Two wine glasses being clinked.

Consider extending your Mother’s Day specials out for a week or so to make it available to a wider customer base.

How to Maximize Mother’s Day in 2021

Here are five ideas for how you can take advantage during this strange year.

Few people deserve to be celebrated more than moms. They give birth to us, feed us, put up with all of our shenanigans. To quote NBA superstar Kevin Durant describing his own mom after he won the 2014 Most Valuable Player, “They the real MVPs.”

Which is why Mother’s Day remains the most popular and profitable holiday for restaurants. There’s no better excuse to make a reservation and treat your mom to a fancy brunch, lunch or dinner. Because of this demand, Mother’s Day represents a massive opportunity for restaurants.

Admittedly, COVID has complicated that prospect, but that does not mean you can’t celebrate still. Here are five ideas for how you can take advantage during this (admittedly) strange year:

Create a Special Menu

Design a prix fixe or specials menu that’s unique to Mother’s Day and makes the day feel special. Every meal starts with the menu, so giving your customers a special holiday one immediately sets up this meal as something more. Many restaurants offer specific Mother’s Day specials anyway, so you’ll need a new menu.

If you’re looking to cut some costs this year, consider going with an online menu. They’re easy to update with your specific Mother’s day dishes, you don’t have to pay for printing, and customers have become increasingly comfortable using them over the past year.

Since many customers will be interested in ordering takeout this year, you can add your specialty menu on a landing page or directly on your website. If you’re offering outdoor or limited dining, print a QR code on a table tent that links to your menu for easy access from a smartphone.

Also consider extending your Mother’s Day specials out for a week or so to make it available to a wider customer base. Maybe someone traditionally does Mother’s Day at home with their family, but they are curious about your specials this year, or they simply don’t feel like cooking. Why not offer extend your Mother’s Day menu for the entire week or weekend? Featuring your menu for longer than just one day could be a great opportunity to reach more customers.

If you’re looking a quick fix on a new Mother’s Day menu—print or online—menu template services make it easy to pick a design and customize it for your meal.

Deals, Deals, Deals

Looking for an excuse to run a promo? Mother’s Day is a great holiday to offer fun deals with its optimistic and joyful tone. Customers will be planning to order from their favorite restaurant for the holiday, but others might be looking for a new restaurant to try. Coming up with a unique deal or offer is likely to resonate with customers that are debating between places to eat.

Some ideas:

  • Percentage discount off the total order
  • Moms Eat Free (When Accompanied by Kids)
  • Family meal deal
  • Free or discounted delivery on takeout orders

Mother’s Day To Go

Although the restaurant industry continues to open up as the country shifts into a post-COVID reality, there will still be a large segment of customers who prefer to celebrate Mother’s Day in the safety of their own homes. As we saw with Thanksgiving, Christmas and Valentine’s day, though, restaurants can still reach them if they offer holidays meals to go.

Since Mother’s Day dishes tend to be more high-end, and those do not always travel well, here are some things to consider:

  • Can the dish be sold as a reheat meal?
  • Are all the dishes going to retain heat the same way?
  • Do you need dividers?

The takeout packaging is another area where you can mix it up and give your customers something special. Pump up the holiday excitement by being festive with your menu design, decor, and takeout packaging. Takeout bags, boxes, stickers, and labeling are all great opportunities to bring your theme into people’s homes.

Some ideas:

  • Family-sized meals/meal kits/boxes
  • “Crafting with your kids” Mother’s Day coloring page or other craft
  • Option to “send a friend a dinner”
  • Dinner, dessert, and drink meal combos so people can treat themselves

Make It Interactive

Help your customers spend intentional time with their loved ones by offering a virtual cooking class tailored specifically for children to enjoy with their mom’s. Customers can order the ingredients they need from your restaurant ahead of time, then join the class virtually from their kitchen. Mix up your classes for different age groups so all levels of chefs can get involved.

Another interactive option is a meal kit. Offer a kit that includes tips on setting a festive spring table and mood. Or one that has instructions on how to add finishing touches to the meal. Any ideas you have will make the meal more fun and engaging for your customers. These can be written instructions you add to the box, or a link to a QR code with a video of your chef giving these tips.

Get the Word Out

Make sure potential customers know you’ve got something good cooking’ up by putting restaurant flyers in your windows, sandwich boards along the sidewalk, updating your social media channels, or sending emails to your mailing list. Hitting multiple channels, and more than once, is a great way to be top of people’s minds as they make plans (or last-minute decisions!) for the holiday.

This year especially, with the reduced foot traffic, many customers will be looking to social media for your updates so be sure to keep them informed on these channels, and consider offering some form of giveaway. Whatever methods you choose to build excitement, make sure to feature your specialty menu, any discounts you’re offering, gift certificates you have available, or anything else customers will want to know.

I think after 2020, everyone could use a little celebration of the women in our lives who make it happen. Give your customers an excuse to share that with each other with a special Mother’s Day meal at your restaurant.

Mark Plumlee is the senior editor for MustHaveMenus, a menu template design service. He writes about restaurant marketing and design.

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