Perth restaurants say they face a choice between losing money or closing this Easter weekend because of holiday pay rates that mean a casual worker washing dishes or clearing tables can earn about $45 an hour.
Restaurateurs said the cost of staff, particularly for high-end dining, made even breaking even on a public holiday difficult.
Businesses in the CBD that choose not to open on public holidays lose their biggest night of the week two weeks in a row for the Good Friday and Anzac Day public holidays.
Butterworth Bar and Kitchen owner Keith Ashley will close his restaurant, which usually opens on Fridays and Saturdays, for the four-day long weekend.
He said it was almost impossible to make a profit on a public holiday when a level one hospitality worker, who might be clearing tables, must be paid close to $45 an hour.
"Even if we wanted to do breakfast or anything like that, it's virtually impossible," he said. "Imagine how many bacon and egg sandwiches you have to sell to cover just one of your staff for one hour.
"If we don't open our customers go somewhere else and we may not get them back. But if we do open, we open at a loss so what do you do?"
Scott Taylor said he would open his Mt Lawley restaurant Beaufort Street Merchant tomorrow to keep customers happy rather than make a profit. His inner-city venue The Trustee will open on Saturday but close for the rest of the weekend. "It's not a rational or economic decision to stay open," he said. "You can't make money on public holidays."
Restaurants, pubs and hotels are allowed to open on Good Friday between midday and 10pm so long as alcohol is accompanied by a meal. Normal Sunday trading rules apply on Easter Sunday.
Australian Hotels Association of WA chief executive Bradley Woods said changes brought in by the Rudd government had exacerbated wage pressures on the sector.