Shifted: Hamilton’s Hospitality Startup

Take five partners with different professional backgrounds, simmer together in one of Canada’s hottest hospitality cities, and serve generously through mobile technology. This is the recipe for Shifted, a new online platform for finding work/finding help in the field of food. We sat down with two of the partners in this Hamilton startup to ask about their plans for launching locally and global domination.

Q: Tell us what Shifted is. What’s your elevator pitch?
Erin: Shifted connects people in the hospitality industry with opportunities to work open shifts at local establishments. We do this in real time, on demand and as a part of the sharing economy. Bartending, serving, back of house, you name it. Give A Shift. Take A Shift. Anytime. Anywhere.

Q: Who’s behind this project? What brought you together?
Jordan: We have an incredibly talented partnership. All five of us have very different backgrounds and were brought together through business and friendship. Our driver is fearless, our compass is true and our engine is like that three headed dog from hell. I’m the compass…Erin is the driver…and our partners, well…you get it. We also had the privilege of working with two local companies in the creation of the app and the brand. Overall, this has been a cool Hamilton story and I hope it takes off so we can make this city proud.

Q: Where did the idea for this app come from?
Jordan: The idea came out of a four hour lunch at The Edgewater Manor when it was suggested out of frustration by a restaurant owner that there should be an app to help with the turnover rate in the industry. After a few months and honing the idea, we came up with Shifted. Shifted addresses one of the most challenging obstacles facing the hospitality industry, turnover. With an annual average turnover rate of 72% across North America, finding quality people can be a daunting task and we’re striving to make it easier.

Q: What has the response been from those who have tried using it so far?
Erin: Everyone loves the concept, and it hasn’t been without its glitches but we are fortunate to have received lots of great feedback from our users and made relevant adjustments. This has allowed us to stay true to our promise of providing great service to our users, though I am sure that suggestions will continue to come in and we will always be improving.

Q: What are the next steps for Shifted? When will we see it worldwide?
Jordan: Have you ever played a game of Risk? It’s kind of like that. We’re raising money now so we can develop the features and functionality required for global domination. I’ve got 2018 pegged for this but my partners are more conservative. You can expect to see a lot more from us in the coming months.

Erin: Jordan is really good at awesome dreams. He motivates us. I am hoping that we can do a good job in Ontario this year and see about global domination after that.

Q: Do you believe more industries are ready to be disrupted by this type of crowd-sourcing or ‘uberization’ model?
Erin: It’s already happened. We’re glad to be bringing it to the hospitality industry. We believe that we’re a part of the sharing economy in that we’re enabling people to be their own boss and work when they want to work. Essentially sharing skilled labour across the industry. Say you work in an office, your bills are coming in as fast as you can pay them and your kid’s birthday is coming up. Open Shifted and go hustle on a few tables to earn some extra cash. Want to travel and pick up shifts along the way? We can help.

Q: What are the challenges you and your team have faced in developing this app?
Erin: Developing something like this isn’t easy. There are so many options for development and funding. Figuring out what advice to listen to also a very real challenge because everyone is an expert in technology and no one agrees on a best practice. The app world is very different from the restaurant industry. There are fewer tangibles and far more opportunities for growth. It has been a mega adjustment for me to wrap my mind around the need to move fast, but not too fast, listen to ideas but don’t commit to any of them and to understand that we aren’t a technology company but rather a community that leverages technology within the sharing economy.

Q: What is next for your team? Plans for future apps?
Jordan: Being a good corporate citizen is important to all of us and we’re trying to figure out how to layer that into our core business model. Future apps? We have some ideas for sure but the focus is on Shifted at this point.

Visit Get Shifted!

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