Mother’s Day remains the most popular holiday on which to dine out, as the National Restaurant Association projects that 75 million American adults will do so this May 8.

According to new research by the association, nearly half of moms would pick their favorite restaurant if they were to choose where to go for a special Mother’s Day meal. And, more than half of mothers say they enjoy celebrating Mother’s Day with a restaurant meal because it gives them a break from cooking at home.

“Restaurants are at the center of Mother’s Day celebrations, providing moms much-needed reprieve from the chore of cooking at home to instead spend quality time with their family and friends,” says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.

“Great gift suggestions include taking her out to her favorite restaurant on Mother’s Day, as well as giving her a gift card to that restaurant for future use.”

The National Restaurant Association’s new survey shows that when it comes to meal times, dinner is most popular on Mother’s Day.

  • 58 percent of Mother’s Day diners say they will go out to a restaurant for dinner on May 8
  • 32 percent will go out for lunch
  • 24 percent will go out for brunch
  • 10 percent will go out for breakfast.
  • 19 percent say they will go out for more than one meal that day

Kids are an important part of the mix when dining out on Mother’s Day. Two-thirds of those dining out on Mother’s Day this year say children under the age of 18 will join their dining party.

 The National Restaurant Association’s survey also specifically asked mothers about their wishes and preferences on Mother’s Day. When asked about the reason that best describes why they enjoy celebrating Mother’s Day with a special meal at a restaurant:

  • 51 percent say because they do most of the cooking at home and dining out gives them a break.
  • 27 percent say they mainly enjoy it because a restaurant is a great place to socialize with family and friends
  • 16 percent say that sharing a meal at a restaurant creates lasting memories that other gifts can’t.
  • 6 percent say they like dining out on Mother’s Day because they’re a foodie and enjoy visiting restaurants for any occasion.

 When asked about where they would like to dine for that special Mother’s Day meal:

  • 46 percent of moms said they would prefer their favorite restaurant, regardless of holiday specials.
  • 22 percent would prefer to celebrate at a restaurant that is kid-friendly
  • 19 percent find Mother’s Day specials the most important factor
  • 11 percent would like to visit a restaurant they haven’t been to before.

 The survey also showed that restaurant gift cards and certificates are popular on moms’ wish lists. Approximately one-fifth of mothers (19 percent) said that is their preferred gift this Mother’s Day.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,000 American adults April 21-23 about their plans for Mother’s Day 2011. The estimate of 75 million Americans dining out this Mother’s Day is based on economic analysis and projections, as well as research conducted by the National Restaurant Association over the last two decades. 

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