Posted July 19th, 2022 By Yummy Jobs
21 Years of Yummy Jobs
We met with Yummy Jobs Founder and CEO Jason Smith to get his thoughts on 21 years of Yummy Jobs.
What made you start Yummy Jobs?
I come from a background in Hospitality, and I love this industry. During the early years, I could struggle with shyness and interacting with people. I always wanted to earn my own money and was determined to work hard and be independent, and did that in hospitality from the age of thirteen. I discovered I could break through that shyness by developing a unique relationship with the guest. Being “On Stage” with the guest and playing a role was different from everyday life. This gave me immense confidence to develop my skills even further and go study Hospitality & Business. I went to Southern Italy on an exchange program and fell in love with the cultural experience. I believe that this was the beginning of wanting to develop something special. I had personally experienced something and wanted to show others what was possible.
After graduation, I remember applying for a few hospitality positions and not having great experiences through the recruitment process. I didn’t understand why a hospitality company was not providing a positive experience through the recruitment process, as they would every day with their guests. I took a lot from that when developing Yummy Jobs as a company and what made us different and unique. Working for the Disney Company at a young age also inspired me to strive to provide a positive experience from beginning to end.
If I, as an incredibly shy individual, by sheer determination, pushing my “outside the comfort zone” feeling, could achieve such vast development through unique experiences, so could others. The idea for Yummy Jobs was born.
What has been your proudest moment so far?
We have always set out to provide the best guest service, with the best experiences in the best locations, with the best in the business, on our Yummy Jobs International Programs. We want that journey from beginning to program completion to be a great learning experience, a life experience. Through the tough and the amazing, from the daunting to the “I made it” experience. The Rollercoaster effect in every way. Seeing the Yummy participant first nervously embark on the program from application to arrival, to me is fascinating. It’s not easy, and it’s not supposed to be and needs to challenge the individual professionally and personally. Some of our proudest moments truly are the development of our Yummy participants, and there are too many to mention.
What has been your biggest challenge over the years?
I cannot quite believe it is our 21st year of Yummy Jobs. I remember first creating the company and wanted it to be different. Jason Smith Recruitment & Co was just not going to cut it. It wasn’t about me – it had to be about the experience. I made it up – like most things I do. It did not matter if the name sounded silly, (let’s be honest, it does), but it was about creating a brand. I wanted a create a personality for our company that lived up to its name and delivered the experience. It was the biggest challenge.
I remember calling some of our first candidates, and their parents would answer. “Yummy Who?” I also remember entering a room full of hospitality professionals with the biggest names in the business. I wanted to put my hand over my name badge at first. I could see the raised eyebrow during the handshake introduction. What was I doing, and why Yummy? Now what I hear is, “Yummy is coming”. “Ask Yummy, they will help you”. “You’re from Yummy, right?” I am so proud of what we have achieved and glad I trusted my instincts. Yummy is not just a company, it is our Family. Without the Yummy Jobs Team, we would not be where we are today. They love what they do, and that means everything to me.
What is the next big thing in the world of Yummy?
Right now, I would need you to sign an NDA even to share. So many exciting opportunities to come, and we are truly grateful to be part of them. In the last two years, the world has changed so much. I find our Yummy candidate has been dreaming of stepping out (running for the hills), from the online learning world and the “stay at home” restrictions, and they are so ready for the next BIG thing.
The dramatic expansion of the US International programs has excited me greatly. Working with our Yummy Jobs Hospitality Foundation and some of our forward-thinking US Host employers, to create some scholarship & sponsored program opportunities has been amazing. Yummy Jobs has been working with education, industry and government, and I believe we all have an integral role in developing our future leaders of tomorrow.
Where is your favourite state in the USA?
This is the toughest question to answer. At 18 years old, my first US program experience, as well as my first time in the US, was in Florida. This is where I experienced the first real interactions with American culture, as well as working for one of the most respected companies in the world, The Walt Disney Co, so a piece of my heart will always stay there. Since then, I have been so lucky to experience a slice of the breadth and depth of true US culture by visiting our host employers situated in the most breathtaking and unique locations that I would never have even heard of. Each new location I visit seems to become my new favourite place!
Most recently, I fell in love with Asheville, North Carolina. Surrounded by the Blue Ridge Mountains, it is a small town with no chain stores. With no end of independent farm-to-table restaurants and micro-breweries, it feels truly like the trendy part of town, but that trendy part of town happens to be the whole city! We now have our newest office location in Asheville, NC, with the lovely US Yummy Team.
I have always firmly believed in “go and create something special in the places you love”. Mark, our Director of International Programs, is still questioning why we don’t have an office in Vegas. A reasonable question indeed. In all honesty, it is the people you meet along the journey that connects me with that US State. That is why it is a tough question indeed.