One Off Hospitality Group

Case Study
Introduction

One Off Hospitality Group(OOHG) is a boutique restaurant group located in Chicago, IL. Employing over 750 people across eight concepts, their impressive list of restaurants include Blackbird, Avec, The Violet Hour, The Publican, Big Star, Publican Quality Meats, Nico Osteria and Dove's Luncheonette.

Last year, Nico Osteria was the only Chicago restaurant named one of the best new restaurants in America by Esquire’s Josh Ozersky, adding even more accolades to acclaimed Executive Chef/Owner, Paul Kahan’s resume (which includes James Beard Awards: Outstanding Chef 2013 and Best Chef of the Midwest 2004, and Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs list 1999). However, BOH is not the only place where OOHG excels; Donnie Madia, Managing Partner/Owner, has helped OOHG rack up 10 James Beard nominations, including this year’s “Outstanding Restaurateur”, with his commitment to front of house service and overall hospitality.

Referred to as the “face of Chicago cuisine” by Condé Nast Traveler, Chef Paul Kahan, Donnie Madia, and the entire team at One Off Hospitality Group, has turned Chicago into a serious dining destination.

The Challenge

As OOHG was starting out, and prior to using Culinary Agents, OOHG’s talent sourcing consisted of using Craigslist as the only engine through which they could post about employment opportunities within their restaurants. Craigslist reached a very wide group of applicants and many of those who responded to job posts seemed to apply “just because” rather than those who were truly serious about, or qualified, for the actual position. As a result, managers spent hours sifting through responses, only to turn up a few potential candidates; time that would have been better spent dedicated to the service floor and kitchen rather than office work. Positions usually took at least a few weeks to fill and Craigslist did not offer OOHG the ability to appropriately represent their brand and describe the available positions in a clear, succinct, aesthetically pleasing manner.

As a result (of Craigslist), managers spent hours sifting through responses, only to turn up a few potential candidates; time that would have been better spent dedicated to the service floor and kitchen.

Additionally, since they weren’t finding the right candidates, managers fell into the habit of posting on Craigslist over and over again. This repetition ended up costing OOHG much more money than expected while the teams spent increasingly more time sifting through applicants and coordinating responses.

The result of implementing Culinary Agents was immediate; as soon as we started using Culinary Agents, everything became simplified.
The Solution

In April 2013, OOHG started using Culinary Agents to manage their talent sourcing across all of their restaurants, always a pain point because of the many reasons above. Primarily using the job posting and talent correspondence tools of Culinary Agents, OOHG was able to post the entirety of their various job descriptions (FOH and BOH) in a clear outline for all potential candidates to read through.

Kimberly Galban, Vice President of Operations for One Off Hospitality Group, said, “The result of implementing Culinary Agents was immediate; as soon as we started using Culinary Agents, everything became simplified”.

...we find that it [Culinary Agents] draws applicants who are much more serious about the jobs we are offering.

Using Culinary Agents’ filtering and matching processes, Galban went on to add, “Because CA has all potential candidates complete a profile before using the site, we find that it draws applicants who are much more serious about the jobs we are offering.”

Making sure not to lose any of the visibility that all marketing channels provide, once a job was posted, Culinary Agents took over and thoughtfully promoted the restaurant and opportunity across various relevant channels, without the individual restaurant having to do anything more. The time saved by handing off this responsibility was enormous.

Another aspect of Culinary Agents that OOHG found invaluable was the specific base of quality restaurant groups that they feature, compared to the all-encompassing food, beverage, and hospitality options on Craigslist. OOHG found that this made it easier for serious culinary and hospitality professionals to target specific restaurant groups that they wanted to work for.

Culinary Agents’ excellence stood out again when OOHG was getting ready to open two new restaurant concepts, one smaller concept and one larger one. On that experience, Galban said, “Our two most recent openings: Nico Osteria and Dove's Luncheonette were such a great example of how Culinary Agents helped our hiring process. Nico Osteria, located in the Gold Coast, attracted so many culinary students due to CA's incredible relationship with our local culinary schools. With Nico's 100+ back of the house positions to fill, it was crucial in our success. Dove's Luncheonette, located in Wicker Park, attracted so many neighborhood candidates due to CA's great relationship within the "industry core”. Because of this, we were not only staffed before opening but also had a good amount of candidates still trying to work with us after opening."

We use CA for posting any job, albeit BOH, FOH or Administrative. CA has taken the burden of maintaining a job board on our own site.

Galban summarized OOHG’s usage and success of their staffing with Culinary Agents saying, “We use CA for posting any job, albeit BOH, FOH or Administrative. CA has taken the burden of maintaining a job board on our own site. With one click, potential candidates are taken to our page on CA and seamlessly, apply there.” Without this burden, OOHG was able to concentrate on the other important aspects of opening a new establishment.

The Result

One Off Hospitality Group has been growing and flourishing thanks in part to the support received from Culinary Agents. Instrumental to their success, they now have an engine that allows for fast, clean and clear communication between hiring managers and potential applicants, as well as a site that houses resumes and information that is very easy to navigate. Galban says, “The incorporation of Culinary Agents has shaved hours off of our managers' time and has helped them streamline their hiring process.”

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