Jobletics Brings the Uber Model to the Restaurant Biz

jobleticsJobletics founder Rahul Sharma

You can summon a car, a pizza or a date with the help of an app—why not people to fill in shifts when you’re short-staffed?

That’s the idea behind Jobletics, a startup that set up shop at Canopy Somerville in Davis Square earlier this year and launched in the greater Boston area three-and-a-half months ago.

Jobletics founder Rahul Sharma was inspired to build the app after continually seeing his family members, who work in the food industry, finding themselves in a tight spot whenever an employee didn’t show up for work. The app is his solution to high turnover rates and unreliability; he calls it “Uber-staffing for food service.”

Jobletics is designed primarily for restaurants that suddenly need coverage or need help for a larger event, such as a catered affair, and the app is also a favorite among local food trucks. Restaurants can use the Jobletics app for same-day service to have a vetted, qualified person show up ready for work in 75 minutes.

“It’s literally as simple as downloading the app, creating an account and then starting to create shifts,” Sharma said. “You’ve got help literally same day.”

So far, Sharma says the app has fulfilled every single requested shift. Jobletics is highly selective when hiring “Jobletes,” or workers. Sharma explains that the company tests applicants for qualities such as their ability to work under stress or in a team and only accepts eight percent of applicants.

But many may be wary of another player in the controversial gig economy, which often absolves businesses from providing benefits and stability for workers.

Sharma explains that while Jobletes’ schedules can be as flexible as they’d like, they aren’t working on a freelance basis. Jobletics is a W-2 employer, and gives Jobletes benefits such as workers compensation.

“We take care of our employees,” Sharma said. “These Jobletes are our lifeblood, they’re the face of the business.”

In terms of whether this model could oust workers who employers would have to provide benefits for directly, Sharma noted that 85 percent of food industry employees work part-time.

Jobletes make $15 an hour while restaurants pay $19.99 an hour to Jobletics. This 75 percent earning clocks in just below Uber’s controversial 80 percent payment. Sharma explains that the flexibility Jobletics gives its employees is a major draw.

“They get autonomy and accountability,” he said. “They get to control their own schedule, so it’s a huge benefit.”

Like Uber, the Joblete and the restaurant both provide a rating for each other. This promotes visibility and “holds both sides accountable,” Sharma explains.

Jobletics is currently serving several places in Somerville, including Rebecca’s Café, Amsterdam Falafel, and numerous food trucks.

“When it comes to food in general, Somerville is a very happening place,” he said. “There’s a lot of exciting, new stuff. We just want people to know that if you need help we’re here to have your back.”