How a Denver-based App Connects Latinos to Restaurant Jobs

As the world moves slowly away from the multi-faceted effects of the pandemic, the restaurant industry still struggles to get back to “normal.” One issue the food and beverage industry keeps encountering is the lack of staff which, in turn, slows down businesses.

However, Diego Montemayor, CEO and co-founder of Chamba, had a feeling there wasn’t a lack of talent, just an issue with finding the right way to connect employers with future staff. He created that connection with Chamba, the first bilingual mobile app for Hispanics looking for jobs in the restaurant industry.

“Chamba connects the Latino workforce to employment here in the United States,” said Montemayor. “We have a huge focus on hospitality […] and right now we are helping restaurants who are in dire need so we can get them fully staffed.”

Chamba

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Corina Hierro, Chamba’s Community Manager; Diego Montemayor, Co-Founder and CEO of Chamba

Chamba, which is Spanish slang for ‘job’, was launched in 2020 and it serves as a bridge that connects restaurant owners directly with a workforce that didn’t have a platform to reach out to. With more than 250,000 users nationwide, it focuses solely on restaurant jobs, allowing managers to efficiently find the workforce they need.

The Spanish-speaking users can input all of their work history and information in their native language and the app will translate it to English for the employers. Additionally, the app simplifies the process of building a resumé for those who don’t have much experience writing one and easily transitions and aids workers in the interview process. Some local businesses currently using Chamba are Denver Beer Company, Rioja and La Diabla.

The app is free for users looking for available jobs but employers pay for the job postings.

The Labor ‘Shortage’

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Montemayor always set out to help Hispanics find the jobs they needed, no matter the industry. However, the feedback he received was that the most sought industry from Chamba’s audience was hospitality, specifically in food and beverage.

Even though the app was launched at the beginning of the pandemic, the number of users kept growing and they were able to secure a job within a week.

From then on, the Chamba team understood that the issues surrounding labor shortage are being misrepresented. “It is not a labor shortage problem, it is a connectivity problem,” said Montemayor, “and connectivity comes community and community come with trust”.

Corina Hierro, community manager of Chamba, agrees. “We made [Chamba] bilingual […] because we have a community that wants to work and loves the restaurant industry but doesn’t have maybe the necessary language skills,” said Hierro.

Just in the last four months, Chamba has seen a 40% increase in hospitality clients and to date, has had more than 172,000 downloads in the Apple App Store.

Community is Key

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Diego Montemayor, Chamba user and Corina Hierro; photo provided by Chamba

Helping the Latino community is a mission that is very dear to both Montemayor and Hierro. As immigrants from Mexico, they both understand how cultural and language barriers can slow down the job process for Spanish-speaking workers.

“I was always very motivated in helping the Latino community,” said Hierro. “When I left the news industry right before the pandemic hit, Diego [Montemayor]’s invitation was like a match made in heaven because I wanted to continue to use my skills to help out.”

Montemayor understands that in order to build a community, one must first build a sense of trust. “Chamba builds community by building trust, by showing who is behind the technology, by showing who’s behind the whole project that really wants to help Latinos get back into the workforce.”

Chamba is currently available in Colorado, New York and California, but the team has plans to represent the Latino community around the world in a variety of professional industries. “We want to be that brand that represents us in a different way,” said Montemayor. “We want to show the world that Latinos are a strong community, a community that is here to work and make things happen.”

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, Chamba is offering three free job listings for any restaurant business in Colorado. For more information on Chamba, visit its official website.