How restaurants can make Mother’s Day special, no matter where people are

Mother’s Day will be different this year for lots of us, but all the things that make it celebratory—family time, good food, and thoughtful gifts—remain the same. While filling every seat in the house and prepping for all the ways to surprise and delight moms in your dining room might not be possible, you can still do what you do best: create a memorable dining experience.

Make it easy for people to bring your restaurant experience home to the mothers in their lives, even those who may be gathering virtually this year. Get creative with ways to execute and leave a lasting impact on people celebrating on May 10—read on for a few ideas.

If you’re open for delivery and/or takeout…

  • Continue offering your takeout and delivery menus if that’s been working for you and consider adding special items for Mother’s Day. Food bundles or meal kits designed for at-home assembly add an extra layer of excitement for families, especially those with young kids. Try a brunch kit, cookie-decorating kit, or DIY pizzas with dough, toppings, and cooking instructions.
  • Make the meal memorable for Mom by including optional add-ons in your to-go packages, such as flowers, a mini bottle of champagne, or a free dessert. Strengthen those ideas by partnering with local businesses in your area: reach out to local florists or wine shops to sell their flowers and champagne with your meals.
  • Restaurants with the space and resources may also want to consider a virtual cooking or cocktail class and include a package with all the ingredients, such as a Bloody Mary kit or all the ingredients for your restaurant’s signature cocktail.
  • Because many moms and families may be facing hard times right now, consider offering affordable options or Mother’s Day specials.
  • Whatever you decide, you can add any Mother’s Day information or takeout details as a ‘special’ in your OpenTable profile to generate visibility and help streamline operations.

To help people create a great experience with your food at home…

  • Home dining rooms are the restaurant spaces for most people this Mother’s Day, so offer up expertise only a restaurateur can. Curate a playlist you would typically use in the dining room, and share it via streaming services for people to play at home.
  • Share a video on Instagram instructing guests how to plate the perfect spread from your to-go appetizers, entrees, and desserts. You can also share your floral arrangement and table-setting tips to enable an elevated dining experience.
  • Put any sommelier knowledge to work by sharing wine pairing recommendations, too—even better if you can sell your wine bottles to-go.
  • Get extra brownie points with moms with little ones at home by getting the kids involved: offer a craft or card that can be printed (by someone other than Mom, of course) and colored at home.
  • Keep in mind that many won’t be able to spend Mother’s Day in person with their moms, so consider sharing a beautiful photo of your dining room people can use as a Zoom background to enable a virtual “reservation” with their families, no matter how many miles apart.

If you want to spread awareness about your Mother’s Day offerings…

  • Even in the absence of reservations and a typical holiday in the dining room, develop a plan to promote your Mother’s Day offerings and encourage people to pre-order if possible. A week or two in advance, update your website, social media, and OpenTable profile with Mother’s Day themes and messaging.
  • If you’ve added any new online features or delivery technology just for Mother’s Day, test any new ways of ordering to make sure guests have a smooth experience with all the correct information.
  • Utilize previous Mother’s Day data by downloading your reservation sheet from Mother’s Day last year. Send a “thinking of you” email to those guests and let them know what you’re doing this year to celebrate Mom.
  • Finally, while fundraising and raising as much money as possible is still top of mind for many restaurants, offer guests a way to celebrate their moms later at your restaurant by promoting your gift cards. Include space for a personalized note, add a special Mother’s Day design for e-gift cards if you can, and consider offering a one-day-only discount on gift cards, such as 25% off. Your loyal fans can give their moms an excellent meal to look forward to.

For more advice from restaurateurs, tune in to our weekly webinar series, In it Together. See a list of upcoming events here, and register for free.

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