Wednesday, July 25, 2007

A pothole on the information superhighway

Life as you know it may be coming to an end, a result of the fallout from a new employment website that's certain to be copycatted. intends to do for waiters and waitresses what the internet has already done for car shoppers: Negate the come-ons and promises by revealing what kind of deals they can really expect from various places in the market, based on the real-life experiences of those who've preceded them.

The site compiles what servers say they've made in salary and tips at restaurants in their cities, with the information arrayed by experience level. Someone looking for a waitstaff job in New York will learn that rookie servers reported pocketing $845 a week at Spice Market, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's Asian restaurant in the Meatpacking District, while newcomers said they pulled down more than $1,000 a week at not-so-far-away Perry Street.

The information will undoubtedly steer job hunters to one place versus another, and that may cost you some applicants. But even worse is the chance that one of your veteran servers may learn he or she could make a bundle more by just popping down to that place a few blocks over. Veteran waiters and waitresses said they made $876 per seven-day cycle at the venerable Keane's Steakhouse. Their counterparts at Angelo & Maxie's, a steakhouse within walking distance, collected $951 in the same timeframe, or about $4,000 more per year.

The underlying concept is the same as the notion behind any number of car-buying websites, where shoppers can learn what earlier seekers of the same models ended up actually paying, or what rates are being offered by dealerships across the nation, as posted by the retailers themselves. offers the info for bartenders as well as servers. Job holders in eight cities are invited to reveal what they made in those various locations, though the listing for New York places is by far the most robust.

If the site catches on and competitors follow its lead, the industry can expect to see the same sort of empowerment that is enjoyed by online shoppers for any number of goods or services, from insurance to mortgages. And that's not likely to be a good development for restaurants trying to keep a full employment roster.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home