3 Last-Minute Labor Day Restaurant Promotions


Labor Day is coming up and the extended weekend holiday is a reason for people to celebrate. Although the holiday marks the unofficial end of summer and starts back-to-school season, people are making plans to spend a long weekend away from work. Have you thought about how you’ll draw crowds to your restaurant? If not, we’ve cooked up 3 last minute restaurant promotions you can use this Labor Day.

A Brief History

So, why do we celebrate Labor Day in the first place? The holiday was created to honor American workers and their contributions to society. It became an official holiday way back in 1894 and always falls on the first Monday in September.

When Labor Day was first observed, the landscape of America’s labor force was dismal, to say the least. People worked long hours in unregulated factories and unsafe working conditions. Labor unions became prominent during this time in an attempt to provide a better way of life for workers. With the government and workforce at odds, many riots and strikes ensued. As a result, Congress attempted to make amends with the labor force by making Labor Day a legal holiday. Today, it’s still celebrated with barbecues, parades, and other public gatherings.

Three Labor Day Restaurant Promotions

Honor the American Worker

This seems like a no-brainer since the country’s workforce is what the holiday is all about. But, you can put your own twist on what Labor Day means to your restaurant by offering some history, and some deals, to guests. Provide quick fact sheets on tables and bar settings so people can learn all about the history of the holiday. You can even host a trivia event that covers the history of the American workforce over the years.

Offer discounts or a free item to diners who flash you a work or government ID. Giving customers a special deal shows that you appreciate the hard work they do all year!

Try out a “have a drink on us” special where people with proof of their work status receive a select drink on the house. It’s a great way to let customers sit back, relax, and enjoy the holiday celebration.

If you want to get really creative, you can base the discount on how many years someone has been on the job. If a healthcare physician has been in practice for 20 years, they’ll enjoy 20% off their meal, if a librarian has been serving a school for 35 years, they receive 35% off, and so on. This is a fun way to get to know your customers, discuss their work history, and offer a token of your appreciation.

Similarly, if you want to have guests participate in a raffle instead, ask them to write down their name and email for a chance to win a prize. You can collect email addresses for future marketing efforts and they’ll try their luck at being the winner.

Host One Last Summer Hoorah

Although many of us are sad that summer is coming to a close, there’s no reason we can’t enjoy what’s left of it. If you’re still offering an exclusive summer menu, you can slash prices on the warm weather items for the entirety of Labor Day weekend.

Host a happy hour with even deeper discounts on your summer drink selections. Throw a tapas and cocktail party with discounted drinks and food just for the weekend.

You can even have a “beat the clock” event where prices on select food and drinks start off at an insanely low cost and increase at the beginning of every hour. Racing against time will be fun for guests and inspire them to get early and stay a while!

Looking to let summer linger longer? Inspire customers to keep the summer vibe alive by choosing a theme, like a luau or backyard barbecue, to keep spirits lifted.

Usher in Fall Festivities

For those of you who are already looking forward to sweater weather and pumpkin-flavored everything, this is an opportunity to introduce autumn before it’s official (that’s not until September 22nd). Kick off the fall right by having a Hello Autumn bash. Unveil your new seasonal menu, offer tastings, and discount some items to give customers an idea of what they can expect at your restaurant this autumn.

Hand out coupons that can be used at a later date during the fall and that expire when winter takes over (September 22nd-December 21st). This will get people excited to return to your restaurant at another time and provides a sense of urgency because of the expiration date.

During the duration of Labor Day weekend (Friday through Sunday) ask customers to sign up for your mailing list to keep up with your fall events, specials, and deals. If they subscribe, they get a free appetizer or drink on the week of Labor Day. Win-win!

Labor Day was created to honor America’s workforce and our contributions to upholding society. Give back to the hardworking individuals in your community by offering exclusive holiday incentives, either just on Labor Day, or all weekend long! Your customers will appreciate the deals and special events and you’ll enjoy a large crowd of hungry diners. For more restaurant marketing ideas, check out the rest of our blog!

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