The first job for nearly three out of 10 Americans is in food service. About half the nation's population is working or has worked in the restaurant business. Inspired by figures like that, Sacramento restaurateur Randy Paragary and two partners concluded it's time for all these people to form an electronic community.
They're doing it with The Bite Club, a Web site modeled on immensely popular YouTube, but targeted at people who work in or are interested in the food trade. "It's a social network for the restaurant business," says Paragary. "It's a way for people to express themselves, to network, to job search."
At The Bite Club, where anyone can join at no cost, members can post photos, videos, blogs and resumes, join chats concerning industry issues, recommend restaurants, search for jobs and the like. Paragary himself posted an early essay in which he suggests that his Paragary's Bar and Oven, which he opened in 1983, is the oldest restaurant in the state with a wood-fired pizza oven other than Tomasso's in San Francisco and Chez Panisse in Berkeley.
The Web site still is being tested and tweaked, with Paragary hoping it will be ready to launch officially Friday. His partners in the venture, which they figure will draw an international audience, are Sacramento native Sonny Mayugba, marketing director for Paragary Restaurant Group, and Mark Braden of Corona del Mar, a computer specialist. Mayugba's uncle David, incidentally, was the original chef at Paragary's very first restaurant, The Arbor, which he opened in 1974.