Labor Day weekend is a chance for people to unwind with friends and family, enjoy great food and drinks, and celebrate the waning days of summer. It’s also an opportunity for restaurants to maximize sales. Whether it’s catering and meal kits or on-premises events, restaurants can offer new and exciting promotions to their customers. Here are eight creative ideas to inspire restaurants for this upcoming Labor Day weekend:
1. Picnic Baskets
Take the labor out of Labor Day for your guests by preparing a picnic kit they can pick up at your restaurant. Give yourself extra time to market this Labor Day promotion so customers can place orders before the September holiday.
Choose dishes that can be served family-style and conveniently packaged in takeout containers. For example, your restaurant’s Labor Day picnic menu could include a rotisserie chicken with sides or hot dogs and hamburgers with coleslaw.
Source a couple of nice-looking or cool baskets that can be reused. Then build a few different sizes (lunch for 2, lunch for 4, lunch for 8) and load it with cold versions of your greatest hits.
2. Grill Kits
Everyone knows Dad loves to own the grill in the backyard. Get on that bandwagon and create a kit with marinade, meat, directions, and sides to help Dad look amazing (and to protect him from blowing his chance at family fame by making it easy to master the meat). Include an excellent, high-quality apron he’d be thrilled to throw over his cargo shorts. Take advantage of the opportunity to cater to grill lovers this holiday, especially if you’re a steak house or a BBQ joint.
3. Labor Day Drink Specials
Labor Day is the unofficial end of summer. Mark the occasion with festive, summery cocktails as a last hurrah before fall begins.
Need inspiration for your Labor Day cocktail menu? Cocktails made with tropical juices, and fruity garnishes taste like summer in a glass. You can’t go wrong with classic tiki drinks! Just make sure your bar is stocked for the big day – especially if you’re heavily marketing your drink specials.
4. Host a Cookout
Embrace good weather by hosting a cookout on Labor Day. If your restaurant doesn’t have outdoor space, contact a nearby park or partner with a local business that does and do a joint Labor Day party. This idea is perfect for diners who are traveling for Labor Day and want the feeling of an at-home barbecue!
5. Live Music
You can make music part of your Labor Day promotion in other ways as well. For example, you could invite a jazz band or pianist to accompany your brunch or dinner service.
If you plan on offering live music, encourage customers to make reservations so that you can know how many guests you’ll need to accommodate.
6. Labor Day All Weekend Long
Just because Labor Day falls on a Monday doesn’t mean that your restaurant can’t start celebrating a few days early. If you’re offering holiday menu items, why not serve them starting on Saturday? If you’ve already worked hard to prepare for the holiday, you should make it last!
7. BOGO Deals
Create a buy-one-get-one deal to get people in your seats on Labor Day. Labor Day is a family holiday, after all, so why not offer an enticing deal like a free kid’s meal with the purchase of an entree?
Don’t usually offer a kid's menu? Labor Day is a perfect excuse to create one. Build a kid’s menu by serving your most popular and kid-friendly dishes (chicken fingers, pizza, mac, and cheese) in smaller portions.
It’s not every day that Monday is part of the weekend! And what’s everyone’s favorite weekend meal? Brunch.
Extend your brunch menu into Labor Day Monday, or if you don’t have a brunch menu, create one! You can reuse this brunch menu for other holidays or make it a regular part of your weekend service.
Labor Day can be a lucrative business opportunity for restaurants that decide to stay open. Attract crowds with a creative Labor Day restaurant special like brunch, an al fresco meal, or a BOGO discount. When you align your menu, staff, equipment, and marketing efforts around your Labor Day restaurant specials, you’ll create an experience that customers will return to year after year.