What are the challenges that the restaurant industry faces on Mother's Day, and how are they different this year compared to previous years?
Mother's Day is one of the busiest days for the restaurant industry in the United States, presenting a massive operational challenge to restaurants. Big groups that show up in waves, food-fussy kids, splitting the check dramas and coffee-cup lingerers, and people who made multiple reservations are some of the challenges that restaurants face on this day. This year is expected to be particularly challenging as high inflation and rising menu prices give some restaurant-goers an extra sense of entitlement.
Moreover, guests have set their expectations high, demanding special occasion meals in a time of rising food prices. In a post-pandemic world, luxury, or rather the appearance of luxury and excess, is "in," and customers get aggravated if their meal is not up to their expectations. According to Chef Art Smith, people now drink more, want more carbs and the cheesiest mac and cheese possible, but also want salads and more veg sides.
The National Retail Federation forecasts that Mother's Day spending will reach $35.7 billion this year, with a record $5.6 billion alone spent on a meal or outing, up 6% from last year. It's the second-busiest day in the restaurant business, eclipsed only by Valentine's Day, according to online reservations site OpenTable.
For many restaurants, this is the first big holiday since 2019 that hasn't been overshadowed by the pandemic. However, inflation has left its mark on Mother's Day brunch, with prices going up compared to 2019. Moreover, pricing is touchy, and restaurants need to find the right balance between the cost of the meal and the customer's expectations.
Finally, to maximize profits and seating, chain restaurants are changing too. Ruth's Chris Steak House, for example, is offering a Mother's Day three-course meal that customers can order for takeout, while other restaurants are introducing new dishes and adding touches like lobster to their menus.
Why is Mother's Day particularly challenging for the restaurant industry?
How have customers' expectations changed since the COVID-19 pandemic?
What is the forecast for Mother's Day spending this year?
How do restaurant owners balance pricing and profitability on Mother's Day?
What creative menu items and presentation techniques are some restaurants using to attract customers on Mother's Day?
Which holiday is the busiest for the restaurant industry, besides Mother's Day?
How are chain restaurants adapting to the operational challenge of Mother's Day?