The busiest day of the year for the foodservice industry, Mother’s Day boasts approximately 92 million diners and 21 million takeout diners, according to the National Restaurant Association. Not far behind, Easter ranks fifth on the list of busiest holidays with more than 33 million people celebrating at restaurants.
As one of the most beloved dayparts, brunch is a popular category that presents numerous profit-building opportunities during spring holidays. Executing brunch during high foot-traffic events requires a solid strategy that includes all aspects of your operation, from front and back of house to marketing. Implement a customized strategy for your spring holiday brunch (or any category/holiday throughout the year) to impress current patrons, seize new business, and maximize on people and profits.
Maximize Your Menu
Are you profiting by applying the same procedure every year, or is it time to revisit your approach? Start by evaluating your menu to ensure it’s modern, fresh, and distinctive, assuring some items capitalize on indulgence, an aspect many customers are seeking on special occasions.
To save on time and food cost, consider how innovative items from other categories can be cross-utilized. For example, if you serve Hormel Natural Choice® All-Natural Uncured Applewood Bacon during dinner service, incorporate it the following day into prime brunch items like a BLT with an added depth of flavor from bacon-infused mayonnaise. Or, offer diners a next-level experience by featuring thick strips of all-natural bacon hung from clothespins for a bold and trendy bacon clothesline. Whether the bacon is candied or paired with signature sauces such as sriracha yogurt or cherry barbeque sauce, this type of presentation is bound to create buzz and make for a memorable event.
Seafood is another trending protein that’s perceived as a value-added option and is especially prevalent in the spring. Add sustainable varieties to your menu such as Pierport® Haddock, and hook customers by featuring it in a saffron-fennel cream bisque along with mussels and shrimp. Serving a specialty menu that emphasizes seasonality, trending concepts, and bold flavors can take your brunch from boring to brilliant.
Define Your Approach
Set aside time to consider how different strategies might impact your brunch service. While buffets allow for faster table turnover and reduced labor costs, fixed price menus better showcase your culinary creativity and allow you to estimate profits in advance. The key to success, no matter what method best suits your restaurant, is differentiation. Interactive stations and eye-catching desserts make a brunch buffet more distinct while adding beer, wine, or cocktail pairings to prix fixe menus for an added charge strategically elevates the celebratory experience and increases check averages. After the events are over, review and document what approaches worked and what didn’t, so you can recall and improve your strategies for next spring.
Menu Memorable Limited-Time Offers
Limited-time offers (LTOs) are profit centers for special occasion brunches. If you specialize in seafood, a raw bar and seafood tower are both impressive, indulgent options that demand premium price points. Themed offerings are also a trendy way to attract customers and drive profit and repeat business. Resonate with customers on Mother’s Day with an LTO “Mom-osa” offering, or serve limited-time Easter deviled eggs or Easter-inspired cocktails. Spring holidays are also ideal for offering signature holiday takeout options that build sales and revenue and are perfect for convenience-seeking customers looking for a hassle-free celebratory meal.
Prepare Your Team
With the substantially increased foot traffic for holiday brunches, your staff needs to be all-hands-on-deck. Make sure your front-of-house is well versed on all of the menu offerings, and have your A-team in place to get tables turned quickly and efficiently. Make sure your back-of-house has all the ingredients necessary and that they are familiar with executing the menu. Get in touch with your Maines Territory Manager to ensure all of your essential brunch items are stocked and ready to go.
Market and Merchandise
Promote your brunch events as early as three months in advance in-house, on social media, and through email to impact customer turnout. Tease your followers with photos and descriptions of what they can expect on your special brunch menus, and showcase different ways you’ll elevate their experience beyond food, for example, live music or a Bloody Mary bar. On all digital platforms, be sure to include a link with a call-to-action that directs diners to a site where they can make reservations. Spreading the word early is key to keeping your restaurant top-of-mind for these seasonal celebrations.
With all the moving parts of the busiest brunch days of the year, your entire staff must work together to ensure service is more than satisfactory for every customer that chooses to celebrate at your restaurant. Once you’ve implemented these business-building strategies from start to finish, you’ll have the tools, experience, and confidence to navigate any high-traffic event from Mother’s Day to Easter and beyond.