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Marketing for Mother’s Day and Beyond: How the right strategies can set you up for year-long success.

If you’re anything like me, you’re wondering where in the world March and April went and how in the heck May snuck up on us so fast! You know exactly what this means: Mother’s Day. It’s one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants across the country, and it’s imperative that you set yourself up for success. With the right marketing strategy, properly executed, Mother’s Day can easily turn into one of your most profitable days while simultaneously setting you up for elevated profits throughout the remainder of the year. It is the perfect opportunity, not only to win the loyalty of new guests, but also to ensure their frequent return. Here’s how:

1. Information Gathering: This is perhaps the most important tip of all: never miss out on the chance to collect a little intel. Chances are, you’ll be taking reservations for your Mother’s Day events, and reservations create the perfect opening for you to gather extra information from your guests. Make sure that you have their phone, email, and mailing address. Once your new guests are in your system, you can easily contact them about other special events and deals you may be offering in the future.

2. A Reason to Come Back: Think about giving each of your Mother’s Day guests a coupon or gift certificate to use upon their inevitable return. Again, it need not cost you an excessive amount of money or stress. The gesture itself is what will bring back your appreciative guests, both new and old.

3. Consider Your Target: When you think about Mother’s Day, your brain might automatically land on chocolate, flowers, and the color pink. (Moms supposedly love all of these things). But moms won’t be purchasing the gift cards or making the reservations. You know who will, though? Husbands and children: and husbands and children aren’t typically drawn to pansies and pastels. When choosing an advertising campaign, take your target audience into consideration, and come up with something that dads and kids will appreciate.

4. Special Promotions: Nothing gets people through the doors faster than a little something extra. Consider offering a free desert, glass of champagne, or complimentary bouquet for moms. I distinctly remember making hundreds of tiny heart-shaped cookies and wrapping them in little gift boxes to give away at the end of the meal on Mother’s Day. Our guests were blown away. Your extras need not be extravagant. It’s the little things that win guests’ loyalty and keep them coming back time and time again.

5. Do Something Different: If every restaurant in town is hosting brunch, set yourself apart by offering a special dinner service on Mother’s Day. Similarly, if you don’t usually offer brunch service, for example, consider giving it a go, just for the holiday. This way, your regulars will have the chance to experience something new, and you will concurrently attract an entirely new clientele.

6. Offer a Set Menu: Because Mother’s Day in a restaurant can quickly turn into a zoo, limit the number of items on your menu, or opt for a set-course, prix-fixe menu. Choose items that are simple and familiar to your line cooks and can be flung out of the kitchen at lightning speed without compromising quality or presentation. Prix fixe menus always feel special. They give your regulars the chance to try something new and are a great way to introduce and win over newcomers to your style.

Sometimes the most persuasive marketing strategies aren’t even strategies at all. Oftentimes, guests respond the most strongly to the ways you go the extra mile to make them feel special, welcome, and at home. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. Are you ready for Mother’s Day? What marketing strategies are you using this year? Please feel free to leave a comment below.