Q&A: A distinctive approach to hiring for hospitality businesses

Our latest Q&A subjects are Lucas Eckersley and Mitch Heard, the entrepreneurial duo behind the job-matching app Stitch Hire, which connects hospitality venues with prospective hires for their staffing needs. Stitch Hire is designed to make it easier for hospitality venues to find and hire staff in real-time, even during peak periods, making use of technology and a personalised approach to help the hospitality industry get back on its feet.

ISB: What led you to develop what would become Stitch Hire?

LE: During the COVID-19 pandemic, Brisbane’s events and hospitality industry experienced a shortage of overseas workers and frequent employee absences. Recognising this pressing need, Mitch and I joined forces. We combined my hospitality and management expertise with Mitch’s technology and engineering background to create an automated, user-friendly platform. This platform seamlessly connects venues with high-quality temporary staff. Our venture was born out of the desire to support businesses in the hospitality sector during these challenging times, addressing the industry’s staffing gaps and delivering a valuable solution.

ISB: Apart from focusing solely on the hospitality sector, what makes Stitch Hire unique from other job search platforms?

LE: Apart from our hospitality focus, Stitch Hire distinguishes itself from other job search platforms with a distinctive approach and personal touch. We foster close and trusting relationships with venues, providing them access to an additional staffing pool during peak periods and staffing shortages. This ensures our partnered venues maintain a high-calibre team to elevate guest experiences. Our hands-on, personalised approach to building and nurturing these relationships has fuelled rapid growth in the Brisbane market. Our exclusive partnership model, combined with our commitment to improving venue operations and frontline hospitality experience, sets us apart from conventional job search platforms.

ISB: How does technology contribute towards the platform’s job matching efficiency?

MH: Technology significantly enhances our job-matching efficiency. Inspired by platforms like Uber and Airtasker, we thoroughly pre-screen all staff and have adopted an employee rating system based on their hospitality experience and past shifts in various roles like bartending, management, barista work, and more. We’ve invested heavily in automating onboarding processes and developed our customised Human Resource technology to meet our unique needs. This tech-driven approach streamlines our operations, ensuring precise matching of skilled individuals to suitable job opportunities, making the hiring process smoother and more efficient for both employers and workers.

ISB: What is the most unexpected challenge you faced in developing the service and how did you overcome it?

MH: In the wake of the pandemic, much like many venues, we were not immune to the struggles of finding casual staff. To adapt, we diversified our hiring methods and explored alternative marketing approaches. Our recruitment focused on flexibility and the opportunity to work on one’s own terms, aligning with the societal shift towards remote work. This approach allowed us to better serve hospitality workers seeking improved work-life balance, especially young individuals juggling studies, social life and other work commitments. We offer workers the freedom to choose their hours, ensuring they can maintain control over their schedules.

ISB: What is your vision for Stitch Hire in the next couple of years?

MH: We are continuously dedicated to refining our technology, taking feedback from our customers and staff, and innovating for the hospitality and events industry. We’re thrilled to announce our imminent expansion to the Gold Coast, and we’re actively exploring opportunities to expand to Sydney and Melbourne in the near future. Our youthfulness and entrepreneurial spirit drive us to pivot when required and explore new avenues to enhance the value we bring to our business and clients. As Co-Founders, Lucas and I remain committed to driving growth and innovation within Stitch Hire.

ISB: What is the most important piece of advice you can share to anyone hoping to start their own business?

LE: Don’t do it alone if you don’t have to. Mitch and I were lucky because we both shared similar goals and values. Teaming up allowed us to grow faster and keep each other on track and accountable. Also, never underestimate the power of proactive networking, putting yourself out there and connecting with like-minded people. Remember, you lose 100% of the shots you don’t take. So, find a great business partner, build relationships and truly value them, take calculated risks and go chase your dreams!