One of the most popular ways to show appreciation for moms — or anyone who fills that role — on Mother's Day is to gather around the table for a delicious meal. In fact, Mother's Day was the third-busiest holiday on DoorDash in 2022, behind Christmas and New Year's Day.
Restaurant operators and their staff should be prepared for an influx of both dine-in and delivery orders on Mother's Day. To make the most of this holiday, determine your promotional strategy and begin marketing any specials or discounts well in advance.
We pulled together some creative Mother's Day dining promotions and tips to help you boost business and stand out on one of the busiest restaurant holidays of the year. Most importantly, these strategies will give deserving moms a memorable experience that will make them want to come back for more.
1. Consider consumer trends
A 2023 National Retail Federation survey found that 60% of consumers planned to do a special outing such as dinner or brunch with their moms, and plan to spend an average of $274.02 this year — up from last year's record high of $245.76.
In a Mother's Day survey, the National Restaurant Association (NRA) reported that whether consumers are dining out or ordering in, they're interested in specials and discounts. 46% of dine-in customers look for special Mother's Day menus and 41% want a Mother's Day discount.
The same NRA report found that when deciding on a restaurant, 51% of takeout customers and 44% of dine-in guests look for a free add-on for moms, such as a special cocktail or dessert. Nearly half of takeout customers also seek out restaurants that offer free or discounted delivery.
Wondering what food people crave on Mother's Day? The most popular menu items ordered on DoorDash on Mother's Day are all over the map — ranging from pizza to sushi to dumplings to dessert. The takeaway? Any restaurant can capitalize on this holiday, as long as they make efforts to plan their marketing strategy and operations.
2. Offer build-your-own dishes and meal bundles
Celebrating Mother's Day is not only about the food — it's also about families spending quality time together. A fun way to drive restaurant sales on Mother's Day is with interactive menu additions, like a build-your-own crepe station, avocado toast bar, or bagel board. In-person diners can customize the meal to their liking while getting creative with loved ones, and off-premise customers can enjoy these customized dishes at home.
The same NRA survey revealed that 44% of takeout customers want multi-course meal bundles. Offering a bundle is also a way to increase ticket sizes, helping to drive your Mother's Day restaurant sales. Bundle your most popular appetizers, sides, and entrees as a single item on your delivery menu to make it easy for families to order for a group and enjoy a shared meal together at home.
3. Enhance your ambience with outdoor seating and live music
As the warm weather arrives, restaurants can expect more outdoor dining. OpenTable data reveals that cities across the US see double digit increases in outdoor dining reservations during the spring months. An attractive outdoor space, especially in spring and summer, will encourage new and returning customers to walk through your doors.
Pique customers' interest further with a live band in your outdoor space. Live music creates a positive ambience and can drive restaurant profits by hastening table turnover. Hire a local band or curate a playlist dedicated to moms to create a meaningful guest experience.
4. Provide alcohol specials and signature drinks
A Mother's Day meal goes best with a festive cocktail or signature drink celebrating the guest of honor. A popular Mother's Day dining promotion that many restaurants have adopted are "mom-osa" kits complete with fruit and chocolate. Consider also offering discounts for moms on cocktails or pitchers of festive drinks like margaritas and sangria.
In addition to dine-in cocktails, let customers order alcohol delivery. Stock your wine inventory prior to Mother's Day and consider offering discounts on bottles of wine for off-premise customers who order multiple entrees. DoorDash restaurant partners in locations where alcohol delivery is permitted can easily add alcohol to their to-go menu through the Merchant Portal.
5. Offer a prix-fixe takeout menu
On the busiest restaurant dine-in and takeout holiday of the year, a prix-fixe menu is a Mother's Day dining promotion that can minimize pressure on your staff while creating a memorable experience for moms.
A limited menu means restaurant teams can move faster to prepare meals, serve tables, and get more customers through the door. Spread the word about your prix-fixe menu on social media prior to Mother's Day, and give families the opportunity to place orders in advance. This way, your staff is well-equipped to stock inventory and has clear expectations of the workload going into the holiday.
6. Cater to kids, too
37% of moms want quality time with their families on Mother's Day. Remember that Mother's Day is about making moms happy, and by extension, keeping their kids occupied and satisfied too. Consider offering a kid-friendly menu — which will increase Mother's Day restaurant sales by allowing families to celebrate all together.
If you offer a prix-fixe takeout menu for adults, create a simplified, discounted version for kids. Moms can relax knowing their children are well-fed and enjoying the day as well.
Start marketing Mother's Day promotions early
These Mother's Day dining promotions offer valuable insight into what moms want and how you can deliver on their special day — while also increasing your restaurant's sales, boosting new and returning business, and supporting your hardworking employees.
The key to a successful Mother's Day for restaurants? Get a head start on your marketing. Diners won't be able to enjoy your delicious offerings if they haven't heard about them. Highlight your Mother's Day promotions and menu on social media, create an engaging email campaign, include a pop-up or banner on your website, and leverage in-store signage to get the word out. With thoughtful preparation and effective marketing, your restaurant will be a top Mother's Day destination this year.
For customers unable to spend the day with their mom in-person, gift cards are a great way to get food easily delivered from restaurants. Families can celebrate from afar with a meal over video chat. Consider suggesting this option to diners in the days leading up to Mother's Day and be sure to promote it on your social media channels as well.
Drive restaurant holiday sales year-round
Looking for more restaurant holiday marketing tips? Download the 2023 Restaurant Marketing Calendar and Toolkit and discover marketing insights and creative social media strategies to celebrate holidays year-round.