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Taking their name from the old adage, “The early bird catches the worm,” early bird discounts traditionally refer to reduced prices offered to customers who purchase a product or service in advance of the normal business cycle.

Early bird discounts may have first gained popularity when south Florida restaurants offered reduced dinner prices for diners who were seated and had placed their dinner orders before the normal start of the dinner hour. One of the most famous restaurants to offer early bird specials, as they were originally known, was Wolfie’s Rascal House—a New York–style delicatessen that operated from 1954 to 2008 in Miami. Between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. diners could order the restaurant’s famously large sandwiches and other entrees at a significant ...

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