Welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview with Starr Douglas, the dynamic Founder and CEO of FrontHouz, a game-changing solution in the hospitality industry. In this engaging conversation, we dive deep into Starr’s entrepreneurial journey, the remarkable success of FrontHouz, and her insightful perspective on the ever-evolving world of business.
Starr’s story is one of vision, resilience, and a passion for transforming an industry that was hit hard by the unprecedented challenges of the past few years.
With a background rooted in firsthand experience within the hospitality sector, Starr’s journey began with humble origins as a student working various front-of-house positions in local restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
This practical experience provided the foundation for her to recognize a dire need for a solution to the industry’s revolving-door turnover, call-outs, and labor shortages, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this exclusive interview, Starr shares her vision for FrontHouz: a platform designed to connect hospitality venues with pre-trained, on-demand workers. It’s a lifeline for venues, saving revenue and streamlining hiring and training processes.
Join us as we explore Starr’s insights into employee happiness, the challenges facing businesses today, and her unique perspective on the evolving digital landscape.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Starr Douglas: Thank you for having me! I’m Starr Douglas, the Founder and CEO of the hospitality staffing solution, FrontHouz. Throughout my time at Georgia Tech, I had the privilege of working just about every front-of-house position in local restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.
In the wake of COVID, I recognized the dire need for a real solution to end the revolving-door turnover, call-outs, and labor shortage in restaurants.
The vision behind FrontHouz is simple: connect hospitality venues with a pool of pre-trained, on-demand workers. Amid historic understaffing in the industry, FrontHouz provides a lifeline to venues, saving thousands in lost revenue per shift and streamlining hiring and training processes.
FrontHouz is truly transforming the future of work in the hospitality industry, benefiting both restaurants and skilled professionals alike.
In the past year, what is the greatest business achievement you’d like to celebrate with your team? Please share the details of that success.
Starr Douglas: Bringing FrontHouz to life and launching in Atlanta has been an incredible achievement for our team this past year.
After months of behind-the-scenes work, we had an incredibly successful launch with thousands of workers on our platform. Finally being able to watch FrontHouz in action is the most rewarding feeling.
Quiet quitting, The Great Resignation, are an ongoing trend causing many businesses to struggle to keep talent engaged and motivated. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued, and misunderstood in the workplace. In your experience, what keeps employees happy? And how are you adapting to the current shift we see?
Starr Douglas: In my experience, what keeps employees happy is when they work in an environment where they feel valued and heard. It’s crucial to shift the perspective from an employee-versus-boss dynamic to be a shared team with shared goals.
Flexibility and understanding play a pivotal role in achieving this. We need to embrace servant leadership, where our primary aim isn’t just increasing profits but also improving and developing the lives of individuals on a personal level. When employees feel like they are part of a larger family, they tend to be more engaged and loyal.
We also recognize the importance of nourishing employees’ personal lives outside of work. This not only fosters a sense of loyalty but also promotes a healthier work-life balance. In the face of the Great Resignation, we’ve been proactive in adapting our company culture and management style to align with these principles, which has helped us retain and motivate our team.
Online business keeps on surging higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for the year to come and how are you capitalizing on the tidal wave?
Starr Douglas: The future of work is becoming increasingly more digitized, and I think most industries are really starting to feel this. As a SAAS company, technology is at our core, and FrontHouz wouldn’t be possible without it!
It’s really important to embrace the developing technologies and find the right way to utilize them to benefit your specific operations.
Businesses don’t necessarily need to rely on technology, but instead use it as a tool to make work easier.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as THE real challenge right now?
Starr Douglas: The most pressing challenge for businesses today is staying relevant in the digital era of work.
Technology, especially artificial intelligence, is rapidly changing the landscape. Jobs are being replaced or transformed, and companies must stay proactive in adapting to these technologies.
Our approach is to use these technological advancements to enhance our work, not replace our workforce.
The challenge lies in striking the right balance between embracing new technology and ensuring that our employees remain the heart and soul of our organization.
In your experience, what tends to be the most underestimated part of running a company? Can you share an example?
Starr Douglas: One of the most underestimated aspects of running a company, in my experience, is the ability to build meaningful career paths for employees.
An example from our company, FrontHouz, illustrates this. Many of our team members started as hospitality professionals on our app.
Our social media manager, Kai, was the first worker to sign up on our platform, and she has worked the most shifts out of anybody. One of our lovely recruiters, Schola, used to pick up shifts every week while also working another full-time restaurant job.
By getting to know them and recognizing their talents, we were able to bring them on board and watch their careers flourish. Investing in team development and offering opportunities for growth within the company can lead to tremendous success and loyalty.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Starr Douglas: If I could pick a business superpower, it would be the ability to intuitively anticipate and provide for our team members’ wants and needs, ultimately providing them with a healthy work-life balance and professional growth.
This would not only encompass personalized development plans and fostering open communication, but also include being attuned to their psychological and physical needs.
Employees can sometimes be hesitant to speak up about their needs, whether it’s extra support or guidance, mental health days, or other necessities. By having this superpower, we could proactively offer support, mental health resources, and any other essential assistance, ensuring our team members’ well-being is always a top priority.
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Starr Douglas for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
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