In the bustling hospitality industry of Tampa Bay, a new era of convenience and efficiency is unfolding with the introduction of Service Station, a revolutionary online job board tailored exclusively for the sector. Founded in September 2021 by CEO Jonathan Hewett, the innovative job board transforms how employers and job seekers connect.
Hewett shares the inspiration behind Service Station’s inception. “My wife owns a restaurant in Clearwater, and after the pandemic, she struggled to find staff that wanted to work. Many restaurant owners are friends, and each identified having issues finding staff.”
The need for a more localized, responsive, and user-friendly job board became evident, and that’s when Service Station was born. Hewett knew people were looking for jobs, but the existing job boards were cumbersome, often posting nationwide jobs, and employers rarely responded to inquiries.
Unlike traditional job boards with these nationwide postings and limited employer engagement, Service Station caters exclusively to Tampa Bay. Focusing on the local community, Service Station establishes a more intimate understanding of the region and its employers, enabling personalized one-on-one support for employers and job seekers.
“We’re local to only employers and job seekers in the Tampa Bay area,” he says. “We know the area and the employers around town. We’re in a better position than most other job boards. We don’t care what color your skin is or what you identify yourself as. We’re here to help everyone.”
A key feature that sets Service Station apart is its affordable monthly employer subscription. For just $200 per month, businesses of all sizes, from independent mom-and-pop shops to large corporations, gain unlimited job postings, leveling the playing field and promoting diversity in the job market. The platform’s user-friendly interface ensures only the most qualified candidates apply, saving valuable time for employers. Hospitality industry job seekers enjoy complimentary access to countless opportunities.
Integrating partner organizations like local university career centers, the Lighthouse of Pinellas, the Veterans Administration office, and employment centers for military personnel completing deployment or recovering from injuries extend the reach of job opportunities to a broader audience of potential candidates. Daily, Service Station receives, on average, 200 resumes from those organizations.
The success stories emerging from Service Station illustrate its impact on the Tampa Bay hospitality job market. From entry-level positions to managerial roles, the platform serves as a comprehensive repository of job openings in the industry. Job seekers benefit from enhanced chances of success with online resources like sample resumes and how-to tips, and employers enjoy a robust talent pipeline and expedited hiring.
Though Service Station is online, Hewett regularly visits his restaurant clients to check in with them.
“We have a very personable business relationship with our employers.”
In addition to posting on the platform and sharing with partner organizations, Service Station shares the opportunities on all job boards, LinkedIn, and all social media channels.
“I think I have just over 10,000 resumes in the database at the moment, and we’ve helped over 11,000 job seekers since we launched.”
Hewett is particularly proud of the platform’s personal approach. He regularly reviews resumes, reaches out to potential candidates who might be a good fit for available positions, and helps arrange an interview. Unlike impersonal job boards, Service Station takes the extra step to connect job seekers with suitable employers, enhancing the chances of finding the perfect match.
“This is unlike the other job platforms where you never speak to anyone. We vet the resumes to ensure the applicants have the experience because we want them to get the job. This is just a more well-rounded platform than the others out there. We are very different than the impersonal one-way street where the employees post their resumes and never hear back from anyone,” he explains. “While they may not match the skillset the employer is looking for, I tell them, ‘By the way, I have 50 other employers looking for your skillset right now. Go on our website, take a look at the jobs. If there’s something there that you’re interested in, we’ll connect you with the GM.’”
Applicants can immediately contact the employer and say they applied on Service Station and are very interested in an interview. The true essence of this online job board lies in its ability to foster seamless connections between employers and job seekers, benefiting both parties.
“It’s a much easier process. It eliminates the waiting time for job seekers and helps them get through to the right person – the GM. From what we’ve seen so far, everyone loves this. We’re having much success with this.”
In addition to its virtual presence, Service Station actively participates in job fairs, bridging the gap between employers and job seekers. Hewett proudly shares one such success story: he connected a restaurant manager with the perfect job at Cody’s Roadhouse through the job fair. Service Station’s fortuitous timing and personal touch led to a swift and successful hire.
The job for manager had just been identified earlier that morning, and the GM had not yet posted.
“This lady came in and was a manager of a restaurant in Tampa. The restaurant shut down unexpectedly; she had two kids and, all of a sudden, was out of a job. She said she’d been sending resumes and applications for a week and couldn’t get any responses from the employers, so she came to this job fair. She had 20 years of experience. It was just perfect timing. I’d met with the GM of one of the locations of Cody’s that morning, and they’d just lost a restaurant manager and were going to post that afternoon because they needed someone desperately.”
Hewett immediately collected her resume and connected with the GM.
“She didn’t even go to any other booths. She went straight to the restaurant and got the job right away.”
The invention of Service Station marks a significant turning point for employers and job seekers in Tampa Bay. With an affordable fee for employers and free access for potential employees, this platform redefines the landscape of the local job market. Its personalized one-on-one support sets it apart from conventional job boards, fostering meaningful connections and nurturing the growth of the Tampa Bay hospitality community. Service Station’s undeniable impact is revolutionizing employers’ and job seekers’ job search process. Embracing this digital innovation, the hospitality industry in Tampa Bay takes a giant leap forward into a new era of convenience, efficiency, and inclusivity.