The holidays are here! It’s a busy time of year for most people, involving traveling, visiting family, cooking dinners, shopping for gifts, hanging decorations, etc. And this stuff isn’t cheap. Whether you braved the crowds on Black Friday or not, shopping for presents for everyone on your list adds up quickly. Not to mention the cost of gas to drive to Grandma’s house or buying those last-minute flights home.
Hey, I’m no Grinch. I’m not trying to bum you out about the holiday season. But it’s pretty safe to say that everybody could use some extra cash during these early winter months. Not all of us have jobs that offer holiday bonuses, and there are still quite a few Americans out there without a job.
I want to discuss seasonal employment as a means of extra income, but don’t go thinking of retail hell just yet. Not all holiday work has to involve dealing with aggressive shoppers or sorting through never-ending warehouse merchandise.
As it turns out, restaurants are super busy during the holidays, too. The food service industry isn’t what you usually think of when you think about seasonal work, and that’s because most people assume that everybody is eating family dinners at home on holidays. But that’s not entirely true. Here’s why:
- For one, there is more to “the holidays” than Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. There are a whole bunch of days in between, and they are busy. People spend that time all over town shopping for gifts, and when people are out and about, they tend to eat out. Nobody wants to go home and cook after shopping ’til they drop.
- Some folks actually do go out to eat on holidays! Instead of buying groceries and slaving over the stove all morning, some people choose to pay someone to do the work for them. While a homecooked meal might be a necessity in your home, it turns out that going out to eat for a holiday dinner is becoming more and more common. In fact, about 10% of us eat Thanksgiving dinner in a restaurant!
- Holiday parties and get-togethers are very popular this time of year, whether it’s an office party or a group of friends reuniting to exchange gifts before they leave to visit family. Sometimes family members arriving from far away will need to eat while on the road, and will seek an easy dinner solution when they reach their destination. The National Restaurant Association found that 78% of people prefer to spend their free time with friends and family in a restaurant than in a kitchen. Therefore, most of the time, holiday parties and gatherings take place in a restaurant or bar, or have food catered from a favorite eatery.
- ‘Tis the season for indulgence. After a while, spending all that money on gifts for other people causes shoppers to feel a little more extravagant when it comes to themselves. And when you’re spending right and left, people reason that one dinner out won’t hurt. After doing all of these good holiday deeds, giftgivers feel like they need a little reward, like a nice meal.
- Restaurants can be a good back-up plan. Say your turkey caught on fire in the oven. Instead of subjecting everybody to a charred bird, you decide to order some pepperoni pizzas as a last resort. Crazy things can happen during the holidays, and even if people don’t frequent restaurants on those important days, it’s nice to know that they have your back.
- Craving the mashed potatoes from KFC? Or how about the cheddar biscuits from Red Lobster? Maybe a ham from Boston Market, or even some after-dinner hot chocolate from Starbucks? Some consumers are finding that restaurants can help take care of the burden of cooking a huge meal. Purchasing restaurant side dishes is a huge time saver. Or if they are really pressed for time, some are even buying take-out for their entire holiday meal. Many restaurants cater to this idea and have great holiday menu options, and even holiday meal packages. Sound crazy? Well, it’s way more common than you might think: Over half of us use at least some restaurant takeout for our Thanksgiving meals.
The National Restaurant Association estimated that 14 million Americans ate their Thanksgiving dinner at a restaurant last week. They also found that about 16 million Americans ordered some take-out as part of their Thanksgiving meal.
So it’s easy to see why restaurants are bustling during the holidays. And as you might imagine, they tend to need some extra help. Current restaurant employees are also busy, occasionally getting sick during this cold and flu season, leaving to visit family and taking time off. A lot of restaurants need seasonal employees to assist with the holiday rush and to relieve some of the burden on their current staff.
If you need an extra job fast, the food service industry rocks because it is so fast-paced, and you will likely get hired quickly so you’re available during this peak season. And nothing beats having cash in time for Christmas. If you work for tips, you’ll take cash home at the end of every shift. You won’t have to wait for a paycheck and worry about not getting paid until after Christmas. Taking money home every day will allow you more freedom in your holiday spending.
While a seasonal job might only be a means to make extra cash, you might consider sticking around after the holidays. I recommend treating the job as if it were a permanent thing. You don’t want to act as if it’s a temporary gig, or that will show to your customers, co-workers and your managers. If you work hard and express enthusiasm for your job, you might just be offered a more permanent position.
But if that doesn’t happen, don’t fret. Let your employer know that you would be happy to return if they ever need help during another peak season. Restaurants tend to be busiest during both the summer and the winter holidays, so you could gain guaranteed repeated employment for those parts of the year. If you keep up the good work, you’ll be a shoe-in if a permanent position opens up.
And if you aren’t interested in staying, that’s not an excuse to be forgettable. Make sure you act like you’re part of the team, because you might be looking for seasonal work again next year and those connections could really come in handy. The NRA found that about 20% of all seasonal employees return to their seasonal jobs at some point.
So get out there and make some extra holiday cash! Don’t let yourself go broke just in time for the new year. Check out WyckWyre.com to find the perfect food service position to finance those holiday festivities.