Jamie Baxter is the co-founder and CEO of Qwick, a Phoenix-based on-demand staffing company that connects service industry professionals with food and beverage shifts in real-time. Baxter is an HR tech veteran whose entrepreneurial passion can be traced back to when he started his first technology company at the age of 16 and sold it at the age of 20. Since launching Qwick in 2018, Baxter has provided technical leadership and a strategic vision to advance the company’s mission of offering freedom, flexibility, and financial autonomy to professionals and partners alike. Today, Qwick is rapidly expanding and will be serving hospitality professionals and partners in more than 30 markets nationwide by the end of 2022. Baxter shares with Adrienne Weil, vice president of strategic partnerships and business development for the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA), what Qwick is all about, the innovations that are changing the company’s approach, how the industry is evolving, and more.
Can you give a bit of background on your company?
In 2017, I was discussing the pains of finding and retaining good hospitality staff firsthand with my co-founder, Chris Loeffler. We began Qwick with a focus on helping hotels find housekeeping help, but shortly thereafter realized we had an even greater opportunity to innovate the way the food and beverage industry works.
Our platform connects hotels, catering companies, event venues, restaurants, and other businesses with the staff they need to fill shifts in real-time with a 97 percent average fill rate. The same way that you can order a nearby car ride, a catering manager can order a banquet server to show up and work an event, even on just a few hours’ notice. Since the platform’s launch in 2018, over 300,000 professionals have signed up across the United States in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and more. By the end of 2022, Qwick will have a presence in more than 30 cities and we’re just getting started.
What innovations have changed the way Qwick approaches its hospitality clients over the past few years?
With so many digital innovations occurring as a result of the pandemic, we’ve found that hospitality businesses are much more open to Qwick’s platform. It’s now the norm for these businesses to utilize tech services in their day-to-day, whether it be for managing reservations, online ordering, or hiring staff. Since Qwick is so user-friendly, we’ve found it much easier to approach hospitality partners and showcase the benefits of being able to fill a server, bartender, or dishwasher shift with just the click of a button.
How did you first hear about AHLA and what made you want to get involved with the organization?
Prior to partnering, AHLA was on our radar for a long time as a reputable organization supporting our industry. Once we met the team, we were sold. Similar to AHLA, our mission is to empower more people to work in hospitality. We wanted to be a part of the amazing resources, opportunities, and economic growth AHLA is providing to hotels, individuals, and communities across the country, and they’ve been nothing but an incredible partner to us.
How do you see the hotel industry evolving over the next five years?
As the need for hospitality staff continues due to the ongoing labor shortages in conjunction with the rapidly changing interests and priorities of consumers, hotels will need to rely even more heavily on technology to ensure operations run smoothly. Over the next five years, we can expect hotels to look towards inventive recruitment and retention strategies like on-demand staffing platforms with faster payment options for staff, contactless services for guests, personalization through smart technology, and more.
The one thing that will remain constant is the emphasis on great guest service. Great guest service begins with guests’ interactions with staff. We’ve made it our mission to provide the best and most qualified professionals to our business partners. On the flip side, we’re also collaborating with business partners that provide positive work environments to offer professionals flexibility and a livable wage, which in turn, directly impacts their positive experiences with guests.
What do you like most about being in the hotel industry?
My favorite part of being in the hotel industry Qwick serves is the people. Being in this industry, we recognize how important relationships with guests, customers, partners, and staff are. Fostering those relationships is one of the most important values we hold the entire Qwick team to. We are a people-first company and couldn’t do anything we do without the amazing business partners and professionals we serve.