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Gig economy app Qwick has arrived in DC

The app, which connects hospitality workers with shifts from hotels, catering companies and other employers debuted in DC ahead of an anticipated increase in local tourism.

Qwick is an app for hospitality workers. (Courtesy photo)
As the cherry blossoms prepare to burst and local companies cook up some new ways to attract the city’s tourists, hospitality staffing app Qwick is making its district debut.

Qwick officially launched in DC, its 16th market, this week. Founded in 2018 in Phoenix, Arizona, the startup connects gig and tourism economy workers like caterers, hotel employees, bartenders and golf course workers with venues, hotels and restaurants in need of talent.  The app, which director of launch Greg Harrison said was largely built in-house, lets both front- and back-of-house workers pick up shifts as they choose and get paid the same day (it can be as soon as 30 minutes after a shift).

The DC launch — which is one of 30 planned for this year — is a key market for Qwick, Harrison told Technical.ly. He hopes the local launch can help the city recover some of its tourism income. According to Qwick, the city lost over $2 billion in travel revenue in 2021 and saw 198 restaurants close during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We know this is a market that is highly dependent on tourism,” Harrison said. “We know this is a market that is highly dependent on hospitality and tourism revenue, and we’re hoping to bridge that gap this year and in the future.”

A key part of this plan is to help connect employers with the needed workers, as Qwick’s data found 40% of DC hospitality businesses were having trouble filling positions. Internally, Qwick will also be adding a few members to its DC team. The launch is also timely, he noted, because the city is gearing up for local events like the Cherry Blossom Festival and summer tourism.

There are plenty of reasons for this acute need for workers, Harrison said, and the problem is not unique to the hospitality industry. He noted that Qwick itself suffered during the pandemic and needed to cut its staff from 60 to 20 during the pandemic’s height (it’s since recovered to 150 full-time employees). Still, he thinks that the assets of Qwick, which offers stability like quick paychecks and the freedom of shift flexibility, offer an ideal way to court hospitality workers. According to Harrison, Qwick’s app currently hosts 300,000 hospitality professionals.

“DC is not alone. This is a problem that’s affecting the whole country,” Harrison said. “So I really do firmly believe in our mission statement, which is that we are changing the way people work. And I think that every market we launch in only proves that point even further. I think hospitality professionals, in general, are hungry for the freedom and flexibility that our product offers.”

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