A Successful Mother's Day Experience

Along with a variety of seasonal new ingredients and a fresh approach to the menu, the arrival of spring brings on of the biggest and busiest dining-out days of the year - Mother's Day!


Nearly half of Americans said last year that they planned to celebrate Mother's Day by dining out.  How can you make sure they're enjoying that special meal at your restaurant?  It's all in the details.


Reported to be one of the five most profitable restaurant days of the year, Mother's Day should be a memorable experience with flawless service and perfectly executed dishes showcasing upscale flavors and presentation.  Since it's springtime, you may want to highlight the meal with farm-fresh ingredients like bright green stalks of asparagus, sweet peas plucked straight from the pod and ripe, juicy strawberries.  You may also want to consider including high-quality protein options like no-antibiotics-ever turkey, chicken and Cornish hen.


After carefully selecting the ingredients, it's time to plan the menu!  It's important to keep in mind the daypart, format and latest menu trends.  For example, do you plan on offering dinner service only or is brunch an option?  In 2015, about 31% of diners 65 and older tended to prefer brunch service on Mother's Day, while 56% of younger consumers (18 to 24 years old) were more likely to choose dinner to celebrate the holiday.


Are you looking to create a casual buffet, serve dishes a la carte, offer a tasting menu or create an intimate celebration with a large-format family style meal?  A buffet can satisfy a range of tastes by offering both familiar and exotic dishes, allowing diners the opportunity to customize their meal.  A family-style meal like a roast chicken or turkey breast served with seasonal side dishes can add an upscale feel to a homey experience.


Consider your key patrons and tailor your marketing efforts towards this demographic.  Be prepared to appeal to Millennials who account for both young mothers, as well as kids organizing meals for their moms.  Research shows Millennials desire handcrafted, clean, artisanal and socially-responsible foods served in laid-back, comforting settings.


When it comes to families with children, 45% planned to dine out for Mother's Day 2015 and 10% intended to order takeout or delivery.  For families with young children, consider providing a quiet form of entertainment such as a coloring book, crossword puzzles or even a few simple materials to make mom a handmade card.  Small touches like these can make all the difference!


With a menu in place, you can start to think about other ways you plan on setting yourself apart and driving traffic to your restaurant.  To garner interest, try advertising in local media, emailing your loyal customer base and sharing your menu on social media platforms.  Consider offering Mother's Day incentives like a complimentary dessert just for mom (who will share only if she so chooses!).


With careful planning and the right promotions, you can make sure mom is enjoying that special meal at your restaurant.  From start to finish, the meal should be a memorable experience that encourages return customers!


Content courtesy of Perdue Foodservice and UniPro Operator's Edge Newsletter.