Mother’s Day is traditionally one of the highest-volume days of the year for restaurants specializing in upscale brunch, but foodservice brands across all segments see the holiday as a sizeable opportunity to boost traffic and are deploying promotions beyond brunch to attract mothers and families.
New research from online-reservation specialist OpenTable Inc. suggests that while brunch is still the most popular meal on Mother’s Day, marketing opportunities for restaurants exist beyond the mid-morning meal. Although 58 percent of people surveyed said brunch was part of their plans, 39 percent said the family planned to take Mom out to a special dinner — and roughly one-quarter of them said they may eat out more than once on Mother’s Day.
The survey results indicated another good sign for restaurants of all types: Twenty percent of respondents said they plan on spending more money this year for Mother’s Day. Three quarters of them said they plan to spend about the same amount as last year.
Among the restaurants taking advantage of Mother’s Day marketing opportunities beyond brunch is First Watch, a Bradenton, Fla.-based chain of 90 breakfast-and-lunch restaurants. For the sixth consecutive year, the chain will offer mothers a complimentary box of Russell Stover chocolates for dining in on Mother’s Day. Similarly, Nashville, Tenn.-based Shoney’s is giving away its Hot Fudge Cake to all mothers with the purchase of an entrée at its more than 200 restaurants in 17 states.
Fellow family-dining chain Denny’s is incorporating an interactive element for its offer of a free Skillet Cookie a la Mode. Guests can send their mother’s a free Mother’s Day e-card from the Denny’s website in exchange for a coupon for the dessert, redeemable on Mother’s Day. Spartanburg, S.C.-based Denny’s operates or franchises 1,685 restaurants.
Fazoli’s, the chain of more than 200 fast-casual Italian restaurants, also ran a digital promotion for Mother’s Day. The Lexington, Ky.-based brand was scheduled to name its “Mother of the Year” Friday, after several weeks of soliciting nominations on its Facebook page. The winner would receive free family meals at Fazoli’s for one year.
“Our moms take care of us 365 days a year, year after year,” chief marketing officer Cathy Hull said in a statement. “That’s why we wanted to continue the tradition of honoring Mom with a prize that will allow her to sit down and enjoy a quality meal with her family each month fo