Vermont-made app aims to ease restaurant labor crunch

Dom Amato

BURLINGTON, VT (WCAX) – The restaurant industry was one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and even though restrictions have now been dropped, finding workers is still holding many of them back. Now, the developers of a Vermont-made app say it’s designed with restaurants in mind.

The wood-fired oven is burning again at the Vermont Tap House. The Burlington restaurant is slowly getting back to pre-pandemic business, but finding employees to work is still a challenge. “It’s a struggle every day for staffing,” said the restaurant’s Shawn Careau. While the applications are slowly starting to come in, Careau hopes a new app his business is using will help match the perfect candidate with the Tap House. “Everyone uses their dating apps and this is as easy as that.”

“We wanted to come up with a solution to the hiring problem in the restaurant industry,” said Kassandra Pike, who along with her twin sister Courtney, came up with the idea for Fliptable, a recruitment app for restaurants that was developed in Vermont.

More than 80 businesses are on board — most of them local — and the sisters say they want to lead the effort to help restaurants get qualified employees back in the door. “We’re meeting the job seekers, we’re meeting the restaurants where they’re at,” Courtney said.

It’s similar to a dating app. People looking for a job create a profile highlighting their skills and the position they want. Participating restaurants get notified when a candidate is interested and can be hired immediately. “It connects restaurant hiring managers with job seekers instantly,” Kassandra said.

“It’s simple, it’s easy to use — the passiveness of it — a floor manager can be hiring on the spot,” added Courtney.

Careau says the ease of finding candidates is what interested him, and allowing him to focus on the business rather than spending time looking for workers. “You post an ad on Craigslist, each ad takes 10 minutes of your time. You have to pay for each one individually and then you get nothing. So, you wasted all that money, no applicants. That’s just for one job,” he said. “The ease of this having a subscription cost — I can post tons of ads in the same amount of time it took to fill out the bills, payments and stuff.”

The app is free for job seekers and there’s a monthly fee for restaurants that want to take part.