For pasty-faced office workers, Labor Day means an officially sanctioned reprieve from the daily grind, but not so much for restaurant workers. Should restaurant owners and staff also have the day off? Does closing on Labor Day always mean that you have to sacrifice the bottom line for your staff goodwill?
Read on to see what is driving four restaurant owners from Washington, D.C., Arizona, New York, and Florida to stay open for Labor Day or close their doors.
Open on Labor Day
In Washington, D.C., you can expect to find sister Italian restaurants Al Tiramisu and Aperto open on Labor Day. Chef Luigi Diotaiuti closely associates Labor Day to the Italian holiday Ferragosto, which is celebrated on Aug. 15. He says they are both days to spend enjoying the fruits of our labor – and what better way than with fantastic food? He isn’t alone in believing that; his staff at both restaurants are also on board.
“My teams at Al Tiramisu and Aperto in Washington, D.C., are happy to share our passion with our patrons on all holidays,” Diotaiuti says. “We also enjoy engaging newcomers who are visiting the city as tourists. We treat each other as family, and we like to treat our guests with the same level of hospitality.”
Adopting a similar mindset, Fox Restaurant Concepts, a restaurant group from Phoenix, Arizona, with 15 concepts and more than 50 locations, views Labor Day as an opportunity to give their guests a treat. On Sept. 4, guests who are a part of the eBites club, their loyalty program, receive 25 percent off their whole bill.
However, just because they’re open on Labor Day doesn’t mean that Fox Restaurant Concepts doesn’t reward employee loyalty. The day after Labor Day, Fox celebrates Employee Appreciation Day to thank their employees, allowing them to dine with up to three friends and receive 50 percent off their entire meal.
Closed on Labor Day
Luciana Torous, owner of the Auburn, New York-based 3 Leaf Tea closes on Labor Day. Her previous employers had always closed up shop, so she wanted to extend the same gesture to her own staff.
“I think it helps keep staff happy and not feeling like they are overworked,” Torous says, adding that she recommends other restaurant owners follow her lead. “Labor Day is a national holiday, so it’s nice having a day off with others.”
Matt Mannick, president of Jacksonville, Florida-based Forking Amazing Restaurant Group, echoes Torous’ sentiments about giving staff the day off.
“We close our restaurants for Labor Day because we feel it’s important for our team to enjoy this holiday with friends and family,” Mannick says. “It’s important to Forking Amazing Restaurants that we provide the best possible quality of life for all of our team members, and giving the holiday off is just one way we do that.”