When a top San Francisco chef told Shawndra McCrorey, Partner Success Manager for Culinary Agents, that he would never need the assistance of her company, she acquiesced, and then she waited. Sure enough, the chef came back, admitted he was wrong, and enlisted the help of the job matching website in finding a line cook for his celebrated restaurant.
Like every other professional industry where talent is routinely sought via social media and web technology, the food, beverage and hospitality market too has progressed to the use of networking and job matching sites. Where word-of-mouth was formerly the best means of communication for job seekers and job hunters within the tight-knit restaurant world, industry insiders are recognizing the power of sites such as Culinary Agents.
Founded three years ago by former IBM executive Alice Cheng, Culinary Agents is described by McCrorey as ‘LinkedIn meets Match.com for the food industry.’ Culinary Agents allows job seekers to create a free profile that showcases education, experience, skill and prior work history. Employers create a business profile, post jobs and then enjoy resume viewing and automatic matching of opportunities to talent and talent to business. It’s a cost effective way to source all levels of culinary, pastry, wine and spirits, dining service and office positions.
‘Our focus in the beginning was the top 10 culinary cities,’ says McCrorey. ‘We are now in 30 cities nationwide and are soon expanding to Italy and France. Our business allows chefs and restaurateurs new ways to connect with each other.’
The initial focus was fine dining, and Culinary Agents continues to represent 60% of the nation’s Michelin starred restaurants, but they have expanded to support fast casual establishments, hotels, catering, and other businesses related to the food, beverage, and hospitality industry.
The Culinary Agents team has depth of knowledge in the field, combined with strong technical design and development skills. McCrorey, for instance, is a certified sommelier with a background in the wine sales industry. She began at Culinary Agents as west coast ambassador, assessing what users and businesses wanted, and evolved to oversee nationwide business development where she manages the success of clients across multiple cities, and seeks new business opportunities in targeted territories. ‘Culinary Agents employees have lived and breathed the industry,’ says McCrorey, ‘And we are able to create the business based on our experiences.’
McCrorey admits that the San Francisco market is particularly challenging for reasons that include cost of living and emerging opportunities in different sectors, such as the tech industry’s hiring of chefs. ‘We are seeing a whole new level of competition in the trade’ says McCrorey. ‘But Culinary Agents continues to evolve to help the industry meet such challenges.’
Follow Culinary Agents on twitter @culinaryagents
For more information, visit Culinary Agents online.