Busy days like Mother’s Day offer restaurants a chance to increase sales and bring in future business with word of mouth advertising. However, common mistakes often lead to Mother’s Day blunders that can seriously harm a restaurant’s reputation. Avoid these common mistakes as you get ready for Mother’s Day (or any busy day in the restaurant biz).
Restaurant owners (myself included) sometimes get greedy and overbook reservations. This is a common occurrence with new restaurants that haven’t yet experienced the hectic pace of holidays like Mother’s Day or New Years Eve. They pile on the reservations, booking large parties back to back, without realizing there is no way they are going to be able to seat and feed the parties in timely fashion. Keeping a reservation waiting for their table, on an important occasion such as Mother’s Day, is just asking for angry customers and complaints. A simple way around overbooking is to have two or three seating times. For example, have three different seating times, at 10 am, 12 pm and 2 pm. And have a clear cut limit as to how many people you can serve. Make sure whoever is in charge of the reservation book knows when to stop taking reservations for each seating.
If you are planning on significantly more business during Mother’s Day than you normally do on Sundays, staff accordingly. Many times owners don’t want to increase payroll, even during holidays. However, Mother’s Day isn’t the time to cut corners. Make sure plenty of staff is on to handle overflow. Also, make sure that the staff scheduled for Mother’s Day is the cream of the crop. Mother’s Day is not the time to train new employees. Let the newbies work as bussers, dishwashers or in another position that is easy to do without a lot of direction.
Many restaurants run a special Mother’s Day menu. This is a good way to take pressure off the kitchen if you have a full seating scheduled. A special menu (sometimes pared down from the regular menu) also allows the kitchen to prep more efficiently. When creating a Mother’s Day Menu try to keep a balance of dishes. Don’t put all the specials onto one part of the kitchen line. For example, If your sauté cook is doing all the work, getting the food out of the kitchen is going to be next to impossible. Add some easy to prepare items, like fresh salads or do-ahead casseroles that won’t take a lot of time to prepare. See a sample of a well-paced Mother’s Day menu.
Busy times like Mother’s Day can help make or break a new restaurant’s reputation. By avoiding these common restaurant blunders you can keep customers coming back week after week.