East Austin is a place of controversy these days. If it’s not landlords demolishing their tenants’ pinata shops without warning and calling the business owners “cockroaches,” it’s anti-gentrification pranksters putting “exclusively for white people” stickers on local businesses. And if it’s neither of those things, then it’s this: A pizza place is hiring its staff exclusively via Snapchat.
In a listing spotted by eagle-eyed Eater Austin editor Meghan McCarron, forthcoming East Austin pizza joint Pizzabelli has taken to Craigslist not to actually recruit the staff that will serve what they claim will be “the largest selection of toppings, crust, prosecco and Italian cocktails in the country,” but merely to inform prospective pizzamakers and servers that if they want a job that will presumably pay them somewhere in the neighborhood of what every other friggin’ restaurant pays, they need to apply by sending a video to the company’s Snapchat account.
Pizzabelli is a new concept opening on the Eastside…upscale pizza with what will be the largest selection of toppings, crust, process and Italian cocktails in the country.
We are currently taking applications through snapchat. Send your intro video to “hiredinasnap”. Feel free to be creative, tell us what you love about pizza, Italy, food, whatever it is, just try to show us a little bit of who you are. We want every customer that walks in our door to be met with a great first impression, that’s why we are trying this unique hiring process.
Again, we are only taking initial applications via snapchat @ hiredinasnap
If there’s a potential fit, we will reply to you through snapchat about next steps…
The reasons a company might restrict their hiring process to potential employees who are Snapchat savvy are limited—the photo and video messaging app allows recipients of direct messages to view them for between 1-10 seconds, which doesn’t necessarily seem like enough time to make a decision about a prospective hire—but we’ll assume that the main goal here is to filter out people who aren’t tech-savvy enough to know how to make a Snapchat video in the first place.
Though why that’s the company’s goal is similarly a mystery. If the pizzeria intends that “every customer that walks in [its] door be met with a great first impression,” it probably ought to get to know what sort of impression they give off, like, in person. Snapchat is a good way to send your friends pictures of yourself making a stupid face, or to enjoy a bit of sexting without worrying that it’s going to derail your future political career, but as a place to explain your passion for pizza and/or Italy in a way that will give an employer an idea of how customers will react when you welcome them to a restaurant, it’s kind of limited.
Still, this is part of the bold new future East Austin appears to be carving out for itself: Snapchat’s full demographic information is unavailable, but its userbase is overwhelmingly young (more than 70% of users are between the ages of 13-25), obviously tech-savvy, and can afford smartphones. Fewer than half of Americans with a household income of less than $30,000 a year own smartphones, and the numbers only approach ubiquity (81%) when you start looking at families with an average income of $75,000 a year.
All of which is to say that the self-selecting pool of potential employees that this new pizzeria is drawing from is, by its nature, exclusionary. People of all races and backgrounds use Snapchat, to be certain, but excluding people who aren’t Snapchat-savvy necessarily means that the pool from which the restaurant will be drawing is going to be largely full of candidates who are younger and more affluent.
That’s not exactly a surprise—most restaurants that describe themselves as “upscale” are going to seek out staff that hits those markers—but given the past few weeks in East Austin, building your staff around an exclusive hiring gimmick is probably not a great look.