Gig workers are nothing new in the restaurant world. Every day, contractors on bikes and scooters deliver food for Uber Eats and DoorDash. But in a growing number of kitchens, contract workers now make the food, too.
With the restaurant industry facing its worst labor shortage in decades, Pared and a rival app, Instawork, are filling a growing void, as managers who have struggled to recruit permanent employees turn to the on-demand services for workers trained as dishwashers, servers, line cooks and even oyster shuckers.
Among them is Mr. Mortenson, who said he could not imagine going back to a full-time restaurant job. “I’m making more money than I have ever made in this industry,” he said. “This is crazy.”
Part of the appeal, he said, is that the app exposes him to new experiences, whether icing gingerbread cookies at Bouchon Bakery or cooking short ribs for Twitter employees at the cafe in the company’s New York office.
“It doesn’t make me a better cook,” he said. “But it’s so amazing to go into a new restaurant every day.”