Are Restaurants Busy On The 4th Of July?

The Fourth of July is a wonderful day for the 332 million Americans, as this day commemorates the greatest country’s founding. Also known as Independence Day, it honors the United States’ freedom from Britain, celebrating the passage of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. So while Americans celebrate, are restaurants busy on the 4th of July?

Restaurants are busy on the 4th of July if located in summer tourist spots or serve picnic style foods, popular on this holiday. Other restaurants are not busy on July 4th like Chinese eateries. But even busy July 4th restaurants are typically busier on other holidays during the year.

The Fourth of July, or Independence Day, is a public holiday in the United States. It also happens to be when most kids are out of school for summer and people take vacations. All of this impacts the busy-ness of restaurants.

I’ll share below what I learned about eating at restaurants on July 4th and whether or not, you need a reservation!


July 4th Restaurants- Are they busy? Overview

Whether you’re reading Hello, Fourth of July to your kids (available at Amazon), taking a family hike, or relaxing on the back porch this Independence Day, you may or may not include eating out. However, it might still be important to know are restaurants busy on the 4th of July.

July 4th is the ultimate US holiday, occurring in the summer when kids are out of school and people take vacations; it’s also festive with parades and fireworks. As such it happens to be at restaurants in tourist areas, but not so busy where people like to grill at home.

The yearly nationhood celebration motivates individuals to have fun and enjoy themselves and their loved ones. This is also an excellent moment to reflect on how far the country has grown in spirit and in actuality.

Because this day is a public holiday, many individuals do not work. Even for those non-government employees, it’s often a work-free day. For instance, teachers are out of school for summer, and most 9-5 businesses and corporations take the day off.

People with time off often don’t feel like cooking either, so this might increase restaurant busy-ness. So what about restaurants then? Are they all busy on July 4th holiday?

Well, it depends, really.

Some restaurants like those in beach areas or around summer parks can get really busy all summer, but even more so on holidays like Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. So if you plan to spend July 4th at Disney World in Orlando for example, or on a South Carolina beach, you’re apt to find the restaurants there quite brisk in business!

There are some restaurants more popular than others on July 4th/Independence Day.

Even fancier style restaurants will sometimes be busy on the 4th of July if they’re in a town with lots of activities and have a party atmosphere. So again, location plays a key role if restaurants, even non-picnic style ones like seafood restaurants or steakhouse, are busy on the 4th of July!

Also, restaurants that serve summer-fare food seem to enjoy a surge on July 4th, even if they aren’t in a vacation spot. This is because people crave a certain type of food on the 4th of July.

Fast food joints like KFC are popular for Independence Day because people like to eat fried chicken in buckets and cole slaw on their July 4th picnic, whereas McD’s is not likely to be any busier on July 4th than any other day of the year (maybe even less so!) because it’s food is not ‘July 4th holiday fare’.

Likewise sit-down spots like Famous Dave’s BBQ and Smokey Bones tend to be extra busy too on July 4th. These sit-down restaurants are busy on the 4th of July since BBQ pork and baked beans are typical summer holiday food, too, While sit-down spots like Applebee’s aren’t going to be much different than their other days of the year, unless they happen to be located at Myrtle Beach!

Keep in mind that restaurants serving Chinese food or Mexican might not notice a spike on the 4th no matter where they are located. Though these foods are very well-liked in the US by just about everyone, they aren’t common ‘Independence Day’ picnic cuisine nor are they typical summer foods to eat.

So because most people are off on the 4th of July, and many tend to travel for holiday fun, you will undoubtedly see an upsurge in visitors to restaurants and other eateries in these travel spots, but also at restaurants serving summer foods. After all one of the most favorite ways for Americans to celebrate anything is with good food!

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TIP: The easiest way to beat the crowds on July 4th is to make your plans early in the day. Early planning will allow you to have your meal available when you decide to order or enjoy a great and convenient time in a restaurant before it becomes overcrowded. And, some restaurants that don’t typically take reservations will do so on July 4th, anticipating crowds. So keep all of this in mind, if you find yourself making plans to eat out at either picnic style eateries or a place in a tourist spot next Independence Day!

Do Restaurants Close on the 4th of July?

Many people are not going to work on July 4th as explained before because it is a public holiday. It’s also a big vacation time, since kids are out of school and the weather is nice for beach and mountain trips.

July 4th is a busy day for restaurants in summer tourist towns and those that cater summer food. As such, it’s unlikely for them to close on July 4th. Likewise, less busy restaurants won’t usually close either despite decreased sales because it’s not a religious holiday.

Busy restaurants will focus on serving customers and maximizing profits on days with high volume. Often these summer spots rely on big holiday sales to cover less busy times in off season, so they might actually extend hours on July 4th.

But even less busy restaurants likely won’t close on July 4th. Most eateries remain open on July 4th the whole day. It’s possible less busy eateries will cut back on staff, knowing they won’t need as many workers. For instance, Chinese restaurants aren’t usually as busy on the 4th of July, so they won’t need as many people to work.

Many people chose to grill out and have cookouts rather than go to restaurants on July 4th.

Still, it’s highly unlikely for any restaurant to close down the whole day.

Why aren’t restaurants busy on July 4th Holiday?

  1. Many people tend to stay home on the 4th and have ‘get togethers’ on purpose. For these, they will plan ahead a menu and shop at grocery stores to grill out and cook hot dogs, hamburgers, and other such things that they pick up from the grocery stores.
  2. Also people like to hike, boat and swim, or have picnics on July 4th. These people prefer to pack bag lunches of sandwiches and easy snack or grab chips or granola bars from gas stations instead of going to restaurants.
  3. Then there are the people who attend fireworks displays who might just eat at home first, then go for ice cream. Restaurants don’t benefit from this.
  4. Last, people go to sporting events like baseball games. Sure they might buy a hot dog or pretzel from the ballgame stands, but that’s more of ‘concession food’ and not restaurant venue.

Regardless, some eateries may close on July 4th, depending on which day the date falls on. If the restaurant has a Sunday closure tradition and the July 4th falls on a Sunday, it will be closed. For example, Chick-Fil-A is always closed on a Sunday, so if Independence Day falls on a Sunday, you won’t be able to have their delicious Chick-Fil-A nuggets and waffle fries!

As well, some neighborhood restaurants that don’t get a lot of business normally might choose to close on July 4th knowing it will be even slower for them- it’s a business economic decision.

Or some ‘mom and pop’ shops might elect to close of the 4th of July simply because they prefer to spend that holiday time with their family. It’s just more important to them and as small business owners they can make those kinds of personal decisions. These are outliers, though.

Busy Holidays for Restaurants

  1. Mother’s day- Mother’s day is extremely busy at restaurants; most restaurants require reservations or ‘a wait’ in fact because it’s so busy on this day to honor our moms. One obvious reason is that in most homes, mothers prepare and cook the meals but on Mother’s day we want to give them the time off.
  2. Father’s day- Father’s day is also a busy time for restaurants. This is often because family’s want to celebrate dads with big steak or bbq dinners so going out to eat is a good way to do that.
  3. Valentine’s day- This is one of the busiest day for restaurants, too. This is because dining out is the most common Valentine’s Day ‘present’. Many couples, and even families, celebrate love with a delicious meal.
  4. Super bowl Sunday- Shockingly Super Bowl Sunday is a busy restaurant day. However, it’s atypical in that it’s more about fast food and food takeout or delivery. Pizza is one of the biggest dishes on Super Bowl Sunday and it’s a frequently delivered food.

Least Busy Holidays for Restaurants

  1. Thanksgiving- It may or may not be surprising to learn that the biggest ‘food’ holiday of the year is likely the least popular time to eat at restaurants! Thanksgiving Day is not so popular for restaurants so most restaurants decide to close for the day. Most people want family time on this day and family style food too.
  2. Christmas-The next day that is least popular for eating out in the US is Christmas Day. Again, this is a big family focused holiday and even in our commercialized society, most businesses and stores are closed. There are a few places open and those might garner some brisk business simply because they are the only options (think: Chinese restaurants). Still, it’s not usually worth for most people to work on Christmas, or ask others to work by going to restaurants! (However, it’s a big movie going day at the theater which seems contradictory in some respects!)

Wrapping Up Are Restaurants Busy on July 4th?

To wrap it up, restaurants can be busy on July 4th, that is if they are located in busy tourist spots or if they serve very ‘July 4th’ popular foods like BBQ or fried chicken.

To be certain, check out your local areas and talk to the staff the next time you are there around this holiday. This way you’ll know for sure if you need to book your reservation in advance-if you plan to eat out on the 4th of July!

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