By Arkady Petrov

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The App age has greatly simplified the process of ordering professional services: this is the case with driver, cleaning, and even handyman services.

Now, this concept has spread to wait staff: in Brazil, startups are offering temporary professionals to restaurants, employing filters developed through technology, attending to establishments according to the desired demand.

Waiter smiling in a restaurant. (Photo Deposit)

Startup Closeer, which provides this type of service, began operating in June 2018 and claims it has already received an investment of R$700,000 (US$180,000).

According to Walter Vieira, the company’s CEO, the concept arose from the plight of two Closeer partners, who worked for many years in the restaurant industry and struggled with the challenge of hiring wait staff. “Now, when the establishment needs wait staff to meet very high demand, such as on a Saturday night, it is possible to use our App to order a professional,” explains Vieira.

The Closeer App works with an algorithm similar to the Uber platform. First, the restaurant provides information on the wanted professional’s profile: if it requires a male or female, if the staff needs to speak English, the required working hours, among other specifications.

After the offer is sent, the algorithm searches its database and generates a list of names of professionals who are suitable for the establishment’s requirements – in this case, certain criteria are taken into account, such as location, experience and the rating of the server’s work as registered by the App.

The offer is directed to the first on the list, who then has up to five minutes to accept the job, and if not, the next in line will get the notice.

Closeer determines that the wait staff should earn at least R$17 per hour of work. To use the platform, restaurants are also charged a subscription fee of R$90 per month.

Closeer collects 15 percent of the amount paid to the professional – the wait staff will not need to pay for using the service. After one year in the market in São Paulo and with over 400,000 professionals registered in the App, the company has expanded its operations to Porto Alegre, Curitiba, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte in recent months. The goal is to end 2019 with 20 employees – today, the startup employs only six people on its team.

This market is not limited to hiring wait staff. Startup My Staff also connects bartenders, cooks, receptionists, and cleaning staff to restaurants and clubs. The App even offers services for those wishing to throw a party at home – there are already over 8,000 professionals registered on the platform, which was launched in September of last year.

Unlike Closeer, which uses an algorithm, MyStaff offers users a search engine for selecting professionals. Establishments do not pay a subscription to My Staff – only a 16 percent fee is charged on the service provider’s earnings.

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