Labor Day weekend is summer’s last hurrah before the fall season arrives. For the bar and restaurant industry, it’s the anticipated “hard start” of the busy season. For the on-premise, it marks the shift toward seasonal products and new menus. For the off-premise, it’s the first of many high-volume weekends to come as the holiday months approach.
For both business types, it’s essential to capitalize on the increase in foot traffic over the holiday weekend. To do so, operators must lean into their marketing channels to build awareness of any holiday-related specials or events going on. As always, creativity is vital in a highly competitive environment to ensure your business stands out from the rest. Let’s look at 10 bar promotion ideas to drive Labor Day weekend sales.
1. Promote Labor Day Happy Hour Specials
Guests celebrating the long weekend will be on the lookout for exciting happy hour specials to indulge in. Offer discounted drinks during specific hours, featuring themed cocktails and mocktails to celebrate the holiday spirit. Do you specialize in a particular spirit family such as agave? Consider a happy hour discount on select top-shelf tequila and mezcal to entice guests who are looking to try new products at price points they can’t pass up. Provi’s pricing calculator will help bar managers price items in the sweet spot that still drives a profit.
2. Curate and Showcase a Select Line of Offerings
Labor Day weekend specials aren’t just for the on-premise; off-premise retail stores can capitalize on the holiday weekend as well. Work with supplier and distributor partners to curate a selection of products to promote in the store. To maximize impact, be sure it’s in a heavily trafficked area that’s easily accessible. Be sure to offer an array of products at different price points to ensure there’s something for everyone.
3. Offer Craft Beer Tasting Flights
Do you run a brewery or brewpub with a great selection? Curate a few of your favorite beers and offer tasting flights that allow patrons to sample a variety of flavors while enjoying outdoor seating or live music. Be sure to promote it as a Labor Day weekend special and consider discounting the price to entice more visitors. The more exclusive the offering is, the more likely guests will want to take part.
4. Spotlight Cocktails with a Limited-Edition Menu
Use the long weekend to test out new cocktails you’ve been working on. Host an event and promote a limited-edition cocktail menu for the holiday weekend only. It will create an exclusive yet fun atmosphere for families and friends to enjoy together.
Time to change your menus? Download Provi’s guide to building a better cocktail menu to learn tips and best practices.
5. Sell DIY Cocktail Kits
Many of your guests will elect to spend the holiday at home with friends and family. One way to continue to engage with your fans is to bring the cocktail experience to them. Sell cocktail kits containing pre-measured ingredients and instructions for customers to recreate your bar's popular drinks at home. It provides a unique and fun experience. If cocktail kits are too much of a lift to do ahead of time, consider pre-batching cocktails to go. Negronis, Martinis and Old Fashioneds make perfect ready-to-serve cocktails.
6. Sell Tickets to a Cocktail Workshop
Your most ardent followers are looking for ways to experience your offerings. Why not give them an active experience they can bring their friends and family to? Organize a cocktail workshop where customers can learn the craft of mixing cocktails under the guidance of your expert bartenders. Tickets can be sold for off-hours when the bar is closed, which creates an entirely new stream of revenue with little overhead.
7. Throw a Charity Fundraiser
Throwing an event doesn’t have to always be about boosting your bottom line. Dedicate a portion of the weekend’s profits to a local charity or cause, encouraging customers to enjoy themselves while contributing to the community. This is a surefire way to bring out guests who are looking for any opportunity to have a good time while contributing to their community.
8. Celebrate with Live Music Outdoors
For most around the country, Labor Day weekend will likely be a hot one. If your space allows for it, consider hosting a day-long live music event with multiple bands or artists from the area, attracting music lovers and creating a vibrant ambiance. Team up with other like-minded businesses to sell their offerings to create even more buzz. Are you located on a street with other bars? Get in touch with the city to see how you can block off the street to car traffic and throw a block party to see the season off together.
9. Host Labor Day Trivia Night
Cold, strong drinks and trivia are a perfect combination. Organize a trivia night and offer discounts on drinks for participants or winning teams. Who doesn’t like putting their random knowledge of people, places and things to the test?
10. Spread The Word Across Your Marketing Channels
Be sure to get the word out about your Labor Day weekend specials. After all, what’s the point of going through the trouble of being creative and offering a unique experience for it to be lost in the ether? Tailor these promotions to your bar's unique brand and atmosphere, and use effective marketing strategies to maximize their impact. Rely on dedicated channels, especially social media and email, to reach your most loyal followers to ensure your Labor Day weekend efforts are rewarding, and most importantly, profitable.