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Closing Hospitality Gaps with Jennifer Ryan of Croux

In This Episode

Interview Takeaways

  1. Croux Addresses Crucial Pain Points – In Jennifer Ryan’s experience, there were jobs that needed filling and people that needed to work. The snag, however, was the flexibility needed. Simply put, Ryan saw a gap in hospitality and set forth to fill that with Croux.
  2. Building Awareness through Hospitality Communities – Growing awareness can be a difficult feat for brands to effectively accomplish. Jennifer Ryan has selected to lean into community building through real life scenarios and things people already love, like sports.
  3. Being Different is a Strength – Jennifer Ryan does not have a background in hospitality. However, her diverse background has provided her with experiences and mentors that provide a wide range of perspective that ultimately aids her hospitality business.

Jennifer Ryan, the founder of Croux, identified a crucial gap in the hospitality industry during her experience launching a restaurant right before the onset of COVID-19. The challenge of finding flexible staffing solutions became a persistent pain point, leading Ryan to conceptualize Croux.

She explained to host Shawn Walchef of Cali BBQ Media, “I had a lot of working moms on my payroll that couldn’t pick up the shifts that I asked them to. And then I had all these local businesses that were looking for extra hands, and we thought, there’s got to be a way to bring these two worlds together to support the local community. And that was the beginning of Croux.”

To raise awareness and build a community around Croux, Ryan adopted a strategic approach, leveraging real-life scenarios and popular interests such as sports. Recognizing the significance of hospitality and sports in driving local economies, Ryan leans into community engagement, particularly with those working around constraints like stay-at-home parents.

“So bringing those folks from off the sidelines into the game, that’s really where we found this really interesting connection and marriage, and so really engaging with those communities, that’s been really promising.” said Ryan.

Despite lacking a traditional background in hospitality, Ryan views her diverse experiences as a strength for Croux. She advises aspiring entrepreneurs to become self-aware and acknowledges the value of having mentors from various industries. However, Ryan draws on insights from her past in banking and technology while also benefiting from connections in the hospitality space, exemplifying how diversity can be a powerful asset in entrepreneurial endeavors. She perceives her unique perspective as an asset.

“I realize that being different, I thought it cast me aside as an outsider, right, not having the credentials to sit at the table,” said Ryan. “And the truth is, the more I realize that it’s not really a detractor, it’s kind of my cheat code, right, to have these perspectives and insights.”

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About Cali BBQ Media

Digital Hospitality is an interview-based video podcast hosted by business owner Shawn P. Walchef (@shawnpwalchef) and produced by his Cali BBQ Media company. The weekly digital series explores the ways successful businesses and entrepreneurs have merged old and new with innovative digital strategies that harness the power of the Internet and social media. Shawn is the founder of Cali BBQ Media and creator of the Restaurant Influencers podcast on Entrepreneur Media.

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