LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The state of the workforce is forcing some local business owners to get creative. One Las Vegas franchise owner is employing people from around the globe to fill vacancies.
“So many restaurants out there with so many signs, ‘we close early,’ ‘short of labor,’ ‘please be patient,’. We don’t want to do that,” Mehdi Zarhoul, owner of Crazy Pita said. “A lot of our students that work with us, they work summer and then they leave with school, activities, or vacation.”
His solution is using technology to pool from a workforce from more than 8,000 miles away. While they are not robots, they are taking customers by surprise.
“First I thought it was Alexa, and then I saw a video chat,” one customer told 8 News Now.
Hasnain Ahman, 19, greets people virtually on a tablet as they walk through the door.
“Whenever I turn on my camera, they come into a restaurant, they see this guy on a tablet, they’re like stunned. ‘wow, where are you?’ The most frequently asked question like ‘where are you,’ ‘are you here back in kitchen?’” Ahamad said.
Ahamad is in Pakistan getting his education and making ends meet by putting in a 40-hour workweek as a virtual cashier. He is employed by a company called Percy.
Ahamad trained for three weeks before starting as a virtual cashier. From afar, he can perfect customizations for each order, which frees up the other staff to focus on service.
“We haven’t lost anybody or replaced anybody. We’re using our employees toward other tasks that are directly connected to the customers,” Zarhloul said.
Zarhloul said it is also more efficient since no one is standing around waiting on someone to walk in the door.
“Since we started using Percy, our rating and skies skyrocketed, a number of five-star reviews on consistent basis,” Zarhloul said.
This type of technology is quite common in Europe and Canada however, it is just starting to make its way to the U.S.