ShiftPixy has been working toward a hybrid native-gig delivery model for some time now, but a big new partnership gets the staffing platform one step closer.

The company’s overall aim is to bring efficiency to the part-time labor market by taking over the overhead of insurance. As CEO Scott Absher explains, that’s especially helpful when it comes to delivery.

“The underlying strategy is we own the human capital; the operator terminates the employees we hire them and lease them back. That allows them to redispatch and redeploy people so we can turn someone into a driver for that location,” said Absher. “Then we have a master, non-owned auto policy, it’s really a passthrough of $5 to the consumer so the restaurant doesn’t even have to pick up the premium.”

He said the company also handles the online order capturing, routing and pinging the right driver in the system and connecting with the end customer via text.

So far, there have only been tests, but a new partnership with the Washington Hospitality Association could push the concept into prime time. The Washington group is a little more engrained in member companies than similar state organizations. For one, members buy into a broad insurance network within the association.

“Members let the association carve out their own captive. They grew that rapidly to 300,000 lives. That represents about 18 percent of the state restaurant market,” said Absher. “It’s not just a casual association, it’s a very active engagement when you’re handling all the workers comp.”

That deep connection, he said, will help ShiftPixy approach two key problems in delivery: one, operators can’t find good people to drive—a ubiquitous issue that continues—and two, the margin hit from the third-party networks. It’s the same sharing model that underlies the company’s restaurant gig work where operators share employees across locations or across branded restaurants.

Most partners start with the insurance and human capital aspect of ShiftPixy, but from there he said it’s easy to dip into the more novel offerings.

“Because the association is in the daily conversation with their members, we think it will be a quick push forward,” said Absher. “I think this will be our biggest use case yet, obviously population density is a big driver, so in Seattle, Tacoma or Spokane you’re going to see a real interest in the sharing side of the platform.”

Anthony Anton, the president and CEO of the association said the partnership offers more arrows in the proverbial quiver for members.

“An important focus of ours is to keep our restaurant and hospitality operators agile and equipped with the latest tools to succeed. We found the ShiftPixy platform to be exactly what we were seeking, especially during times such as these, when the ability to adapt to new market realities is of the utmost importance. We’re excited to join forces with the ShiftPixy team and eagerly look forward to introducing the ShiftPixy ecosystem to our restaurant and hospitality operators and the thousands they employ across Washington State,” said Anton in a statement.

Absher said the company has seen a big uptick in requests for demos around the native delivery program as COVID-19 accelerates the switch to more efficient forms of delivery as the proportion of sales going out the door remains historically high.