April 30, 2024

Restaurants play big role on the mother of all dining-out days

New research finds many customers plan to eat out or order in on Mother’s Day to celebrate the special women in their lives.

Consumers expect to frequent restaurants, particularly during lunch and dinner, or plan to order celebratory takeout or delivery meals.

With Mother’s Day around the corner, new National Restaurant Association research finds 43% of consumers plan to use restaurants to celebrate, with 34% saying they’ll dine out and another 12% expecting to order takeout on the special day.

May 12 will be busy for restaurateurs nationwide. According to our survey, consumers expect to frequent dining establishments, particularly during lunch and dinner, or plan to order celebratory meals via takeout or delivery.

Here are some top takeaways based on 1,000 consumer responses to the Association’s online Mother’s Day survey, conducted April 26-28.

Why choose a restaurant for Mother’s Day?

When asked why they plan to dine out or order takeout/delivery this Mother’s Day, respondents say the reasons are simple: 
  • 56% want to pamper the mother-figures in their lives, or even themselves.
  • 48% would like to create a special experience with family and/or friends.
  • 39% would like to avoid cooking or cleanup at home.
  • 28% say convenience is a factor.
  • 17% want to try new/different flavors or cuisines.

On-premises Mother’s Day dining

Typically, one of the year’s biggest dine-out days, if not the biggest, Mother's Day is that festive occasion when families show appreciation to the matriarchal figures in their lives and relieve everyone of the hassle of cooking and cleaning up and just enjoy being served.
  • This year, 52% of individuals say they’ll visit a restaurant on Mother’s Day for dinner, while 43% plan to dine out for lunch.
  • Brunch is also popular, with 28% of respondents planning to visit a restaurant for that meal, while another 13% plan to go out for breakfast.
Individuals planning to visit restaurants on Mother’s Day were asked what would make it more likely for them to choose one restaurant over another. 
  • 39% would select a restaurant based on whether it offers a special Mother’s Day menu.
  • 36% would choose a restaurant if It offers a free add-in, like special cocktails, desserts, flowers, chocolates, or a small gift for Mom.
  • 33% would dine at a restaurant offering a Mother’s Day discount.
  • 28% say they’d choose a restaurant that takes reservations.
  • 27% would like their restaurant of choice to offer outdoor seating on a patio, deck or sidewalk.
  • 13% would like to dine at a restaurant where they are loyalty program members.

Off-premises dining trends

Customers planning on takeout or delivery say discounts, meal-bundling, curbside pick-up, and alcohol-to-go service are among the important factors when choosing a restaurant to order from.
  • 47% say they’d select a restaurant offering a Mother’s Day discount.
  • 45% would choose a restaurant offering multi-course meal bundles (appetizer, entrée and dessert).
  • 42% would choose a restaurant offering free add-ins for Mom, like special cocktails, desserts, flowers, chocolates, or a small gift.
  • 36% would select a restaurant offering free or discounted delivery.
  • 24% would like their restaurant choice to offer a discount for picking up the order early.
  • 24% would choose a restaurant with curb-side pickup.
  • 21% would select a restaurant including alcohol beverages with the order.
“Restaurants are a cornerstone for the celebration of Mother’s Day,” says Hudson Riehle, the Association’s SVP, Research & Knowledge. “Whether it’s dining on site or ordering takeout or delivery, America’s restaurants now offer more choices than ever before. This allows Moms to focus solely on socializing with family and friends, while also exploring new cuisines, flavors and beverages. Operators are recognizing the substantial opportunities that this special occasion presents and are going to great lengths to offer a variety of special menus and promotions to correspond with it.” 

Learn more about research trends in the restaurant industry here