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Industry Trends

Top 17 Mother’s Day Restaurant Promotions


Katie McCann

Did you know Mother’s Day is the most popular holiday of the year for restaurants? 

In fact, TouchBistro restaurants see 24% more sales volume on Mother’s Day.*

When it comes to big holidays, diners expect all the stops: signature drinks, prix-fixe menus, maybe even a contest on social media! That means you need to prepare some extra incentives to bring these diners to your restaurant for Mother’s Day and have the service to match.

How will you deliver the best experience possible with all those additional customers and specials on top of it?

Don’t worry. We’re going to arm you with all the information you need to take Mother’s Day by storm: why it’s an important holiday, when and what to prepare, and the best ideas to bring business into your restaurant for Mother’s Day.

Break out the mimosas! Let’s get started.

*based on TouchBistro’s estimate of a restaurant’s average Mother’s Day sales lift.

I Got It From My Mama: Why Mother’s Day Has to Be a Hit at Your Restaurant

Forget the flowers and jewelry. Nearly half of mother’s want to go out for a meal with their family for Mother’s Day.

In fact, 87 million adults planned to dine out for Mother’s Day in 2018. 


With so many people dining out, you could get more traffic than normal – especially if you follow our 17 tips below.

And, since expectations for this special occasion are also higher than normal, the experience diners have at your restaurant for Mother’s Day is either going to give you a new loyal customer or somebody who never comes back. 

To make the most of Mother’s Day, you have to be prepared to hit that mark every single time for every single guest that comes in. That way, you’ll walk away from the holiday with a whole new group of impressed regulars.

So, how do you prepare to impress this crowd?

When to Start Planning for Mother’s Day

In an ideal world, you want to plan your Mother’s Day promotions early enough to avoid stress.

If you have a full marketing plan, you may already have some ideas of what to do and how to execute them. If not, this is your signal to start one, making a point to check what holidays are coming each season and plan ahead as much as possible. Depending on the promotions you plan for Mother’s Day, you may want as much as a month to plan ahead. 

But it can be hard to block off time to plan.

To help speed up the process, we’ve highlighted the main areas you’ll want to look at a few weeks in advance, and what to consider for each:

  • Menu
  • Staffing
  • Equipment
  • Marketing
mom and daughter sharing a dessert


The first question you want to ask yourself is, what are you serving?

Your restaurant menu should always be changing, especially with the seasons. When you’re planning a seasonal menu, consider what holidays fall into that window and plan accordingly. 

When you plan your spring  menu(s), you should plan any Mother’s Day specials as well. Giving yourself extra time for this step is crucial. If you rush creating new Mother’s Day dishes and they end up duds, chances are customers won’t be coming to see what special you bring out next year.

Give yourself time to test dishes, research what flavors are trending, and ensure your team (servers and cooks) can prepare it well.

Your Mother’s Day menus also a great chance to try out new dishes without committing to a spot on your regular menu Test that strawberry shortcake recipe your chef has been dying to make as a Mother’s Day menu special. If it’s a hit, perfect! Bring it onto the menu permanently or as an annual Mother’s Day treat. 

If not, shorty disappears after the holiday.


Next, who will be serving on the big day?

With busy holidays, staffing is always top priority. With an influx of diners, you’ll need a higher number of staff in front of house and back of house to keep up.

Not only will you need more staff for the Mother’s Day rush, you’ll also want staff you know can deliver an amazing guest experience

Chances are, you’re already planning your schedules a few weeks in advance. With a big holiday like Mother’s Day, take some extra time to sit down with the schedule. Use your POS reports to create smart schedules – check staff reports to see which servers thrive on busy nights or see how busy you were on Mother’s Day last year. Are your promotions this year aiming to have even more traffic through the door? Or are you scaling back?

When you use these reports to better forecast your labor needs, you avoid under or over-scheduling, which helps you deliver a great experience while keeping costs under control.


Now that you’ve brought in the dream team, you need to equip them.

Is your current POS setup robust enough to handle the extra traffic? If not, ask your POS provider about seasonal upgrades. 

Having additional licenses on busy days helps you speed up service, stay on top of inventory, process payments, and showcase your specials. You can also take mobile orders in line or tableside – key for big holidays like Mother’s Day! Make sure you’re arming your staff with the tools needed to deliver that amazing experience. 


You’ve got the menu, staff, and equipment covered. Now, you need to ask yourself how you’ll get people to choose your restaurant for Mother’s Day over the competition.

Marketing your restaurant – and your Mother’s Day specials –  is key to capturing potential diners. 

While you’ll want to nail down your promotion ideas earlier, start advertising your Mother’s Day deals the end of April or beginning of May. This gives you a solid two weeks to share what your restaurant is doing, and you avoid trying to compete with the noise from big corporate holidays in April, like Easter.

So, now that you know when to promote, you have to decide how.

Your marketing should influence both regular and new customers to choose your restaurant for Mother’s Day. Here are some places to start:

  • Signage: Have tent cards or posters printed and hang them in your windows and around the restaurant. Even if people are just walking by, they’ll be able to see your promotions.
  • Word of Mouth: Tell staff what your Mother’s Day promotions are a few weeks before the big day and have them talk it up to diners. Sharing Mother’s Day restaurant specials with diners who are already having a great experience at your restaurant is a good way to bring them back.
  • Social Media: Platforms like Facebook can help you reach a new audience. Set up ads on your restaurant’s social media pages, sharing your specials. You can boost your posts with a small budget to get a wider reach, or just do regular posts that your followers can share organically.
  • Email: Using email marketing is a great way to give customers a gentle nudge towards your business. If you have your customer emails, send out an eblast to let them know what specials or promotions will be happening on Mother’s Day. You can even have a link in the email that takes them right to your reservations page

Including Mother’s Day promotions in your marketing plan is a great way to maximize on the opportunities – and minimize the stress – of this big day for restaurants.

17 Promotion Ideas for Mother’s Day

We’re sure you have some great ideas bouncing around your head, but if you need some further inspiration, look no further! 

Here are 17 promotional ideas to try out in your restaurant for Mother’s Day.

1.  Have a Signature Drink

For one day only, have your bartenders whip up something special for all the mom’s coming in. Elevate your bellini by using different fruits and juices, or whip up a completely unique creation!

2. Small Gifts = Big Impact

Okay, maybe don’t forget the flowers completely

Giving moms who come dine with you a small token – like flowers! – is a great way to start their dining experience on a high. Seiza Japanese Cuisine gives a free flower to all the moms who come in to celebrate with them.

3. Offer Quick Takeaway Items

Add takeout items to your regular menu that customers can order as a gift, to help celebrate their mom. This is a great promotion to consider, especially if you’re not offering a sit-down meal.

Offering your customers something new to try – and share with mom, of course – is a great way to bring in traffic.

The Rolling Pin made a few of these adorable Mother’s Day cakes and made them available for pick up.

4. Consider the Youngins’

With moms come kids. Naturally.

Ricarda’s set up a Mother’s Day jazz brunch that included a supervised kids area, fully equipped with a bouncy castle, coloring books, toy trains, and more. Find ways to give moms with younger kids a great experience dining out, too.

5. Support a Good Cause

Socially-conscious consumers are on the rise. Pair your Mother’s Day dining with a good cause to bring these diners to you. There are great charity options out there that are even tied to motherhood, such as Every Mother Counts or Carry the Future – consider one of those. 

6. Have a Drink Special

Bottomless mimosas, anybody?

If you don’t want to change up your drink menu, offer what you have at a discounted rate or a fixed price for a bottomless drink. 

Make sure to check your state liquor laws before implementing any holiday drink specials to avoid getting into any legal trouble.

7. Get Social

Sharing your Mother’s Day restaurant promotions on social media is a great way to get the word out. 

Kelly’s Bake Shoppe created a special menu full of delicious treats and shared them on their Instagram channel. This way, customers were able to share their thoughts on the new flavors and actually see how good they looked! 

8. Bring in Entertainment

Bringing in special entertainment can be a huge selling point for your restaurant for Mother’s Day. 

Check out Hugh’s Room, offering a Mother’s Day jazz brunch with music that celebrates motherhood.

9. Don’t Forget Grandmothers

Have a promotion that focuses not just on mom, but mom’s mom, too! Consider offering some type of discount or a free appetizer for groups that come in with three generations – or more. With a bigger group you’ll likely have a higher check size, even if you throw in an appetizer or offer a discount.

10. Don’t Limit Your Dates

You don’t have to only celebrate on one day. Consider having Mother’s Day restaurant specials running before or after the date. This could help thin out the crowds.

Level Up Luncheon, an event in New Jersey, is a pre-Mother’s Day affair with speakers, Champagne, and a 3-course meal. The festivities at your restaurant don’t have to be limited.

11. Prix Fixe Menu 

Nearly half of diners coming to your restaurant for Mother’s Day will be coming for dinner. Setting up a special prix fixe menu for dinner is a great Mother’s Day promo. Both parties benefit from this: Customers get a delicious new meal to try, and you get a streamlined dinner service to help with the influx of diners. 

12. Bring Mom Back for More Business

Offer a small gift card or discount to moms coming in. This will drive traffic back to your restaurant, especially if they have a great experience.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse gave every mom that comes to dine with them a $25 gift card for them to enjoy before June 30th.  

13. Try a Specialty Item 

speciality item is not only a great traffic driver for your restaurant but an awesome tool to make diners – in this case, moms – feel extra special.

Craft an exclusive item that’s on the menu, like a dessert or appetizer, but available only for moms. It’s guaranteed to make her feel in a class of her own.

14. Offer a Cooking Class

Give diners a chance to cook at your restaurant. Cooking classes for Mother’s Day are a growing trend and can be a great way to give customers a memorable and unique experience at your restaurant. 

Bonus – you can charge way more for a cooking class, even if you’re making food right off your own menu! If you strategize and have your cooking class at a slower time, you could find this makes a big difference in your profit for the day. 

15. Partner with a Local Business

Is there a yoga studio or salon that’s fairly popular? Partner with local businesses to up the offering. Maybe a package that includes dinner and a spa treatment?

This is great for everybody involved – you get access to a new customer base, can split marketing efforts and costs with another business, and customers get two great offerings in one.

16. Get Competitive

Who doesn’t love some friendly competition?

Offering some competitive incentives is a great way to promote your restaurant and amplify those promotions through word of mouth.. For example, give people the chance to share a picture on Facebook of your Mother’s Day special. Pick a winner from the people who shared and reward them with a free dinner!

17. Give a Shout-Out to the Holiday

It’s totally cool to stick to business as usual. You don’t always need a flashy deal, but it’s nice to share something to recognize Mother’s Day.

Last year, Peached Tortilla shared this sweet shot with a Mother’s Day sentiment any mother could relate to.

Mother’s Day is a big deal in the restaurant industry. When you take the extra time with preparations and promotions, you’ll win over new customers and continue to impress the regulars. 

Happy Mother’s Day!

Katie is the Content Marketing Specialist at TouchBistro where she writes about food and restaurant experiences. She doesn’t shy away from the finer things in life, but no matter how much success she continues to acquire, she stays true to her roots and still considers imitation crab as gourmet. If she isn’t writing, you can find her on a patio with friends and a pitcher of white wine sangria.

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