11 Out-of-the-box Mother’s Day ideas for your restaurant that go beyond brunch

There’s no one-size-fits-all Mother’s Day celebration for moms. Some prefer to dine at their favorite restaurant. Others prefer to try a new spot. Still, others want to celebrate with a unique experience, such as a cooking class. Deep down, though, moms want unique memories—and that’s why Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants.

This year, help people do something memorable for Mom by offering something different (beyond brunch). Newness is the secret sauce to creating lifelong memories. Research shows that introducing a twist to the familiar makes memories stick. Doing something different this year will set you apart from the crowd and help guests remember the day—and you—far into the future.

Here are some ideas for 11 different moms to get your creative juices flowing for unforgettable Mother’s Day experiences.

Mother’s Day Eve celebration for non-moms

For many, Mother’s Day brings up mixed emotions. Inviting people to celebrate the important non-moms in their lives can be helpful. Position the Saturday before Mother’s Day as Mother’s Day Eve, an occasion to celebrate aunts, teachers, neighbors, friends, mentors, or any special nurturing person who isn’t Mom. It can help make the holiday more inclusive for guests and give people another reason to make a reservation.

Daytime disco party for dancing queens

Some moms want to let loose on the dance floor from time to time. Create an opportunity for family-friendly fun with a daytime dance party. All it requires is some open floor space and a playlist that makes people want to move. (DJs are nice but optional.) Handheld food served buffet style will help keep guests on their feet.

Shop and dine combo for retail enthusiasts

Restaurants occupy up to 40% of space in a typical shopping center, so an afternoon of dining and shopping can add to a special Mother’s Day celebration. If you’re among the many restaurants in or near an area with plenty of shops, consider partnering with local boutiques to offer moms a discount on their special day. If the weather is usually nice, you could collaborate on an afternoon sidewalk sale and early evening dinner al fresco.

Game-viewing event for sports fans

Stereotypes, be gone. Many moms love sports, including baseball. Mother’s Day is also a game day for Major League Baseball. Celebrate their love of the sport by showing the game on your big-screen TVs and offering a ballpark-inspired Mother’s Day menu.

Live music for music lovers

Sometimes, something subtle can make a restaurant meal extra special. Bring in live music—a piano player, a singer, a jazz trio—to add to the ambiance for your Mother’s Day lunch or dinner service. Another option for the musically minded is karaoke. Belting out favorite songs as the family gathers over food and drink can be unforgettable fun for all.

Tarot reading for the mystics

New-age and spiritually-minded moms might love getting insight into the year ahead at a tarot-themed happy hour. Bring in a local tarot expert to provide one-on-one readings throughout the happy hour or draw cards for the whole crowd and talk about what it signifies or may portend.

Fun run for athletes

Many moms are fitness-minded and might enjoy some exercise to work up an appetite before their celebration meal—partner with a local charity to host a fun run or walk. Registration can include the price of lunch as well as a contribution to support the cause. Just remember to keep the atmosphere casual—runners and walkers will be in their activewear—and the meal options hearty enough to refuel them.

Comedy show for funny girls

An after-dinner comedy show celebrating the highs and lows of motherhood could be just the kind of experience people will never forget. A comedy experience could be part of a prix fixe dinner or a ticketed happy hour that begins after the dinner rush. You could also focus on dessert: Comedy, plus an ice cream sundae bar or cupcake buffet.

Cooking class for home chefs

A hands-on learning experience can be fun for the whole family. Whether you invite people into your kitchen to learn or set up a demo space in the dining room, you have plenty of cooking knowledge to go around. Teach attendees how to make a simple, family-friendly meal and then serve it family-style after the lesson so people can relax and enjoy a shared lunch or dinner.

Picnics to go for outdoorsy folks

Kids sometimes feel cooped up in a restaurant, which can put a serious strain on parents. A picnic is often a better bet, especially in pleasant springtime weather. Offer an experience to go by selling picnic kits that groups can take to the outdoor spot of their choice. Include foods you can eat without a lot of dishware or utensils, such as chips or vegetable sticks with dip; cheese, crackers, and charcuterie; or sandwiches and wraps. You can focus on packing up just the food and drink or upgrade with a wicker basket, a blanket, and cloth napkins that become part of the Mother’s Day gift.

Pajama breakfast for early birds

Kids and adults love wearing pajamas, so make it the dress code for a fun Mother’s Day breakfast experience. Stack the menu with classic morning favorites like pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, and oatmeal. It’s the kind of event that’s social media-friendly, with moms and kids in sets of matching pajamas snapping selfies and tagging photos of your house-baked scones and egg sandwiches.

There’s nothing wrong with hosting a classic Mother’s Day brunch. Plenty of families enjoy the tradition. But many will be enticed by something unexpected that helps make memories that last a lifetime.