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A Talent Platform for Restaurateurs

Clothbound helps the restaurant industry find talent through filter-based job searches.

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The restaurant industry is challenged with high turnover and chronic understaffing. A lack of industry-specific recruiting tools further amplifies this struggle, resulting in high recruiting costs. The industry needs a better and quicker way to bring restaurateurs and applicants together.

The partnership between Clothbound and Cantina had a unique start. Instead of the traditional project scope and deliverables, we chose to interact with Clothbound on a much more straightforward level: in the fall of 2012, we sat down with the founders and talked about their dream for the company. As the talks continued, the mutual trust grew.

Cantina’s key strength is that your people have an incredible sense of empathy - for us as entrepreneurs, but more importantly, for users of the app.


Finding the Right Questions to Answer

By late 2015, Clothbound was ready to engage Cantina to conduct research and validate key aspects of the product vision.

Clothbound was smart to start small: this allowed them to identify risk areas and conduct experiments on key assumptions without consuming a lot of resources. This important decision helped clarify and direct product design changes to mitigate risk.

Using a web-based prototype, Cantina helped Clothbound test the following:

  1. Single-page profile creation/job postings will save hiring managers time when searching for qualified candidates.
  2. Utilizing horizontal swipe interactions for mobile users will make the job seeker search process faster and more enjoyable than a traditional vertical scroll.
  3. The traditional resume is secondary to a qualified cover letter.
  4. Using tagging to match job seekers and hiring managers will achieve more meaningful matches and lead to faster recruiting.
  5. Placing sign-up gates later in the search process will achieve higher conversion rates for Clothbound.
Clothbound app on two iPhones

What to Build: MVP or MMP?

Confidence in the research enabled Clothbound to jump right into building a new product and solution. This decision brought a lot of change: the Clothbound team moved into Cantina’s office side-by-side with us.

This proximity allowed us to develop together at lightspeed. We also recommended a second round of testing with a narrow focus on how restaurant managers supervise their staff. The outputs from that user research brought clarity to how Clothbound could differentiate itself in the market.

Our collaborative discussions to define and validate testing assumptions enabled us to design a research-driven solution and develop an app experience that captured the specialized nature of the business. Something other solutions didn’t offer. The final designs reflected attention to the hospitality industry, while the content and UI directly represented the personalities and culture that define restaurants committed to a quality dining experience.

Clothbound app on a table

Minimally Marketable Product

Clothbound launched into the App Store with 35 paying customers at the start, growing public interest in the application, and they were selected as a finalist for the 2015 MassChallenge Most Promising Startups Award.


If you are interested in learning more about this engagement or how Cantina can help you with a project contact us today. We'd love to help.

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