First the gig economy came for taxis, then it came for hotels. Now it’s coming for bars. Jitjatjo, an app that officially launched in late 2016, is trying to function like an Uber for bartending by connecting service industry workers with bars in need of temporary workers.
According to Justin Melia, head of marketing for Jitjatjo, the app is already being used at traditional bars, places holding corporate parties, nightlife clubs like TAO and sporting event venues in New York City and New Jersey. The promises sound familiar to anyone who has worked in, or been on the receiving end of, the tech-assisted gig economy: the app finds the gig for you (or finds the worker) and the more someone uses the app the better it gets at placing jobs. Most importantly, payments are quick, paperless and directly into workers bank accounts. Because if a side hustle is about anything, it’s about the money.
“Work when you want,” the app’s description page reads, adding, “No more time wasted searching for work, just enter your availability and we’ll find you gigs that fit your schedule.”
Jitjatjo is for the entire service industry, not solely for bartenders. It also includes line cooks and catering servers to name a few. Bars are a decent part of the company’s business, though, and Melia says around 25 percent of the gigs booked through the app are bar related. Once someone chooses the positions they are looking for, they add at least one qualified reference for each position. Bartenders are classified into three tiers: Solid (knows basic drinks), Outstanding (extensive bar experience) and Epic (“mixologist-level”). It’s up to the establishment hiring the bartender to make a choice on the level they need. Around 15 percent of gigs require a TIPS alcohol certification.
As for the tips that bartenders care about—the ones that customers give them—it’s a little more complicated. Workers “receive a higher than normal working wage in exchange for tips,” Melia tells Supercall. He compares it to how a bartender might work a catering event. Worker tips aren’t guaranteed, but are at the discretion of the bar manager. That could mean the manager allowing workers to keep only the cash tips they receive or the manager dolling out tips after the shift is over.
To go back to the Uber reference, Jitjatjo uses an algorithm that places a worker at a gig. Like Uber, you don’t have the ability to select the car that’s coming to you,” Melia says. “Uber sends you the best car for a variety of different reasons and influences.”