The day is fast approaching—one of the busiest in the restaurant industry and a celebration of Mom’s hard work. According to the National Restaurant Association, over 40 million adults in the U.S. dine out on Mother’s Day, with a large percentage going out to dinner.
This special day allows restaurant operators to make it a memorable occasion for their regular guests and first-time customers. And, as we all know, going above and beyond the expected to deliver your guests an extraordinary experience is what sets your establishment apart. In a textual analysis, Review Trackers demonstrated this importance, finding that, out of almost 332,000 online restaurant reviews, the most commonly used keyword was “service.”
Another study found that 70% of first-time restaurant customers don’t return. So, let’s explore how to make this day a success, ensuring appreciative guests remember your brand when it’s time to dine out again.
A Special Day for Mothers
The National Restaurant Association reports that almost half of all Americans celebrate Mother’s Day with restaurant meals, whether dining at a restaurant or ordering takeout or delivery. They also note that older guests lean toward brunch, whereas the younger crowd is likelier to choose dinner.
Some restaurants open early, enticing the number of people looking for a Mother’s Day brunch. Others treat moms special, whether providing her with a complimentary glass of champagne, dessert, or flower.
One study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that potential guests seeking a nice restaurant for a celebratory occasion often seek recommendations. People also tend to place more importance on food quality and service for celebrations, seeking the best experience for their family.
Create a unique experience by crafting mom-inspired cocktails and booking live music to play softly in the background. Remember that many customers would rather lounge at home and relax or watch a great movie with their family. Therefore, make sure you’re prepared for more online orders than usual. You can make this moment memorable through three-course at-home meals incorporating dessert, flowers, and champagne (if allowed in your city). Taking online orders ahead of time can help create a seamless experience.
Never Let Them See You Sweat
One of the challenges facing restaurants during busy holidays is the unexpected rush and larger parties. An overwhelmed staff can transform a restaurant’s environment from relaxing and entertaining to hectic and confusing, resulting in unhappy customers. While some guests may forgive a one-time experience when a restaurant was short-staffed through no fault of their own, few will revisit a restaurant that resulted in a bad experience during a celebratory meal out.
Of course, wanting extra staff and having additional staff on hand are two different things in our current environment. Some of you may remember the advertisements for Gillette’s Dry Idea antiperspirants and deodorants. These prominent ads coined the term, “Never let them see you sweat.” And that, in a nutshell, is what your staff should remember on Mother’s Day. Calm, cool, and collected is the name of the game, no matter the number of people on the waiting list.
Simplify Your Mother’s Day Menu
Another technique restaurants learn to incorporate on busy holidays is minimizing the menu. I once worked with a chef at an Irish restaurant and pub. It was his first year, and he didn’t know what would hit him on St. Patrick’s Day. Unfortunately, that unpreparedness led to many a bad review and his repeated chant, “I should have opted for a prix fixe menu.”
A prix fixe menu streamlines operations and helps busy kitchens and servers enhance the guest experience rather than detract from it. These meals usually include appetizers, entrée, and dessert at a fixed price. Guests choose from a few options instead of a whole menu, significantly reducing the workload.
Before the big day arrives, look at your seating and the anticipated weather. If it will be a beautiful spring day, and you have the staff to cover it, can you rearrange the patio and add some tables while retaining your design? The same goes for indoors.
The Return Guest
These big holidays offer restaurants the opportunity to turn one-time guests into regulars. To do this, however, you need to make sure they come back a second time so you can demonstrate consistency with great food and service.
One tried-and-true method to get them back in the doors includes giving moms a gift card for a discount on their next visit, whether a free dessert or a percentage off. You can also offer gift cards for special occasions like Father’s Day, birthdays, or graduation. Make sure there’s a time limit.
Whatever you decide to do to make this day special, remember to share it on social media. For example, you might consider sharing a graphic thanking mother for everything they do and inviting them to a special celebration at your restaurant.
As the saying goes, you only get one chance to make a good first impression. So ensure you have the staff you need to take advantage of this great opportunity.
What is the busiest time at restaurants on Mother’s Day?
According to the National Restaurant Association, dinner usually experiences the highest number of transactions. However, this statistic changes depending on the type of restaurant and location.
Is Mother’s Day the busiest day of the year for restaurants?
According to the National Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the busiest holiday for dining out, followed by Valentine’s Day, Father’s Day, and New Year’s Eve.