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Holiday hires expected to cost restaurants 33% more this year

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Restaurants will need to pay an average of 33% more for temporary help this holiday season if they want to stay competitive during the tightest fourth quarter labor market in two decades, according to a new study.

Concern about landing enough part-time help will also likely prompt holiday recruiting to begin earlier than usual, says the report, which was produced by Wakefield Research for Snag, a service that matches restaurant job candidates with open positions. Almost nine out of 10 employers of hourly workers (86%) expect to struggle with finding enough temporary workers during the year-end holiday season.

The number of companies that have already started lining up help for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Hanukkah has already doubled from the 2017 tally, the researchers found. 

The driving factor is the increase in demand, according to the study, “The 2018 Annual Holiday Hiring Survey.” The percentage of employers who expect to need extra help this holiday season has jumped from 77% in 2017 to 84% this year, according to the study.

The research found that the restaurant employees most in demand will be dishwashers, servers and cashiers.

If there was any good news unearthed by the survey, it was the finding that restaurant employers are likely to see a more moderate rise in hourly wages than will their counterparts in retailing and lodging. Employers in the latter areas are facing upswings of 54% and 51%, respectively. 

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