Why Mothers Day is the restaurant industrys most hated day

Why Mother’s Day is the restaurant industry’s most hated day

NEW YORK (CNN) – Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days for the American restaurant industry and presents restaurants with a tremendous operational challenge. Because of this, it gained a reputation among waiters and restaurant staff for being one of the busiest days on the calendar.

“Every waiter knows that work on Mother’s Day is hell. If I die and go to hell, I even assume it’s Mother’s Day. 365 days a year,” wrote Darron Cardosa in his book The Bitchy Waiter: I’m really good at pretending to care.”

What is so bad about it? From large groups that show up in waves (“most of us are here!”) to picky kids to check-split drama and coffee-cup delayers, restaurants hate this holiday. This year is likely to be particularly challenging as high inflation and soaring menu prices give some diners an extra sense of entitlement.

“The anticipation alone can make you anxious,” said Joe Haley, an abstract artist who works as a waiter at an Italian-American restaurant in Quincy, Massachusetts. It will be “stuffed”. People call for a last minute reservation, there are other people who made multiple reservations for mom to choose from and they never cancel… People who date their mom once a year tell you ” Nothing can go wrong!” he said.

But it does. With large tables, a few late guests can throw the kitchen into chaos. “And every family has at least one black sheep or father-in-law who cannot be counted on to save their lives. Mother’s Day: I fear him,” added Haley.

Chefs, servers and owners said guests had high expectations this year: special occasion meals at a time of rising food prices. In a post-pandemic world, luxury – or rather, the semblance of luxury and excess – is “in”. Across the country, customers will be upset if their $30 Eggs Benedict aren’t doused in caviar on Sunday.

Tastes have literally changed since Covid, said Chef Art Smith, Oprah Winfrey and Jeb Bush’s personal chef. He will be serving hundreds of Mother’s Day meals at his four restaurants, including his Homecomin’ at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World.

The people who come to visit? “You drink more. They want more carbs – if it’s mac and cheese, it has to be the cheesiest. But they want salads and they also want more vegetable side dishes. They just want more.”

A busy day for restaurants

The National Retail Federation forecasts that Mother’s Day spending will reach $35.7 billion this year, with a record $5.6 billion spent on a meal or outing alone, an increase of 6 % compared to the previous year. It’s the second busiest day in the restaurant industry, surpassed only by Valentine’s Day, according to online reservations site OpenTable.

Mother’s Day presents “an operational challenge,” said Shawn Walchef, owner of five Cali BBQ restaurants in the San Diego area. “It’s the busiest day of the year and even day visitors have the highest expectations. He anticipates some fuss around the patio tables – “In Southern California, everyone wants to sit outside.”

For many restaurants, this is the first major holiday since 2019 that hasn’t been overshadowed by the pandemic. “It brings together a lot of people who haven’t seen each other in a while,” said owner Binh Douglas, who opened Main Prospect in Southampton, New York, about 18 months ago.

He reckons Sunday diners will spend about 40% more than usual and that a third of adults will add the $19.95 “bottomless mimosa” to their meal. Fortunately, egg and seafood prices have been falling in recent weeks, he said.

Rising prices

But inflation has left its mark on Mother’s Day brunch. At Breakers in Palm Beach, Mother’s Day brunch at The Circle restaurant is $250 per person (up from $160 in 2019) with unlimited champagne cocktails and a table-to-table harpist.

At the family-friendly McLoone’s Boathouse in West Orange, New Jersey, which also has a waterfront buffet, brunch has gone from $49.95 in 2019 to $54.95.

Pricing is tricky. “Your Mother’s Day meal can’t be prohibitively expensive,” said Derek Axelrod, co-owner of the Upper East Side T bar-restaurant in Manhattan. Her Mother’s Day menu will likely cost over $100 per person but won’t make a huge profit, he said. They rely on the sale of spirits. Meanwhile, T Bar is adding touches like fois gras, cranberry, and chicken parfait to the menu.

Waiters and owners are also under pressure to “push the lobster.” Seven different restaurants at the Venetian Resort in Las Vegas serve Mother’s Day dishes that include lobster (The summary of all the resort’s Mother’s Day menus states that a subsequent gondola ride is an additional $39).

Ophelia, a rooftop restaurant near the United Nations in New York, cleverly solves the “luxury” problem by offering a menu where mom gets it all: fried quail egg, lobster, filet mignon, waffles and smoked salmon – but be You warned: It’s a $59 per person “bite bite” presentation.

In Naples, Fla., the hamburger is placed under glass at the Veranda E restaurant on Sunday, and a plume of smoke rises as it is exposed. “This is new to us,” says owner Mary Brandt, who will have four generations of women from her family in the restaurant.

To maximize profits and seating, chain restaurants are also changing. Ruth’s Chris Steak House, which has locations in about three dozen states, opens several for breakfast or brunch on Mother’s Day; There will be wild blueberry pancakes at the Fort Worth location. And some Red Lobsters are giving moms a 10% coupon off their next meal—even the Ultimate Endless Shrimp Feast.

So book now and tip your waiter. Of all the holidays, Mother’s Day is considered so stressful for workers that the National Restaurant Association recommends that owners ensure their waiters are “nourished and adequately hydrated” and given a “combat duty” bonus – especially mothers in the staff work the shift.

Quincy waiter Joe Haley has a better idea: “Why can’t you guys just make your mom breakfast?”