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15 & 16 JUNE 2021


How Freelancers are Changing the Hospitality Industry

 Ever heard of the ‘gig economy’? It’s booming – and chefs, waiters, runners, baristas & mixologists are diving into it.

An increasing number are becoming self-employed and working as freelancers taking ‘gigs’ in different establishments. Either full time or as a side job on top of their traditional jobs. The number of self-employed people across all sectors has doubled in the past 3 years to 4.8million people, of which 42% are freelancers (*). 

The benefits are plentiful, for both business and freelancer. 

In the hospitality industry hiring full time staff tends to mean a continued employment throughout the year - great for summer and winter months but when demand drops in between, businesses are faced with the same labour costs that don’t produce the same output.The flexibility of using freelancers provides businesses the opportunity to optimise operations to reduce labour costs, which have grown year-on-year for the last 4 years (**). 

From a freelancer’s perspective, they are given the ability to choose their own working hours whilst still earning a good living. In an industry which is faced with unpredictable hours which may not fit around their desired lifestyle, this is being welcomed with open arms. In turn, and something which you may not necessarily think of at first, is how this impacts the freelancer’s attitude and output. They have discovered this new way of working which benefits them strongly and essentially they’re running their own business. If their work isn’t exceptional, the likelihood is they won’t be hired again. This means motivated, positive workers for the business who they must impress each shift they work. 

This gig economy isn’t an entirely new concept, however, the staggering growth and awareness has largely happened as a result of technological developments. Just think about the impact tech has had on your operations. How has it changed in the past 10 years? 5 years? Online bookings, visual promotion on social channels, stock control, your EPOS system, food delivery apps etc. This is the same with staff. Now businesses have quick access to highly experienced freelancers. You can book a barista for a day to cover an emergency, a sous chef to cover your full time sous chef’s shift while she’s on holiday, three mixologists on Friday & Saturday nights at your new venue. 

Using freelancers, businesses can reduce costs, save time on recruitment, have a solution in emergencies, save HR’s time and, on a human level, give the person in charge of operations something less to worry about. 

So what does the future hold?


Here are some factors to consider: Tech is advancing; Practically 4 in 5 restaurants are struggling to find the right people (***); Businesses must evolve to remain competitive; There are an increasing number of companies providing solutions for flexible staffing; and last but not least, the gig economy positively impacts businesses and the freelancers using it.

The gig economy doubled in the past 3 years - From this trend, and the factors mentioned above, it isn’t unlikely that in the next 5 years the majority of restaurants, bars, caterers and hotels will regularly be using the flexible workforce - whether that’s in addition to their core team, or, it being the core team itself. 

Brigad specialise in flexible staffing for the hospitality industry. Our objective is to help millions of people work their way. To achieve this we have a continuously evolving advanced platform that matches them with businesses - all within the space of a few clicks. 

All workers that are onboarded to become brigaders are experienced and highly vetted. See just how quick it is for you to generate a request for a chef, or a KP, or a waiter here:  (and don’t worry, this won’t actually send somebody to your door later on today - it’s more of an interactive tester!)

* Association of Independent Professionals and the Self-Employed, 2018

** Office for National Statistics, 2019

*** British Chamber of Commerce, 2019

 Get in touch: Brigad