Springtime brings a veritable buffet of delights: longer days, warmer weather, leaves on the trees, and a whole day to treat Mom like royalty. Moms aren't the only winners, however. Independent restaurants have the opportunity to join in celebrating mothers and brunch items by creating a special Mother's Day brunch menu, dinner service, or promotions that cater to families. The National Restaurant Association says 45% of consumers plan to eat out or order online that day, making it the busiest and most profitable holiday of the year for restaurants everywhere.

4 in 10 consumers will eat out or order online on Mother's Day.

A good number of consumers (27%) want the full-service experience. However, with so many places jam-packed on the actual day, many people (18%) will opt for take-out and delivery. That's why we compiled this list of ideas for both in-house and online experiences. Check it out, then call your mother.

Mother's Day can be a tough time for many people. Consider allowing guests to opt out of email marketing content about this specific holiday and encourage staff to swap shifts if necessary for their wellbeing.

Showcase Mother's Day themed items

The National Restaurant Association reports that 46% of guests are looking for special Mother’s Day items. Below are 6 ideas to adapt your regular menu, which can be updated in your restaurant POS.

1. Create unique cocktails

Go beyond the mimosa. Get creative with these Mother's Day spring cocktails like the Miss Elena, Fleur de Paradis, and Earl Grey Martini, or create your own recipe by incorporating seasonal ingredients. Be sure to offer a mocktail version for mothers who don't consume alcohol.

two glasses of cocktails
Celebrate with a signature spring cocktail. Photo by Cody Chan / Unsplash

2. Offer special desserts

Dessert is a must for mothers with a sweet tooth. Include some treats alongside your breakfast and lunch items as a complement to your Mother's Day brunch buffet or full dinner menu. Add to your usual sweet offerings and create one or two specials for one day only. Tiramisu, banana bread, chocolate covered strawberries are all adaptable items that add to any menu.

3. Expand your kids menu

Consider including popular kids items like pancakes and waffles for breakfast. Or chicken fingers, mac and cheese, or kid-sized burgers for lunch and dinner. It may be a day for mothers, but happy kids are a key step towards the best Mother's Day brunch.

4. Have a Mother's Day brunch

If you normally serve breakfast and lunch, or just lunch, consider opening a bit earlier and offering a special Mother's Day brunch. French toast, omelets, and eggs Benedict are some popular items you could add to the menu.

A brunch spread with waffles, pancakes, and eggs Benedict.
Offer a special meal—like brunch with all the favorites.

5. Offer high end options

A few years back the National Restaurant Association found that moms want to splurge on their special day with seafood, steak, and ethnic cuisine. While specials depend on your concept, offering classics like filet mignon, lobster, salmon, and prime rib give your guests an opportunity to splurge. Consider adding a ham or beef carving station to your Mother's Day brunch buffet to mark the occasion. Adding more expensive items like these are also a great way to increase revenue.

6. Pair it with wine

It's no secret that women prefer wine over beer when it comes to adult beverages. To dazzle your dinnertime guests, create pairings for your most popular entrees, a selection of cheeses, or even some chocolate delicacies.

It was our friend’s birthday, and we celebrated with a few bottles from Longshadow Ranch in Temecula, CA.
Pairings can add a sophisticated flair to your menu.

Add on complimentary gifts

If you want to make someone feel special, a gift doesn't hurt. According to the National Restaurant Association, 44% of guests hope for a free add-on when they go out on the big day. Here are some gift ideas that'll surprise and delight.

44% of guests are hoping for a free add-in for mom, such as a special cocktail, dessert, flowers, or chocolates

7. Offer a complimentary beverage

If you have a popular low-cost well drink, you could offer it complimentary without breaking the bank. Light and refreshing drinks like mimosas, Bellinis, and sangrias are perfect for such occasions and are sure to please.

8. Give out free flowers

Roses, carnations, and tulips top the list of the best flowers for Mother's Day. You could have your hosts hand out stems when moms arrive or put bouquets on tables, and servers could let guests know they could take one when they leave.

smiling woman receiving bouquet of red roses
It's hard to go wrong with a bouquet of roses. Photo by Sebastián León Prado / Unsplash

9. Get them back in with a gift card

Give out gift cards to celebrate mothers and drive repeat business. Consider creating a Mother's Day-themed gift card for $5, $10, or $25. To ensure that they're not a free-for-all, servers could hand out one gift card per group after dine-in guests have paid the check.

10. Hand out complimentary sweets

Looking for an easy way to delight? Have your pastry chef walk around with a tray of chocolate-dipped strawberries, truffles, or bite-sized tarts. In fact, you could prepare a variety of mini desserts for people who just can't choose.

opened box of chocolate
No one ever said no to complimentary chocolates. Photo by Egor Lyfar / Unsplash

11. Offer a gift basket with restaurant merch

If you're looking to go all out, put all the suggested items above in a gift basket, add a branded mug or t-shirt, and give one to each mom on their way out. When people see the baskets, they'll wait even longer for a table.

Give special Mother's Day promotions

When consumers dine out on Mother's Day, 41% are looking for some kind of discount. Here are a few marketing ideas for restaurants so you can be top of mind on May 12th.

41% of guests are looking for a Mother’s Day discount at restaurants

12. Offer bottomless or discounted drinks

For Mother's Day brunch, some restaurants offer mimosas or sangrias at $5 a glass. If they really want to draw in the crowd, they'll strategically implement bottomless cocktail promotions paired with serving brunch. Just be sure your state doesn't ban discounted alcohol. Also, bottomless drinks are for adults only, so be sure to have non-alcoholic options like juice, soda, and tea for people of all ages to enjoy.

a couple of people holding up wine glasses
No brunch cocktail menu is complete without mimosas. Photo by Ecaterina Tanase / Unsplash

13. Create a prix fixe menu

Prix fixe menus, also known as fixed-price menus, are popular for Mother's Day. By offering a set selection of courses for a preset price, you allow guests to sample a variety of dishes. Fixed menus not only make the choice easy, but they promote your best dishes. You can also offer big-ticket items like lobster, prime rib, and seafood towers as add-ons. Create a menu by identifying popular yet cost-effective salad dishes and entree items to serve.

14. Leverage social media

Get creative on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Encourage people to share throwback photos of their mothers as young adults or children and give them a $5 promo code for their entry. Or make it a contest and award a free meal for 2 for the top submissions. Food photos always play well on social media, so encourage guests to share their best Mother's Day brunch buffet shots and tag your restaurant on Instagram or Facebook so all their friends can see where they're enjoying the day.

person taking photo of woman
Re-post guest photos for easy user-generated content. Photo by Josh Rose / Unsplash

15. Hold a raffle

Enter every guest into a drawing for prizes—like gift cards to local shops, a visit to a salon, or a spa session. Promote your raffle on social media a couple of weeks before Mother's Day and announce the winner the day after.

16. Offer extra loyalty points

If you have a loyalty rewards program, give additional loyalty points. Or offer more points for Mother's Day items that you want to promote on the day. You could even have special rewards like a drink, sweet treat, or merch that can only be redeemed on the day.

Create a family-oriented atmosphere

Mother's Day brunch isn't just about the deals. It's about creating an environment that is fun for the everyone, so it doesn't feel like just another Sunday brunch.

17. Decorate your space

Don't underestimate the power of balloons, plants, banners, and other decor in transforming your dining room. Ensure bouquets are in stable vases to prevent spills and hand out helium balloons to delight young children.

a little girl sitting next to a woman at a table
Entertainment of the kids means peace of mind for mom. Photo by Brian Wangenheim / Unsplash

18. Play music dedicated to mom

Make a themed playlist that matches your restaurant's ambiance. You could choose between popular classical pieces or classic songs dedicated to moms everywhere. Beyond the dinner entree and other delicious food items you're serving, music can transform a space and create an upscale or fun environment that makes people feel right at home.

19. Hire a balloon artist or magician

Sometimes the best present is happy kids. Hire a balloon artist to make animal shapes while diners wait for their food. Or consider a magician to entertain kids with close-up magic at tables or a bigger show in a section of your space.

20. Feature live music

Nothing livens things up like a band. Hire a local band to play all the Mother's Day favorite tunes. Get the crowd involved by encouraging people to come forward and make requests, or note their requests as they make reservations. Either way, live music is sure to be a hit with the brunch crowd.

21. Give kids a project

Keep kids busy at the table. Create themed activity sheets with coloring pages, sudoku puzzles, crosswords, and word searches. Or you could give kids blank greeting cards so they can make their own unique card for mom. Just be sure to have enough crayons, markers, or colored pencils for everyone.

Picture of child's hands coloring a page with a butterfly.
Coloring projects keep kids busy while waiting for their food.

Make it special for online guests

Many people avoid going out on Mother's Day because of predictably high traffic. Or perhaps there are people who planned too late to make reservations and don't want to risk walking in during a crowded brunch shift. Reservations or not, these folks still want to enjoy your food. Maximize on the Saturday and Sunday traffic by offering these online ordering specials.

18% of consumers plan to order takeout or delivery on Mother's Day.

22. Offer breakfast-in-bed delivery combos

Create 3 takeout-only meal combinations that are geared specifically for breakfast in bed. Think french toast with bacon, and orange juice. Or a seasonal omelet, smoked salmon bagel, and a specialty coffee drink. It could even be a signature vegetarian or vegan breakfast that travels well.

Brunch in bed is one of the little pleasures in life.

23. Provide a family picnic package

Create a picnic to-go package that people can come by and pick up on the way to the local park. If it's usually mom's job to handle the cooking, she might appreciate the day off and plenty of extra family time.

Make this Mother's Day your best yet

Whether you have already released your brunch reservations, or Sunday, May 12th is your first ever buffet, small touches can create an experience visitors will remember for the rest of their lives. Go upscale with lobster or cater to everyone with a gorgeous ham, either way, it's the time with friends and loved ones that will be most special of all.

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