lots of spring food ideas displayed on a tabletop

Spring Holidays Draw a Crowd. Here’s the Secret to Being Ready.

Easter, Mother’s Day and other holidays are opportunities to put some spring in the step of your business.

It’s time to set the table for the restaurant industry’s busiest day of the year—Mother’s Day. And don’t overlook Easter, another major dining out occasion. 

About 92 million people eat out and another 21 million order takeout or delivery on Mother’s Day, according to the National Restaurant Association (NRA). On Easter, upwards of 33 million people include a restaurant visit in their celebration. 

Add St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo into the mix, and you have a lot of potential customers. With proper planning, you can maximize sales, increase guest counts and showcase your food and new recipes. Our team of Gordon Food Service Business Solutions Specialists offer these five steps to drive business during the spring holidays and beyond. 

1. Planning makes perfect

Make sure you have a plan. If you didn’t do it this year, take advantage of the post-Christmas lull to write down your ideas and strategizing for St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Cinco, de Mayo, Mother’s Day or other spring events, such as the opening of your patio.

Many restaurants do buffets on Easter and Mother’s Day because it turns tables quicker, but it’s hard to do buffets well if you don’t do them all the time. Consider a brunch instead to create a sense of occasion and extend serving hours.

2. Get the word out

Start promoting your event as far in advance as possible—as much as 90 days—via in-restaurant signage, social media and email.

Also, reach out to your regulars for reservations. Consider a small discount or a special perk for reserving early. Mother’s Day roses and Easter candy baskets are great incentives. 

If you don’t normally take reservations, set up a system to accommodate them, even if it’s just training employees to take phone reservations.

3. Elevate and indulge

Even people who have been watching diets in the new year are willing to splurge for holiday occasions. Consider upping the indulgence with special dishes, desserts or drinks. Just make sure your kitchen and serving staff can execute new offerings. And don’t be afraid to charge more if you’re offering something more.

Also, think beyond food. What else can you do to enhance the dining experience? Valet parking? Live music? A complimentary mimosa for Mom? Extra details make memories and generate return visits.

4. Staff for success

Mother’s Day is an all-hands-on-deck situation. Make employees aware well in advance that they’ll all be expected to work it. Need additional staff? Start by reaching out to last summer’s crew. They’re already familiar with your operation.

5. Welcome guests and follow up

You’re likely to see a number of first-time guests. Train reservation-takers and/or serving staff to capture their contact information. After their visit, consider sending a bounce-back deal with a warm invite to come back.

During the holiday, be on the floor, greeting and interacting with guests. Encourage them to connect with you on social media to be in-the-know about future events and specials.

Review and assess

Sit down with your team a week or so after the event for a debriefing. What went wrong? What went right? What’s ripe for improvement? Document everything so you have it when creating next year’s plan.

The bottom line: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Cinco De Mayo and Mother’s Day are great business-building opportunities. Do them right to capture new customers and keep your loyal ones coming back.