Hard Rock International Spending $100M to Better Compensate Non-Tipped US Workers

Posted on: September 13, 2022, 09:34h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2022, 06:02h.

Hard Rock International, the owner and operator of its namesake restaurants, casinos, and resorts, is upping its employee overhead by $100 million for its US workforce.

Jim Allen Hard Rock casino job minimum wage
Hard Rock International Chairman and CEO Jim Allen announced this week that the company’s hourly non-tipped US workers are receiving substantial pay raises. The casino operator is setting aside $100 million to better compensate its hourly employees. (Image: AP)

To help workers offset some of the rising costs of everyday life, Hard Rock announced Monday that it will raise US wages for approximately 10K non-tipped workers. The pay increase is most beneficial to lower-level staffers.

With Hard Rock’s change, starting hourly salaries for all workers in the US will begin at $18 an hour, with a $21 per hour minimum wage in markets where the cost of living is significantly higher than the national average.

While the pay raises apply mostly to hourly non-tipped workers, Hard Rock says some salaried team members will also improve their compensation.

We looked at all the starting salaries of all our frontline employees, certainly recognizing the economic conditions that have been going on. We just wanted to do something to really help out and show appreciation to our employees,” explained Jim Allen, chairman and CEO of Hard Rock International.

“We’re trying to find the highest quality employees, thanking them for their efforts, and recognizing that with compensation,” Allen added.

The Seminole Tribe of Florida owns Hard Rock. Hard Rock has 265 locations in 70 countries.

Inflation Increments

The Federal Reserve is desperately trying to curb skyrocketing inflation by increasing interest rates. The consensus among economists is that the government’s central bank will soon raise rates again by 75 basis points.

Though previous interest hikes seemingly helped stall month-over-month inflation increases — the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting a flat reading in July compared to June — higher borrowing costs didn’t slow consumers in August.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) revealed today that “all items indexed” increased by 8.3% year-over-year in August 2022. The index monitors the prices of all goods and services purchased for consumption by urban households. The government calculates its index based on 75 urban areas throughout the country, targeting 23K retail and service establishments. Rent data is collected from more than 50K landlords and tenants.

Hard Rock’s new $18 an hour minimum start is 2.5 times higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. It also exceeds every state minimum wage where Hard Rock operates.

Substantial Benefit

In New Jersey, where Hard Rock Atlantic City employs more than 3,700 people, the state minimum wage is $13 an hour — one of the highest in the nation. New Jersey’s minimum wage is linked to the CPI and increases along with the inflation rate.

With the CPI continuing to climb, New Jersey’s minimum wage could be north of $14 an hour next year. The New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development will announce the final rate on or before Sept. 30.

But even if New Jersey’s minimum wage workers see their pay elevated to $14 an hour, casino workers at Hard Rock will make at least $4 more an hour. On a 40-hour work schedule, that equates to a difference of around $8,320 a year.

Allen believes that will help Hard Rock retain its team members and reduce turnover.