Maximize holiday sales, guest counts and customer satisfaction with these tips for navigating Easter, Mother’s Day and beyond.

Mother’s Day is the restaurant industry’s second-busiest day of the year according to OpenTable. And Easter likely isn’t far behind. With so many potential customers, you want to do everything you can to maximize sales. So we turned to our internal experts for tips on driving business during these spring holidays—and beyond.

1. Be strategic

Make sure you have a plan. Write everything down, and start early; the post-Christmas lull is a great time to start strategizing for Easter, Mother’s Day and other spring events.

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. Spread the word and secure reservations

Start promoting your event 90 days out via in-restaurant signage, social media and email.

Also, reach out to your regulars and ask them if they’d like to make a reservation. Consider offering 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

People aren’t typically watching their diets on these holidays, so think about upping the indulgence with special dishes, desserts or drinks. Just make sure your kitchen and serving staff can execute any deviations from the norm. 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? Consider extra details to make the experience really memorable.

4. Prep staff

Mother’s Day, especially, 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 welcome a number of first-timers. Train reservation-takers and/or serving staff to capture their contact information. Post-holiday, consider sending a bounce-back deal with a warm invite to come back.

Day of, 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 thorough 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: Easter and Mother’s Day are great business-building opportunities. Do them right and they can capture new customers and keep your loyal ones coming back for more.

Author

For over 115 years, Gordon Food Service has delivered the excellence, expertise, and quality products our customers need to design successful food operations and experiences. They have grown to become the largest family-operated distributor in North America by upholding the same business approach since 1897—being passionately committed to the people we serve. We believe in the power of good food—to bring people together and make moments special.