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Restaurants depend on Mother’s Day

3 min read


Sons and daughters across the country will honor mom this weekend with brunches, lunches and dinners to celebrate Mother’s Day. Some 80 million Americans have plans to dine out for the holiday, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association. About one-third of respondents said they’ll celebrate at steak, seafood or barbecue restaurants, 24% will choose American cuisine, 21% will opt for ethnic cuisine — with Italian topping that list — and 19% are headed to buffet restaurants.

The National Retail Federation expects Americans to splurge a bit on consumer electronics for mom — in addition to flowers, candy and cards — and they’ll also spend about $3.5 billion on outings and meals including brunch and dinner.

This year, the holiday, historically the busiest one on the calendar for dining out, may be even more important for restaurants seeking to melt the deep freeze of the first quarter and warm up to what they hope will be a busier spring and summer, as the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Restaurant sales rose a mere 1% in the first three months of the year, compared with a 6.3% jump in the same period last year, according to Thomson Reuters, which attributed the slowdown to frigid weather and economic uncertainty that had consumers spending less at restaurants or staying home altogether.

Slower restaurant sales in the first quarter spurred some chains to redouble efforts at promoting budget-friendly value menus. And, while price is likely less important than the experience when it comes to special occasions, promotions and special deals can still play a key part on the Mother’s Day menu.

Marketing experts shared some tips recently to boost Mother’s Day traffic, including restaurant marketing blog eateria, which offered tips including giving mom a free drink, appetizer or entree to celebrate, as well as hosting a brunch or otherwise making an event of the day to draw in more traffic.

Another blog, this one from East Coast Chair & Barstool, offers a longer list of tips for making the most of Mother’s Day, including using social media to promote your restaurant’s events beforehand and offering rewards for moms who take to Yelp and other review sites to say good things about their experience at your restaurant.

Online reservation and review site OpenTable has released its list of “Top 25 Mom-Friendly Dining Cities” in time for Mother’s Day, ranking markets based on diversity — those that offer eateries suitable for date night as well as family dining. OpenTable calculated the list based on 2012 data showing the percentage of people who dined out for Mother’s Day last year, with Long Beach, Calif., Tampa, Fla., and Boulder, Colo., topping the roster.

How is your restaurant celebrating Mother’s Day this year? Tell us about it in the comments.