACT costs associated with being understaffed. A venue manager or owner can input a few data points like number of employees they have, average turnover as a percentage, and how many times a week they’re short-staffed. After inputting that data a full breakdown of all the costs will be shown. It’s pretty crazy. I encourage you to play around with it.
The hospitality professionals are having struggles as well. It has become difficult to pay bills with the current wages in the industry. As a result, workers are supplementing their income by working other jobs or leveraging the existing gig economy opportunities like Uber, Lyft, and SnapShyft.
“The seven-member SnapShyft team is keenly aware of its usage analytics and quickly iterates to meet preferences and solve for cultural or even gender disparities that have shown up in the data. For example, early-on they discovered that about 80 percent of their users were male and surveys revealed that women were less likely to use the app due to perceived safety concerns. Through targeted videos, social media and other communications and testimonials, SnapShyft was able to build confidence in their venue vetting and ratings system and today female users (54%) have surpassed male users.”
Ultimately, Thor and Stephanie’s goals are to make this industry better. They want to empower the workers. They want to make the venue’s lives less stressful. Combined, they have decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. They personally understand and relate to the problems both from a worker’s perspective and from a venue’s perspective. And I am both proud and enthusiastic to have the privilege to be SnapShyft’s Director of Marketing.
Kicking the week off with the goal of sharing a couple things about SnapShyft. It's important to understand the type of business we're running, and why we exist in the first place.
For starters we are NOT a temp agency. We consider ourselves the anti-temp staffing platform. Through experiencing life in the trenches, temps are the worst, and definitely not ideal in the hospitality industry. The national average success rate for temp operations speaks for itself: 34% We've encountered hundreds of small, medium and large scale hospitality operations; from bars and restaurants to major catering/event centers. The statement we hear often, "We order 10 workers just in case; we actually only need 5, but the quality of the workers we often get are below expectations, and frankly we're lucky if 5 show up to work the shift in the first place".
Ok, so how does SnapShyft compare? First, we are a short term, shift coverage solution revolving around actual industry workers. Not random people off the street. These workers are pre-vetted in order to become approved SnapShyfters. This includes the most extensive background check in the entire industry, along with industry reference checks, and even learning what point of sale systems they are familiar with. It takes time to become an approved Shyfter, but it is very easy to lose the privilege of picking up work on our platform.SnapShyft is comprised of pre-vetted workers: The industry's most extensive background check, industry reference checks, experience, and point of sale. We have a ZERO tolerance policy. It's a privilege to be a SnapShyfter, and we take our business seriously. 5-star experience is expected.
Worker Community Guidelines:
Be a Team Player - Be Helpful
Respect all those you encounter
Go Above & Beyond - Delight people
Be a professional - Reputation is Everything
Zero tolerance for violent, threatening, or inappropriate behavior or language Zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol while working a shift through SnapShyft Zero tolerance for any criminal behavior
No weapons of any kind while working a shift through SnapShyft
(Note: The general weapon policy above does not apply to authorized security personnel contracted by SnapShyft or to law enforcement personnel.)
OUR PROMISE TO WORKERS: We promise to be a facilitator for awesome opportunities and provide workers the support necessary to have an amazing experience using SnapShyft.
We also hold our customers to a higher standard as well.
Venue Community Guidelines:
Be Respectful - Workers on SnapShyft are here to help and be team players. Enable them.
Be Communicative - Being clear with workers (and SnapShyft Support personnel) can avoid a lot of misunderstandings and issues.
Pay out Tips - Any tips earned/generated by workers on SnapShyft are theirs to keep Reputation is Everything - The market will speak volumes.
SnapShyft has zero tolerance for violent, threatening, or inappropriate behavior or language
OUR PROMISE TO VENUES: We promise to be a facilitator of awesome workers and provide you the support necessary to have an amazing experience using SnapShyft.
We created SnapShyft to make running a business in the hospitality industry better. Less wasted time. Less burden on your staff. Less burnout. Better guest experience. Generate repeat business. More revenue.
What questions can we answer?
It’s more stressful to be a server than a Neurosurgeon! (according to science)
Owning & managing a food & beverage venue is no cake walk, as I’ve said before. There are numerous daily challenges and hurdles that management faces. Every single owner, manager AND service industry/hospitality industry professional we’ve spoken with claim that the longest running problem they face isn’t managing food costs, or waste, or promotions… it happens to be… staffing issues, and the countless never ending headaches associated with said staffing issues.
What does this have to do with the article I’ve linked to? Well… There are numerous moving parts (players/positions) in the game of running a successful bar, restaurant, or venue. These parts work in unison to achieve the goal of providing great customer experience every single time, to drive continued repeat business, and in turn make money. If you’re fielding a short staffed team, you simply can’t perform to the expectations of ownership, let alone the customers!
It’s a domino effect… You find yourself short staffed on short notice (or not so short notice), without a direct impactful Real Time solution. No, no, no… Facebook posts, Craigslist, or calling/texting everyone and their mother, will NOT give you a Real Time solution. And you can forget temp staffing services altogether.
So back to the domino effect… you find yourself under staffed, it’s a Friday evening, no workable solution at your finger tips, and after trying and failing to get someone, anyone, to cover the open shift(s) you give up and accept reality (defeat). You go without and say to yourself “Everything’s going to be alright. Everything’s going to be ok.”, over and over.
So the next domino is staff fatigue setting in. Staff, especially servers, may initially be excited at having more tables to cover, and the tips that follow. Other positions not so much (think back of house). This excited feeling quickly dissipates and is replaced with resentment and fatigue.
Oh yeah the tip thing… well, wait times, table turn times, anything time related is now a major problem. Could only be a few minutes, however statistics show most likely it’s 20 minutes or more added to the wait. This reflects as poor customer service to the customers. Can’t blame them for this can we? Which by the way, is what 97% of all consumers consider #1 when choosing where to eat or drink (according to the National Restaurant Assoc)!! Thus the extra tables each server has to cover results in smaller total check sizes, and less customers coming in the door that evening (wink, wink, table turn), and of course minimal tips (sometimes no tip at all- which I don’t condone. Ever).
This ultimately culminates with staff burnout and more problems for management. Especially when the repeat customers don’t materialize. Some in the business actually wonder why this is?… Running an understaffed bar or restaurant (any venue really) for ANY period of time is a true recipe for disaster. This disaster becomes much worse with inaction, or by expecting results from the same options that have helped continue this repetitive cycle unabated. This is a vicious cycle I know.
Understaffed Shift(s) lead to:
- Staff Fatigue. (check)
- Staff Resentment (check)
- Staff Burnout (check)
- Service Suffers (check)
- Self Perpetuation (check)
Training doesn’t solve the problem. Inventory control doesn’t solve the problem. Rock solid promotions don’t solve the problem. What does you ask?
SnapShyft does! (wink, wink)
By enabling venues to remain proactive in the moment, ensuring priority #1 is met every single shift, owners and management can provide a great customer experience. No matter the position of need: servers, bartenders, security/door, host/hostess, bussers, cooks, expeditors, support personnel… all roles including dishwashers! Each position is integral to running a great venue and providing the customer a reason to return.
See for yourself in this Washington Post article A Dishwasher Can Make Or Break A Restaurant … A restaurant’s dirtiest job is also one of the most crucial ; )
One Hungover Morning...
On a hungover morning, Thor Wood, who now resides in Indianapolis, was chugging his coffee battling a rather intense headache when he realized it wasn’t the previous nights shenanigans causing the brain pain, rather it was a massive idea dominating his mind. Simply put he thought he could make it easier for servers, bartenders, and others in the service & hospitality industry to pick up extra shifts for additional income and in turn help the restaurants and bars have appropriate staffing at all times.
Wood had spent over a decade in the service industry, and wondered how he could create a proper mechanism for those within the industry to properly take advantage of the gig economy. Wood launched a new venture, Avail Productivity Systems, and subsequently developed an app called SnapShyft. Wood began working in the industry when he was 14 years old, followed by another decade in staffing and recruiting. This experience works in Thor’s favor, as he can fully grasp both ends of the equation, and he and co-founder Stephanie Corliss have been laser-focused on bringing the platform to life.
Corliss explains that bars and restaurants actually lose business when they are understaffed because customers end up waiting way too long for a table or even a drink refill which causes them to simply walk away spending less overall, or even nothing. SnapShyft enables food & beverage venues to connect with the broad swath of professionals that make up the industry, including servers, bartenders, cooks, security, and even dishwashers who are looking for extra work and better compensation. Since the majority of workers also often work part-time at multiple venues, this platform allows them to pick up extra shifts without really committing to adding another static employment scenario. Logistically it’s an incredible opportunity for both end users.
SnapShyft had their soft launch in Indianapolis in September and have since witnessed tremendous support and adoption, reaching beyond their target market. Without much effort, the company has actually reached users in over 130 cities across 42 states, with over 200 food & beverage venues in Indy having already created an account on the app, and over 1,500 service/hospitality professionals locally. Although not yet live outside of the Indy Metro area, plans have been laid out to enter new markets in 2018 which I think would be very exciting for (wink, wink) Orlando, San Diego, Louisville, Columbus, Cincinnati, Austin, and Minneapolis.
OK, so the app itself is free for both the industry workers, and any type of food & beverage venue, including major event centers, sports facilities, and concert venues. Creating an account and posting available shifts is free. Today, venues can simply create their free account and have unlimited access to post available shifts, paying only for the workers’ time spent covering shifts plus a nominal $20 booking fee. Additional features forthcoming will allow venues to upgrade their account to meet their unique needs. “The biggest hurdle since launch has been efficiently educating those in the industry on a new way of thinking & doing. Eliminating bad habits is a tough process,” says Thor. You can usually find him (and his impressive beard) out and about around Indy engaging people from the industry and doing what he can to help from an awareness & education standpoint.
SnapShyft connects two users in immediate need in instances like a restaurants or bar owner who might have had any number of workers call off, to a server or bartender who might already had a shift but is looking to get some extra cash and pick up another money making gig. “The food and beverage (hospitality) industry is always overlooked…There are millions of people that earn their living, that put food on the table because of this industry and we want to make it easier. We want to make it better,” Wood said. The 5 year vision according to Wood, is to fully arm the entire food & beverage industry with our technology platform enabling them to strengthen their bottom lines, both venues and workers. 15 million professionals and over 1 million venues stand to benefit greatly from what they do.
After moving back to Indy from sunny Florida, Wood pitched his initial concept at the Indy Startup Challenge, a 10-week bootcamp for budding entrepreneurs to present original business ideas, according to the Indianapolis Business Journal, where they competed alongside and eventually beat out 14 other startups for a cash prize and services, including access to a popular local co-working facility in Downtown Indianapolis, The Speak Easy. The dynamics that drove the decision to set up shop in Indy were supported by several factors including the technology ecosystem in place as well as a robust food & beverage scene (article quote of Indy being top foodie destination) and the #1 convention city in the Country.
“SnapShyft is going to give people the power to control their schedule which gives them the ability to control their income and their precious time,” said Jeremy Miller, SnapShyft, “Venues stand to benefit immensely, since repeat business typically makes up nearly ⅓ of revenue. Making sure the customer has a great experience every time, begins with being fully staffed”.
Food & beverage is a heavily populated industry that provides full-time and part-time work. SnapShyft essentially creates day-by-day contract employment for people searching for a shift and for the venues that require extra assistance. This platform is truly transforming the service industry and has entered as a complete game changer for so many people. Thor’s hangover berthed an idea that has been brought to life and is now changing the service industry one venue at a time. My recommendation is to keep an eye out for SnapShyft. Cheers.