Operators’ hiring expectations are almost at pre-recession levels.
According to the People Report Workforce Index, 42% of respondents to a survey of restaurant operators said they expect to add hourly workers in the third quarter while a mere 5% plan to cut labor. None of the respondents plan to fire managers while almost 50% plan to hire at the management level. According to an article published by National Restaurant News, approximately 50 restaurant companies from quick service, fast casual, casual dining, and fine dining, responded to the survey. From the results of the survey, it seems that quick service and fast casual are poised to do more of the hiring. Hiring accelerated in the first half of 2010 with restaurants hiring 64,000 employees during the period.
Despite the slew of negative economic data emerging of late and the reported slowdown in casual dining trends as reported by Malcolm Knapp, reflected in the recent downturn in stock prices, it seems that restaurant operators are seeing a need for larger labor forces in their restaurants. This could be a leading indicator for an uptick in demand. The possible pitfall of this thesis is that the People Report Workforce Index could be at “peak” levels, given business’ tendency to sometimes “hire at the top and fire at the bottom”.