Pared Lands $10 Million to Connect On-demand Workers With Restaurants

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Jun 28, 2018

Shiftgig and Snag have a newly funded competitor to worry about. Pared, an Uber-like, on-demand platform connects workers with restaurants, has just raised $10 million in Series A. The company says it has filled more than 40,000 shifts through 1,000 customers since its founding in December 2015, supporting San Francisco. New York City launched March 2018.

“We’ve created a platform that allows operators to book pre-vetted restaurant professionals who have the skills to fill their shifts,” wrote David Lu, company co-founder and president, in a blog post. “Pared creates more transparency between the needs of a restaurateur and the skills and availability of restaurant labor. Rather than trying to find part-time and full-time staff that turns over constantly, we identify the under-utilized capacity in the market and find them gigs that work with their schedules. We match skilled restaurant professionals with operators that need those specific skills. Operators get the talent they require to get through service, pros gain flexibility and higher pay for their much needed skill set.”

The labor shortage in the restaurant space is no secret. There are more restaurants than ever before, millennials don’t cook, and more alternatives exist for workers who would prefer to drive strangers around or put together Ikea furniture than adhere to someone else’s schedule. Many restaurants are turning to automation to remedy the problem, but it’ll still be awhile before Twiki makes your next quarter pounder.

For most restaurants, posting a job on Craigslist to fill a spot for that night’s service just doesn’t work, so an on-demand system works well. A service like Pared also helps restaurant owners fill openings on the fly when they know foot traffic is going to spike. Here’s a video explaining how it works for employers:

The app largely focuses on back-of-the-house operations like line cooks, prep cooks, and dishwashers, though it could theoretically extend to any part of the restaurant experience. Restaurants go to the app and say they are looking for what the app calls a ‘Pro’ in whatever role they need, and are able to book the employee right away for the slot they have in their schedule. It might come at a slight premium over the typical hire, but restaurants are already willing to pay overtime in order to cover those gaps and keep things moving smoothly, Lu told TechCrunch.

Lu says Pared is going to continue to build out products and features with the $10 million, particularly improving the user experience and quality and accuracy of its matching system. It will also explore expansion into new markets.

Similarly to Snag’s badge system, Pared allows workers to build its reputation with restaurants. Pared refers to these workers as “pros,” and says these folks make more money than lesser experienced staff. “Many cooks and dishwashers are earning over $4,000 per month relying entirely on Pared for their income,” wrote Lu.

This type of on-demand platform for traditional hourly workers is quickly becoming the norm for good reason. It works well for both parties. It’s flexible. It scales. It rewards. It incentivizes.

The question comes down to who can gain the most marketshare and how quickly. Ride sharing works because there are only two main players, which makes is easy for consumers and gig workers to digest. Employment, in contrast, could be a mess, with multiple options and apps to service a very fragmented space.

Once Groupon daily deals became popular, Groupon wannabes became the norm in local markets. The same could happen with on-demand workers. Once job board software became an off-the-shelf offering, they popped up everywhere, targeting local markets and specific skill sets. The same could happen with gig platform software.

That said, Pared has some serious supporters, including Yelp’s founder, YouTube’s founder and even the CEO of the San Francisco 49ers. More established players like Snag will have something to say about Pared’s growth prospects, but Pared’s team should make it interesting.

Pricing for Pared workers range from $17.95 to $27.95 an hour if booked a day before the shift. Restaurants looking to secure on-demand workers will have to pay market rates based on demand. CRV led the round, and was joined by investors including Uncork Capital and True Ventures.

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