Bars and restaurants across the UK and Ireland were today warned not to let the temporary talent they employed over the festive period slip through the net as they look to avoid staff shortages in 2024.

The warning from ResDiary comes as venues endure one of the quietest periods of the year, with two-thirds of restaurants that took part in the company’s Beyond the Booking – Festive Season Success Unwrapped report last summer saying they are quieter than usual in January.

That, says ResDiary CEO Colin Winning, means it is the ideal time to train staff and help show those who were employed over the festive period how they can thrive in the industry.

He said: “Research has shown that more than half of Gen Z workers don’t see themselves staying in our industry for more than four years. That’s something that has to change, and the festive period is the ideal opportunity to do that.

“If temporary workers have been able to cope with the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year, they can cope with anything the industry has to throw at them.

“That’s why I’d argue it would be better for any business to keep hold of staff who succeed during the festive season and maintain that core team throughout the year, especially when competition for staff is as competitive as it is.

“From experience, I know many venues would have staff on their books over the festive season who are students that would pack up and leave after Christmas. And while the quieter period will mean there is less of a requirement for more staff, it is a good opportunity to identify those with something to offer long-term.

“Given we have a major problem in the industry when it comes to retaining talent, the experience these people gain during the busiest time of the year should be embraced, enhanced and rewarded.”

Previous research from the Glasgow-headquartered company, whose system is used by more than 10,000 venues across the world, found venues recorded a marked increase in revenue throughout the festive season, with the figures even higher for restaurants that began their planning before the summer is out.

Colin added that planning mentality is something that should be at the forefront of restaurateurs’ minds throughout the year.

“Any successful venue will tell you that planning is key, regardless of whether it’s for occasions such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day or the festive season,” he said.

“While most are good at ensuring that happens in terms of creating menus, ensuring they have enough stock, and getting promotions up and running, many can improve what they do when it comes to staffing.

“We know not everyone who takes on a temporary role will be cut out for a long-term career in our industry, but there will be a few nuggets of gold whose enthusiasm and talent can – and should – be encouraged, and this is the ideal time to set them up for success.”

ResDiary’s Beyond the Booking: Festive Season Success Unwrapped report found early planning also proved advantageous when recruiting seasonal staff, with statistics showing more than half of restaurants (57%) increasing their workforce to manage the festive season surge.