Mother's Day Specials Enticing The Wrong Person

LOS ANGELES , May 7, 2014 () – As someone who takes his mother out to eat every single Mother’s Day, I struggle to take advantage of restaurants that offer Mother’s Day specials to entice customers to come in on the Hallmark-created holiday.

Here’s the problem: The deals appeal to me. I’d love nothing more than to save money. I’d love to treat my mom to 10 Original Sliders from White Castle for $2.50. Or I’d love to take her to Hometown Buffet where a) the prices are already cheap and b) I can also get a “Two Can Dine for $15.99” coupon for use on a future visit.

Why is this a problem? Because I’m not the one you need to sell. I’m not the mother. I don’t decide where we go to dinner. I’m just the guy paying for the meal. My mom, along with most moms, is going to choose a restaurant based on where she wants to go, not where her child can spend the least amount of money. This may be the one time of year where moms feel entitled to be completely spoiled. I mean, the holiday is specifically for them! They’re going to want to splurge, especially when they don’t have to pay for anything!

Now sure, as the one picking up the check, I can certainly try and nudge her in the direction of a restaurant that’s offering a great Mother’s Day deal. But what am I supposed to say? Hey Mom, I know you really want to go to that fancy Italian restaurant, but would it be OK if we went to Hooters instead? They’re offering a free entrée of up to $10 with any drink purchase to all moms, and besides: You like fried pickles, don’t you?

That’s a conversation I’m not going to have with my mom, because it’s a conversation I don’t think I’d survive!

I applaud restaurants’ efforts to offer Mother’s Day deals to bring in customers. It certainly can’t hurt. But to be more effective, you can’t just impress the one picking up the tab. You need Mom’s approval too.

Nevin Barich is the Food and Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence. Email him here or follow him on Twitter here.

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