Erin Martin is the editor for MustHaveMenus, the leading online menu provider for the foodservice industry. Learn more about easy and effective restaurant marketing strategies at the MustHaveMenus Blog.
Mother’s Day in the U.S. is the most popular day to dine out of the entire year, according to Nation’s Restaurant News. However, many restaurateurs count on this notion —that it’s the top dining out holiday — to drive in the customers. Smart owners and managers have found, however, that a little promotion planning can go a long way.
At this late date (Mother’s Day is May 8), you probably can’t plan a full promotional assault, there is still time to mount a last-minute promotion.
- Send an e-mail invitation to your Mother’s Day event. Don’t assume that your customers know about your special brunch menu or your elegant dinner. Grab the attention of the last-minute customers by directing the e-mail’s subject line to them and telling them exactly what to do. For example, “Call Now for Mother’s Day Brunch Reservations at Cisco’s Café!”
- Create a Mother’s Day flier and take it to neighboring businesses. A flier that promotes your Mother’s Day event is a valuable tool. Don’t just post it at your restaurant (although, make sure to do that!), take the flier to neighboring businesses that get traffic for Mother’s Day — day spas, florists, even jewelers — and ask them to post it in exchange for posting one of their fliers. Quid pro quo works wonders in the foodservice industry.
- Use social media effectively to reach a younger audience. If you’ve noticed that your Mother’s Day traffic has been dropping off in recent years, it’s time to start marketing to a new generation. Create a Facebook event and ask people to RSVP that way, tweet it to your followers and blog about it. You’ll see some new faces.
- Offer moms a flower to feel special. A bucket of carnations is inexpensive, so have your host offer any ladies who come through the door a flower and sincere wishes for a happy Mother’s Day. This special touch can keep your restaurant at the forefront of customers’ minds – leading to repeat business.
And, above all, make the food delicious and the restaurant adequately staffed for a successful Mother’s Day in 2011!