The recent boom of new bars and restaurants launching in Detroit is nothing short of remarkable. And along with the exponential growth of the food service industry comes a range of job opportunities for all-star chefs and masterful restaurant managers, as well as those looking to moonlight as bartenders or servers to bring in a little extra income.
However, in the fast growing sea of opportunity it’s often challenging for employers and job seekers to find each other in amid the shuffle, and moreover, for both parties to find the people and places that are the right fit.
That’s exactly the pitfall — and opportunity — that Gary Chard saw in Detroit, and he’s created a new web platform to help fill the gap.
It’s called Hired Knives — a slick, well-designed online staffing website geared specifically at the food service industry that pilots in Detroit this month, before eventually moving to the national stage.
Chard and his wife spent 10 years in New York, but moved to Michigan in 2013 to raise their children. Once they found home and made the move, Chard began looking for work in his field of Human Resources.
He was soon approached founder and owner of the popular El Guapo food truck, Dan Gearig, who expressed some of the issues he’d had finding adequately skilled staff for El Guapo.
He found that folks either had so much experience that they would soon move on to other jobs in the industry, or they would lack the skills needed to work at El Guapo and would leave or have to be replaced soon after being hired.
It was out of this challenge that the idea that Hired Knives was born.
Chard spent about 10 months building the site and another 8 months to raise the necessary capital to make it go. Now, he’s the proud and enthusiastic owner of a website that has the potential to revolutionize the way the human resource side of the food industry operates in Detroit.
For Chard, Gearig’s issue illuminated a larger shift in the food service industry throughout the country, and specifically in Detroit.
He discovered that as more and more folks have turned part time work in the food service industry into a full-time career, rather than the primarily part time model of the past, companies have had to pay out excessive overtime rates to full time employees, who must typically work 50-60 hours a week to meet demand.
He also found that while many companies would love to have a few part timers on staff to pick up shifts as needed to avoid overtime, they were having trouble tracking down staff to fill that need.
Hired Knives’s dynamic and easy to use platform helps employers find the right folks to meet their needs. They can create a profile in minutes and begin posting jobs for free during an initial trial period.
On the employee side, Hired Knives enables job seekers to build their personal brand by creating a free online profile highlighting their skill set, and to specify what sort of work they’re looking for. The website then “matches” employee profiles with job postings and the two parties take it from there.
Hired Knives functions similarly to other job searching websites, but by focusing solely on the food service industry they eliminate a lot of the headaches for both employers and job seekers. For employers, it’s also cheaper than posting positions on Craig’s List, which can cost about $25 per post in Detroit.
“We’ve created a space that gives hardworking staff a place to show off their skills and connect with potential employers,” said Chard. “Because Hired Knives is specifically for food and beverage workers and those who hire them, we’re cutting through the clutter of other online job sites.”
After just one week in operation the site already has 50 job postings from 35 employers, and it’s only gaining more momentum.
“I see both sides of the restaurant staffing struggle,” said Chef Dave Koshizawa of the Arts Institute of Michigan and Izakaya Sanpei restaurant. “Almost daily I hear from owners and chefs looking for qualified staff and students asking for recommendations. Detroit is primed for Hired Knives.”
“Hired Knives could not have come at a better time for Detroit,” said Jacques Driscoll, owner of Green Dot Stables, Johnny Noodle King and The Huron Room. “It’s teeming with talented staff and great restaurants and now there’s a way to bring them together.”
Chard also speaks to the point of the site being an opportunity for highly skilled job seekers to build a meaningful, accessible online presence for themselves, which is a vital resource in almost any industry today, and even more so in the fast paced, highly competitive food service industry.
So, whether you’re a full-time chef looking for your next big career move or a student looking for a few shifts a week, be sure to check out Hired Knives to take advantage of the wealth of opportunities available there.
For more information on Hired Knives head over to their website.