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By 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.
But with COVID-19 restrictions still in place in some parts of the country, you’re probably wondering what kind of Mother’s Day promotion ideas for restaurants you can use and how you will be able to deliver the best experience possible to your guests.
Don’t worry. We’re going to arm you with all the information you need to take Mother’s Day by storm – even in the wake of COVID-19.
In this article, we’ll cover why Mother’s Day is such an important holiday, when and what to prepare, and the top 17 Mother’s Day promotion ideas for restaurants.
Break out the mimosas! Let’s start exploring the top Mother’s Day restaurant ideas.
*based on TouchBistro’s estimate of a restaurant’s average Mother’s Day sales lift.
Forget the flowers and jewelry. Nearly half of mothers 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.
And even the pandemic didn’t slow down Mother’s Day sales for restaurants. In 2020, consumer spending at restaurants was up 103% on Mother’s Day Sunday and 63% on Saturday, compared to average daily revenue.
With so many people dining out (or ordering in), this is the perfect holiday to generate more traffic than normal for your restaurant – especially if you follow our 17 Mother’s Day restaurant ideas 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 dines in or places an order to-go. 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?
Though it can be tough to navigate changing dine-in restrictions, you want to try 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 ahead of Mother’s Day at your restaurant, and what to consider for each:
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 restaurant specials as well. Giving yourself extra time for this step is crucial. If you rush to create 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 – especially if you plan to offer that special for takeout and delivery.
Your Mother’s Day restaurant menu 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, you can easily scrap it after the holiday.
Next, who will be working on the big day? Will you need plenty of servers for dine-in customers, or extra back of house staff to fulfill takeout and delivery orders?
With busy holidays, staffing is always top priority. And with an influx of diners expected, 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 restaurant 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 (and prior to the pandemic). Are your promotions this year aiming to have even more traffic through the door? Or are you shifting your focus to takeout and delivery?
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 also keeping costs under control.
Now that you’ve brought in the dream team, you need to equip them with the right tools.
Is your current POS setup robust enough to handle the extra traffic? If not, maybe it’s time to add on additional features such as online ordering, or even switch your restaurant POS provider entirely.
A modern, cloud-based POS is essential for busy days because it helps you speed up service, stay on top of inventory, take online orders, process payments, and showcase your specials. A cloud-based POS also allows you to 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 restaurant promotion ideas earlier, start advertising your Mother’s Day deals at the end of April or the 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 holidays in April, like Easter.
So, now that you know when to promote Mother’s Day promotion ideas for your restaurant, 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:
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.
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 Mother’s Day promotion ideas for restaurants.
For one day only, have your bartenders whip up something special for all the moms coming in. Elevate your bellini by using different fruits and juices, or whip up a completely unique creation! You can even consider creating a Mother’s Day cocktail to go if alcohol delivery is legal in your area.
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.
Not everyone may be comfortable dining in this year. Make sure families can enjoy your food at home too by offering a to-go Mother’s Day menu.
And if you do offer takeout and delivery, make sure your customers know how to place an order! If you use a direct online ordering system, you can easily add a button to your restaurant’s website so customers can order a meal for mom in just a few clicks.
For instance, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen created a special Brunch in a Box kit for Mother’s Day that moms can enjoy from the comfort of their own home.
With moms come kids. Naturally.
In the past, Ricarda’s has hosted 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.
Not offering dine-in? Create a few kid-friendly dishes for your Mother’s Day takeout menu.
Socially-conscious consumers are on the rise and they are eager to give back – especially in light of the pandemic’s devastating impact on the restaurant industry.
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.
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.
Just make sure to check your state liquor laws before implementing any holiday drink specials to avoid getting into any legal trouble.
Whether you’re open for dine-in or offering pickup and delivery, sharing your Mother’s Day restaurant promotions on social media is a great way to get the word out.
For instance, Chicago’s Prime & Provisions shared its mouth-watering Mother’s Day offerings on Instagram to encourage customers to place their takeout orders ahead of the big day.
Bringing in special entertainment can be a huge selling point for your restaurant on Mother’s Day.
For instance, Toronto’s Hugh’s Room has previously hosted a Mother’s Day jazz brunch with music that celebrates motherhood.
And if you’re not able to safely offer live music and entertainment this year, there are plenty of other days to liven up the mood. Consider creating a playlist to pair with your Mother’s Day specials and share the link with those who order online.
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.
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 is a pre-Mother’s Day affair previously held in New Jersey. The event combined speakers, Champagne, and a 3-course meal – all well ahead of the actual Mother’s Day festivities.
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 promotion idea for your restaurant. 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.
Offer a small gift card or discount to moms coming in. If they have a great experience, this can help drive traffic back to your restaurant long after the holiday ends.
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse has previously given every mom that comes to dine with them a $25 gift card for them to enjoy before June 30th – a clever way to get mom’s back in the door.
A specialty 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 make it available only for moms. It’s guaranteed to make her feel like she’s in a class of her own.
If you can do so safely, 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 your guests are 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.
Is there a yoga studio or salon that’s fairly popular? Partner with local businesses to up the offering. Maybe a package that includes brunch to-go and a manicure?
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.
Who doesn’t love some friendly competition?
Offering some competitive incentives is a great way to promote your restaurant and amplify your Mother’s Day promotions. And when it comes to restaurant contest ideas, social media is the perfect channel for just about any competition.
For example, you can launch an Instagram contest that encourages diners to share photos of your Mother’s Day special. Make sure those who enter follow and tag your restaurant, and then reward one lucky winner with an enticing prize like a free meal.
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.
Follow the lead of restaurants like Austin’s Peached Tortilla, which shared this sweet shot with a Mother’s Day sentiment any mother could relate to (and some tantalizing menu items).
Mother’s Day is a big deal in the restaurant industry (even in the midst of a pandemic). And when you take the extra time to brainstorm special Mother’s Day restaurant ideas and promotions, you’ll have a better shot at winning over new customers and bringing back your regulars. You might even come up with some ideas you can repurpose as Father’s Day restaurant specials when June rolls around.
Happy Mother’s Day!
Katie is a former 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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