15 Tips for Restaurants Preparing for Mother's Day

Impress all the moms this Mother's Day with some tips from ChefEquipment.com 

Moms are special and we want them to know.  Restaurants, bistros, bars and buffets are swamped on Mother’s Day – the busiest day of the year for foodservice – as customers flock to celebrate the real rockstars of the world. 

Successfully managing a busy service is challenging on the best of days, so give your operation and staff a hand with these tips and suggestions from the ChefEquipment.com team. 

1.  Open earlier (and stay open later)

With three times more reservations booked on Mother’s Day compared to an average Sunday, according to OpenTable, you might have to turn away customers (and therefore their money). Unless you consider adjusting open and closing times. Even a couple of extra hours can fit another turn of tables. 

Take it a step further and expand to different day parts by adding breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or cocktail hour(s) to your typical offering to accommodate more customers. 

2. Make it an entire weekend of celebration

Yes, Mother’s Day is officially on a Sunday.  But Sunday doesn’t necessarily work for everyone.  Why not consider expanding your Mother’s Day promotion over the entire weekend. Combined with adjusting the hours you are open and adding another daypart, could add up to the best revenue weekend of the year. 

3. Evaluate and test your reservation system (now might be the time to upgrade)

If any day of the year is going to test your reservation system, it’s Mother’s Day.  According to OpenTable, Canadians are procrastinators. Many wait until the week before to make reservations and some even book on the day of!   

No matter which type of reservation system you use – online/website, third-party or pen and paper – take a spin through your system to ensure it can handle the increased number of reservations that come in, adjust messaging about Mother’s Day (online and phone) and know what to do in case something goes awry. 

4. Have a backup plan when reservations are full

We sincerely hope your reservations are already full for Mother’s Day or will be soon. Remembering that Canadians are procrastinators, be ready for the inevitable last-minute pleading for a table because you are mom’s favourite place.  Ensure your reservation system is set up to be able to offer alternate options. 

For example, you could offer a free dessert if they make a reservation on another day, discount on a gift certificate to be used at their convenience or something that keeps them coming back to mom’s favourite place. 

Mother's Day in blocks, coffee and flowers

5. Tasty menu options and delicious deals

Sharing a meal with mom is comforting, nostalgic and a small drop in the bucket compared to the number of times she fed her family. Show your love for all moms through your menu. 

Free upgrades and add-on options (at no extra charge) just for mom: paired beverage for each course, upgrades to sides and desserts. Chances are others in the party will also want the mom treatment and will gladly pay the extra charge. 

Build higher cheque averages by bundling meals. Promote two or three course menu deals by adding a starter to an entree or adding both a starter and dessert to an entrée. 

Sweeten the deal with special dessert options just for mom. Craft a Mother’s Day only dessert option, or a free dessert with an entrée purchase just for mom. Her family won’t want her to be the only one having dessert, so guess what happens? 

When groups are larger, you can afford to offer free deals for mom. How about mom’s entrée is free in groups over 5 people? 

6. Be ready (embrace your inner mom)

Do you remember that bag, bin, duffle or purse that mom always found exactly what you needed when you needed it?  Yeah.  It’s called being prepared or in chef-speak having your mise en place.  Moms invented it.  Front of house and back of house need to embrace it for a smooth service on Mother’s Day. 

How is your inventory of dinnerware, drinkware and cutlery?  If you are adding an extra turn or two, can the dishwasher keep up with needs?   

How are your tables and chairs? Do an inventory, ensure tables are wobble-free do a thorough cleaning of chair seats, backs, arms and legs.  

Are you prepared for larger groups? OpenTable found that Mother’s Day is the largest group dining day of the year. Practice configuring your dining room to accommodate larger parties while still allowing easy flow for staff between groups. 

7. Set the table with style

Moms notice the details.  A unique table setting just for them, a small gift to take home, a small plant, a jar of house-made jam – she will see it and appreciate the gesture. 

And please check all your tableware for chips, cracks and spots.  She will notice, trust us.

Flowers and candles table setting details for mother's day

8. Pair with another business

Taking mom out for a meal is only part of celebrating Mother’s Day for many Canadians.  Many also buy a gift.  Why not make it easier for your customers and offer package deals?  Flower shops, gift stores, local theatre, salons, spas, bookstores, axe throwing range, pick one that pairs well with your operation. When booking a reservation, promote the package deals available or ask if they need help with a gift for mom. 

9. Have gift certificate options handy

Getting back to normal has been a slow process.  Some customers might be leery about taking their mom to a packed restaurant but still want to celebrate.  Why not have a unique gift certificate that lets mom decide what works for her schedule? Or when she might feel more comfortable going out to celebrate. 

For reservations, why not offer an additional gift certificate at a discount for a gift that keeps on giving. 

10. Stack up on staff

Catering to the masses, turn after turn, hour after hour takes stamina and a mother lode of staff.  Pay close attention to reservations and group sizes to schedule staff well in advance and give them an idea of what to expect. 

11. Simplify the menu

To accommodate the large number of diners your restaurant will serve over the course of Mother’s Day, a slight tweak to the menu could make a difference and save precious minutes throughout the day.  

Speeding up service can be as simple as removing a few items off the menu or offering a few set menu options. Promote it as a Mother’s Day only offer, make it special and about them – they don’t need to know it will make it easier for you. 

12. Celebrate the moms on your staff

Moms need to work on Mother’s Day, too.  Why not proudly celebrate the moms who make Mother’s Day special for other moms.  A unique uniform piece (apron, shirt, scarf or hat), a simple pin to display when serving customers, a display at the entry showing the moms with their family. 

13. Sparkle and shine

Bathrooms and dining room should be in tip top shape and up to mom’s exacting standards (and should be, always). But maybe for Mother’s Day you can take it a step further. Impress her. 

14. Cheers to mom

Celebrate mom, not just on the food menu.  Specials, unique house cocktails, quirky named drinks to make her laugh.  Remember, moms come with families with kids of all ages. Take care of her family for her, she won’t forget it. 

15. Tasty gifts to go

Moms need to eat every day, so continue to celebrate mom even after she leaves your dining room. Promote your meal kits, frozen meals and sides to take home or how about giving moms a gift certificate to use for a takeout order in the next week or month. Make it difficult for her family to say no to options that nourish mom with delectable food both now and later. 

Let’s be clear.  Mothers should be celebrated every day of the year.  But on Mother’s Day help your customers make it easy to give their moms a memorable (and delicious) Mother’s Day. 

P.S. Call or text your mom. Now! 

Mother's Day gift with food in background