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The Mother of All Restaurant Holidays: 14 Ways to Maximize Profits on Mother’s Day in 2023

For the restaurant industry, there’s no bigger holiday than Mother’s Day. After a year of doing most of the cooking at home, many moms (and dads) are eager to let someone else do the work.

Whether your customers are seeking a casual delivered meal at home or are excited to get out for an in-person dining experience, Mother’s Day is an opportunity to capture new guests, re-engage with existing customers, raise revenue, and re-invigorate your reputation.

Stats to consider:

  • 47% of moms say having a meal with their families is the gift they want most

  • 50% of moms would prefer to be treated to dinner over brunch on Mother’s day

  • Wine sales are 16% higher on Mother’s Day than the rest of the year, (7% higher than Valentine’s Day)

Make moms feel special and boost your bottom line with these 14 Mother’s Day Promotions and Tips

1 - Invent a new holiday: Mother’s Day Eve

Brunch and dinner are both popular Mother’s Day meal options, but some families can’t get out on the actual holiday or prefer to dine at home. Put an entirely new twist on the traditional Mother’s Day celebration by adding another day to your “biggest holidays of the year” calendar by extending your Mother’s Day specials to include the “eve” before.

This will open up reservations to more guests by accommodating families that might not be able to celebrate on the actual day. You can expand your customer base to those who work in the hospitality, healthcare, or criminal justice fields who don’t have the day off. Turn Mother’s Day Eve into a social media sensation by getting the word out a few days before the big day to let people in the community know you’re catering to moms who work or moms who still prefer to avoid crowds.

2 - Be All- Inclusive

Lots of people play the role of “mom” these days. Mother’s Day is a great opportunity for guests to acknowledge the people in their lives that they are appreciated and demonstrate your business’s recognition of inclusivity by honoring everyone’s mom, including families with two moms, aunts, grandmothers, and extended family – and be sure to get the word out on social media.

3 - Share Your Space with an Artist’s Market

Invite local artists and crafters to come to your outdoor space on Mother’s Day to display their wares. If your business is in a strip mall or shopping center, turn it into a mini art festival with other businesses. This cross-promotional opportunity will not only benefit your business, but the development of relationships that could spring up could be beneficial for future events and holidays.

4 - Free Meal for Mom

Offering freebies is always a great way to grab your customer’s attention. Offer a complete meal for mom with the purchase of another meal or if a free meal for the guest of honor is impractical for your restaurant, consider a steep discount. Set a minimum purchase or number of guests and stay flexible. Let your employees know that you’re willing to extend the offer to any mom and be sure to promote on social media.

If a freebie is out of the question, consider offering moms a complimentary dessert, mocktail, or appetizer.

5 - Sell them on a second visit

Why should the love only last one day? Given the high volume of traffic your restaurant may see, use the opportunity to invite guests in for other upcoming holidays like Father’s Day. Encourage guests to book Father’s Day reservations on the spot by offering a $25 credit if the family books their Father’s Day meal with you on Mother’s Day. Remember to extend your promotion to ALL dads as well as many moms play the dad role too. And by taking advantage of this profit-making holiday, you can turn first time customers into loyal guests.

6 - Open Early for Brunch

Opening for brunch on Mother’s Day, even if you don’t normally open early, allows you to get creative and experiment with new menu ideas. If it’s your restaurant’s first time serving the brunch crowd or you’re just looking for something new to serve your guests, here are a few unique menu options to try:

  • Challah French Toast

  • Frittata Stations

  • Gourmet Yogurt Bar

  • Keto Pancakes

  • Vegan Eggs Benedict

  • Acai Bowls

  • Smothie Bar

  • Gluten-free Banana Pancakes

  • Veggie omelet station

  • Sugar-free Decadent Desserts

  • LEO: Loxs, Eggs, and Onion Omelet

7 - Mocktail Hour

It’s no secret that wine sales reach their peak on Mother’s Day, so be sure to keep your wine bar stocked for the big day, but to appeal to those who don’t consume alcohol, creating a few special “mocktails,” (alcohol free cocktails) might be easier for some guests to swallow. Here are a few mocktail ideas to try:

  • Mocktini: Alcohol-free Martini

  • Virgin Mimosas: Orange Juice, Alcohol-free Wine, and Sparkling Water

  • Cranberry Spritzers: Cranberry Juice, Lime Juice, and Seltzer

  • Virgin Bloody Marys: Bloody Mary’s Minus the Vodka

  • Mockin’ Margaritas: Frozen Margarita Mix Sans the Tequila

*Hint: While you can still charge a premium for alcohol-free cocktails, not having to open your bar is great for your bottom line!

8 - Cater to Mom

Though reservations should be back to normal this year, there will always be families who prefer to celebrate at home. Create a special Mother’s Day package for mom’s big day by offering a variety of options on your delivery menu, from 5 course meals, to individual items, and everything in between.

Extend your dine-in Mother’s Day promotions to the eat-at-home crowd, and promote your delivery service, by offering a free side dish or dessert with every order.

9 - Breakfast in Bed Basket

Another off-premise option, similar to the meal kits we’ve all come to know and love, is a breakfast-in-bed basket to go. Include everything for a perfect breakfast in bed including french toast, croissants, pastries, lox, bagels, fruit, and mimosas.

10 - Picnic Basket

Another great delivered special is the picnic basket to go. Perfect for couples or families, create a picnic basket to go including all the accouterments including red and white checkered napkins and tablecloth, plastic champagne glasses, single wine bottles, nuts, cheese, fruit, croissants, muffins, and mini bagels.

11 - Mother’s Helpers

The fastest way to mom’s heart is a promotion that keeps the kids busy. Give mom the chance to sip her champagne in peace by offering a few mother’s little helpers.

  • Hire a magician, mime, or clown to perform tableside tricks.

  • Hand out blank cards and crayons to kids to make mom a handmade card.

  • Offer the kids tablets loaded with games.

  • Create “Mini Me” Meals: Let kids order from the grown-up menu by offering small portions of your main dishes.

12 - Farm-to-Table Prix Fixe Dinner

Fixed price menus make for popular Mother’s Day promotions at every meal. Guests love knowing how much they’ll spend in advance, and limiting choices means faster table turnover. Create a special Mother’s Day dinner inspired by the farm-to-table trend that focuses on organically-grown, in-season, local fare sourced from local farms.

13 - Liven Up the Mood

One sure way to attract crowds on Mother's Day (or any day, for that matter) is live music.

Keep with your restaurant’s general theme by featuring music that meshes with your restaurant’s personality or change it up to capture a new crowd.

14 - Make it a Game

Add a twist to your Mother’s Day promotions with these contest ideas.

Who needs a babysitter?: Ask moms to fill out a card explaining why they need a night out. Ask those who enter to provide their email address to grow your mailing list and ask the winner for their permission to share their story on social media.

Best Mom Ever: While mom writes her babysitter story, ask kids and spouses to nominate their mom for the “Best Mom Ever” award.

Hats Off to Mom: Moms wear many hats from chef to chauffeur. Invite moms to wear their funniest hats on Mother’s Day and award the best ones with a free dessert.

Funny Juggling Contest: Moms are the best jugglers on earth, balancing work, home, and shuttling everyone everywhere. Hold an actual juggling contest on Mother’s Day, rewarding the winner with a free meal.

Online raffle: For guests who’d prefer take-out or delivery, create a raffle where all mothers are eligible to win a $100 gift card just by placing a take-out or delivery order on Mother’s Day.

The Mother of All Holidays

Finally, Mother's Day 2023 is back to being one of the biggest holidays for restaurants of the year. Whether you're a casual street cafe, vegan take-out haunt, or a fine dining rooftop restaurant, there's room for everyone at the table on this big spring holiday.

Up your delivery game by using this day as an opportunity to cater to mom by delivering directly to her door; sidewalk cafes can offer a unique vibe for guests that may not normally dine in person; while outdoor dining venues can take full advantage of the holiday by promoting their open-air location.

Whatever you're serving, just remember, moms have a huge influence on a family's dining options on the remaining 364 days of the year. By making Mother's Day memorable, you can turn first timers into loyal customers, up your reservations and deliveries, and maximize profits.

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By Eileen Strauss


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