Not everyone has a mother, but a lot of people have at least someone they consider a mother figure or someone they honor on that national holiday on May 14th. Additionally, Mother’s Day, no matter how many people have a mother or grandmother or mother-figure to celebrate, is one of the busiest days of the year for most restaurants or similar businesses. This means you should A) be prepared for that amped up business and B) give people as much incentive as possible to come celebrate at your shop.
Now, restaurants are the places that tend to get most of this business, so a coffee shop may not be the priority this day, but that doesn’t mean it absolutely won’t be and it certainly doesn’t mean you can’t make it. First, be aware of the restaurants in your area; if they are taking large numbers of reservations, you may be able to collaborate or piggy-back off their business. You can put up signs promoting Mother’s Day specials, like “Mom’s Eat free” or something along those lines. You can advertise your space as Mother’s Day Dessert or after-dinner espresso. You could offer any customers the opportunity to get a discount on drinks if they’re buying for their mother, or a discount on pastries, etc. You can post posters of famous mothers, even cartoons.
If the restaurants in your area are going to have a waiting list for non-reservations, you can promote your space as a place to wait, especially if you know the restaurant texts/calls waiters (instead of them having to be on site). You can promote this as a weather consideration, even: “Keep Mom warm while you wait, half-priced lattes when you buy her a pre-dinner drink,” or something along those lines.
If you have a more comprehensive menu, you can offer a Mother’s Day Dinner special yourself, promoting items with Mother-themed dishes, or Mother’s Day puns; you can take reservations and decorate with flowers. You could personalize with “thank you” place cards for the Mother’s, and you could even go as far as to ask whoever is making the reservation if they want to include a personalized message on their mother’s place card. If you offer brunch, you may have a good shot of drawing the Mother’s Day crowd. You can offer a Mother’s Day prix fixe menu or one-day specialized dishes along the theme.
Prepare your space for children, as Mother’s Day celebrations are likely to come with these pint-sized guests in tow. Make sure you’re set up with booster seats, high chairs, a place for strollers, a children’s menu, children’s entertainment (with minimal mess risk). One idea would be to offer children in tow the opportunity to make a card for mom so that they’ll be distracted enough for the adults to have their fun time and they’ll be participating in the celebrations of the day.
If you’re taking reservations, make them available well in advance; people know that reservations tend to fill up fast in most places and many of them will want to plan ahead. I would also recommend leaving some spaces open if feasible for those people who want to celebrate but didn’t get the memo about planning ahead (poor procrastinators like myself).
The key, ultimately, is to offer something to the mothers in each group: a free dessert or treat, a free coffee of their choice, a flower/bouquet (depending on your financial capabilities), coupons or gift cards, or even a general discount. Most likely, these Mothers will be celebrating with their families, meaning that the discount will be a draw for a larger group mostly paying full price. It’s an opportunity for elevated and stimulating customer engagement.
You can also plan ahead with your regular customers and give them a deal for bringing in a picture of themselves with their moms. Or perhaps you can have them create a hand-made message for mom’s in general, which could earn them a free coffee and be posted on your walls for all the mothers who come through during that week to feel adequately appreciated.
In addition to the place card for mom idea, you can set some sort of reservation bow or rope indicating where the mom should sit (this would help your servers know who to give the special treatment to if you have servers). Your decorations can be traditionally floral and “women” themed if you want, but you can also go with more modern colors and florals, choices that work with your general aesthetic and don’t feed into gender norms so exclusively.
You can get as specific with this as you have the means to. You could have people making reservations request their Mother’s favorite songs which could be compiled into a playlist for the main dining times throughout the day; if you can plan well enough ahead, you could also survey about your guests’ mothers’ favorite dishes and see about incorporating them in some way.
Promote online. You can even keep things simple for Mother’s Day and offer discounts online to bring into the store, or to buy your retail items cheaper just because, mothers.
You could also consider creative options for people without a mother or mother-figure to celebrate with, to further optimize your customer engagement. “Free for moms, half priced if you miss your mom or there’s not a mom in your life to celebrate today.” You could do something about everyone being family in your space; you could even have some extra fun by promoting a mom auction (not a dirty one, come on guys) or some kind of mom-inspired event where even people without mom can participate with a group of mom and non-moms (this language is a bit clunky, I apologize).
One social media idea would be to build up to Mother’s Day by posting pictures of your employees and/or customers with their mothers with an anecdote in the caption and then a promotion of whatever you’re offering for Mother’s Day. This personalizes the holiday and gets people thinking about it in advance, with a nostalgic and appreciative air. Making your promotions as personalized, interactive and well-thought out as possible is the best way to engage your guests, make them remember and appreciate you, get them to pay and tip more, and get them to tell their friends and keep coming back!