City Lifestyle

Want to start a publication?

Learn More

Featured Article

On a Mission to Help Your Kitchen

Food and beverage app Croux makes staffing easier

One year ago, five individuals put their heads together and effectively solved a challenge in the food and beverage industry. Lindsey Noto, Jen Ryan, Brett Ables, Stewart Price and Kenny Kung attended Birmingham’s TechStars Food Tech event last October, where they were tasked with “collaborating and coming up with a solution for an industry issue, based on technology.” 

Because all of them work in food and beverage — with the exception of Kung, who works in tech — it did not take long for this savvy team to know precisely which issue they wanted to tackle: staffing. “We thought it would be cool if we could take the system of social media and texting and use it to connect people who want to make cash in the industry – and get them to fill shifts,” explained Noto. 

By the end of the weekend, solid plans for an app called Croux had taken shape, and the group won first place for their idea – enough validation to make it a reality, according to Noto. The concept of Croux is simple: the app helps hospitality venues — such as restaurants, bars, catering companies and event spaces — find qualified staff, or “talent,” the term Croux uses. Talent can create a Croux profile for free, and, once it is approved, they can browse available shifts and learn about the business and position, the time required, the duties and the payment. If a certain shift piques interest, they can then submit their profile for the business to check out. 

Businesses using Croux include a variety of well-loved restaurants around the Magic City, such as Saw’s BBQ, Black Market Bar + Grill, EastWest, Porch and many more. But it’s not only restaurants that rely on the app; for example, Adams Beverages, a distributor, has also found talent through Croux to serve as beer ambassadors. 

Take it from Colby Conklin, owner of EastWest, who says Croux has been instrumental for his establishment’s ongoing success. “It was a very simple and straightforward set-up. We filled each posted shift within four to five hours of posting,” he said. “Prior to Covid, finding new team members wasn't easy, and since Covid, it has been even harder. Croux gave us the ability to fill several open shifts, while allowing us time to find a permanent member for the position.”

The five founders of Croux are looking forward to the future and garnering funds to grow the Croux app. Already, they are branching to Tuscaloosa and to Auburn, as well as approaching potential investors who want to take part in watching the food and beverage industry thrive. As Noto pointed out, the only direction to move in is forward. 

“The term ‘Southern hospitality’ was not just made up; we pride ourselves on being a Southern hospitality-focused business,” she said. “People are recognizing Birmingham as a food mecca, and it would be a shame to see that progress hindered. We want Croux to work because we need it to work. This is for the industry, by the industry.”