Will Price, owner of the recently-launched web platform Serve Your City, thinks that the food and beverage industry lacks an adequate outlet on which it can post employee and employer reviews, a la Glassdoor
and other online business review services. So he hired That Level media to help him create Serve Your City, a place where restaurant employers and employees can post anonymous reviews.
Price should know what the F&B industry needs — he's worked in it for about eight years. "Ever since college I've worked in restaurants at different front of house positions. I work in the hotel industry now," he says. He's watched the hiring and firing process and after a while he began to think about a better way in which people could find out about restaurants where they wanted to work.
Think about it, if you're looking to work at the cafe down the street, how do you know how the owners treat their employees? Can you find that kind of information online? We tried Glassdoor, using Bay St. Biergarten as an example.
We got what we expected. Then we tried Yelp.
The freaky tots may be delicious, but how are the tips for servers? What kind of shifts do line cooks usually pull? (We've seen employee comments on Yelp before, of the "I used to work here and the kitchen is a mess" variety, but those comments rarely get any response — because people are on Yelp to read about food, not industry drama).
Anyone can post a review on Serve Your City, but Will Willis of That Level explains that a filtering system is in place to weed out super negative reviews. "You can't say Jimmy the line cook is an a-hole, for example," says Willis. But saying that the management is difficult to work with? Sure. Go for it. Anonymity, of course, is key.
"We don't want people to be fearful of losing their jobs," says Willis. While the platform at first glance is more beneficial to potential employees, Price and Willis stress the employer benefits too. Willis says that after talking to some employers he can see how they're beginning to get the "bigger picture," i.e. fewer staff turnovers and better job-matching as a result of Serve Your City's reviews.
Price and Willis hope that once the platform takes off (volume, says Willis, is key to flooding out the inevitable false reviews), they can incorporate additional elements, like a place for employers to list job postings, and the option for them to respond to user's reviews.
The site currently has 59 reviews (which can be accessed by the public next week) for 40 restaurants, from Tavern & Table to Poogan's Porch.
Serve Your City has a food and bev. night at The Alley on Fri. July 24. F&B employees can post reviews at these events and then give the guys feedback on the spot.
To post your review now, head here