Brigad – Digital Platform Supporting the Hospitality Industry


Brigad is the digital platform on a mission to support the hospitality industry in facing the ongoing issues it currently faces – a growing number of vacancies, poor workforce retention, lack of employee motivation and more. We sat down with Nicolas Ferrary, Brigad’s UK Managing Director, to find out exactly what he sees as the biggest issues in the industry, how the platform is tackling the industry in crisis, Brigad’s plans for the future and more…

How was Brigad born?

Founded in France in 2016, Brigad was born to provide a solution to growing concerns within the hospitality industry including a high number of vacancies, irregular and unsociable working hours and poor wages. Following success in France, Brigad launched in the UK in 2018, filling a gap for a freelancing platform that connects high-quality talent with businesses and provides motivation to those working within the industry. It has been founders Florent and Jean’s aim for the start to reignite the passion of as many hospitality professionals  as possible and make work attractive and accessible to all.

Through Brigad, talents (freelance professionals) choose their clients and missions (shifts) via an easy-to-use app. Freelancers simply register for the platform and, after a thorough vetting process, are invited to set up a profile detailing their experience, skills and preferences.

On their end, companies post missions, detailing the type of profiles they are looking for and the skills required. These missions are then sent to talents as mission proposals, who can accept or refuse the opportunity at their preference.

Since its launch, Brigad has supported over 12,000 businesses across the UK and France as well as over 23,000 self-employed professionals.

What is your role within the company?

I joined Brigad in 2016 as Chief Revenue Officer and then relocated to the UK in November 2023 as UK Managing Director to help drive this expansion. Having worked previously with Airbnb France and Groupon, my expertise lies in growing and scaling marketplace platforms with a particular focus on community-based and mission-driven companies.

What is the company’s mission?

Brigad’s mission is to make work attractive and accessible for all. We are committed to solving these issues while empowering hospitality workers to regain full control of their working lives; providing them with a greater opportunity to achieve the work-life balance they desire and motivation to continue working within the industry. In fact, 60% of talents using Brigad revealed they would have left the hospitality industry if they had not found us, while 81% also reported feeling more valued at work.[1]

How does Brigad differ from agency models?

The UK market is saturated with both small and large agencies which operate completely differently to Brigad. Agencies employ individuals that are then contracted to them, therefore losing an element of control over their work life. Agencies can select shifts for each employee and if an individual turns down multiple shifts they are less likely to receive future roles. Using our platform, talents are completely self-employed and have full choice over the missions they select. The number of missions talents are offered is not impacted by how many missions they work or turn down.

Brigad also ensures talents are always offered a fair wage and operates an efficient payment scheme in which talents can choose to be paid weekly or at the end of a mission. For businesses, we provide higher quality staff through the use of freelancers. Freelancers understand that they are representing themselves and that, in order for a business to be happy to work with them, must do a good job. Via Brigad, freelancers are also able to choose their own missions rather than shifts imposed on them by agencies, making them more motivated to complete the task to a high standard. Our service charges are much lower compared to agency fees, as the matching algorithm of the platform cuts out the need for a middleman.

What are some of the most notable businesses you work with in the UK?

Since opening in the UK, Brigad has supported thousands of businesses with their staffing needs and is revolutionising the industry’s way of working. We have been lucky enough to do this by providing support to both large restaurants, catering and hotel groups such as Big Mamma, Thomas Franks and Young’s Pubs, as well as independent businesses such as Sketch, Dorian, and Luminary Bakery.

What trends are you noticing in the UK hospitality market?

The UK industry is obviously in need of urgent attention. At the end of 2023, there were 112,000 vacancies across the industry, and was also reported as the least likely to be able to pay employees in 2024. This indicates a desperate need for a platform like Brigad that can not only work to resolve these issues, but also do so well and provide job satisfaction at the same time.

We have also noticed a huge rise in freelancing within the hospitality market, evident through our 200% growth in 2022. We’re expecting this growth to continue in the coming years and we are also expecting to double our activity because of this in 2024. The freelancing model has seen a huge increase across various industries as it allows people to have control over their lives and choose a strong work life balance. We expect this trend to continue while more people seek out roles that provide increased job satisfaction and flexibility.

How are you resolving the current issues within the market?

The high number of vacancies remains a huge issue, but by developing a platform and system that helps hospitality professionals feel valued at work has encouraged more to join or even stay within the industry and fill gaps. For an industry that has suffered due to Covid and the cost-of-living crisis, keeping costs low is important to all within the industry. That’s why we’re proud to be able to save our clients 20-40% on their temporary staffing bill every month, by removing additional costs such as agency fees. It’s a win-win solution that benefits both talents and businesses.

Where do you see Brigad in 2-5 years?

Brigad is at the forefront of a new era within the hospitality industry. The number of freelancers across various industries has only grown in the last 15 years but in hospitality, it is still a relatively new concept. We see the potential in this new wave of workers and believe Brigad is the essential tool to support them as well as businesses long term. With our growth and success already evident, we plan to expand into more countries as well as into other industries.

In France, Brigad is already successfully operating in both the hospitality and healthcare markets, but this is just the beginning. Our launch into London has been a huge stepping stone into the UK and we’ll soon be expanding to other major cities. There are over 100 million skilled workers across Europe[2] and we know Brigad can support them all in different ways and eventually, make work attractive and accessible for all. 

For more information on Brigad, how the platform works and industry insights visit www.brigad.co/en-gb 

[1] Brigad 2024 Impact Report https://www.brigad.co/en-gb/blog/introducing-our-2024-impact-report

[2] https://year-of-skills.europa.eu/news/smes-europe-struggle-find-workers-right-skills-2023-11-07_en

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