Mother’s Day, mimosas, and the biggest money-making weekend for local restaurants

Over the next two days, local restaurants across America will experience their biggest weekend of the year. Without question, Mother’s Day is the #1 day for restaurants, according to our analysis of transactions at 26,000 local eateries in all 50 states.

In fact, it’s a better revenue day than Valentine’s Day (#107), New Year’s Eve (#84), St. Patrick’s Day (#48), and Cinco de Mayo (#36). And while each of those holidays is great for local businesses, not one of them causes a revenue spike like the one restaurants will see as 92 million Americans treat mom to mimosas and brunch this weekend.

Mother’s Day tops the chart in all but one state

It doesn’t matter what state you live in (unless you’re in Utah), if you run a restaurant, it’s likely that your two biggest days will come this weekend, as Mother’s Day and the Saturday before are the #1 and #2 sales days, respectively, for local restaurants nationally. Mother’s Day is the #1 day of the year for 44% of all local restaurants nationally!

Take a look at the breakdown below for more crazy stats about why Mother’s Day is the mother of all days for restaurant revenue.

  • It’s the #1 day of the year for 13 states (25%)
  • It’s a top 10 day for 28 states (55%)
  • It’s in the top 25 for 34 states (67%)
  • The top 50 for 42 states (82%)
  • And the top 100 for 50 states (98%)*, with Utah being the only exception

* Our restaurant analysis analyzed transactions in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. for the 2017 calendar year. For the sake of simplicity, D.C. is referred to as a state in this instance.

Mother’s Day was the single best day of the year in these states:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Maryland
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Pennsylvania
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

It was in the top 10 days for these states:

  • Florida – #5
  • Illinois – #3
  • Indiana – #2
  • Kentucky – #2
  • Louisiana – #6
  • Massachusetts – #4
  • Minnesota – #6
  • Nevada – #6
  • North Carolina – #3
  • Ohio – #7
  • Oregon – #4
  • Rhode Island – #2
  • Tennessee – #2
  • Texas – #3
  • West Virginia – #3

And made the top 100 for all other states, but one:

  • Alabama – #55
  • Alaska – #93
  • Arizona – #11
  • Arkansas – #96
  • Colorado – #16
  • Delaware – #99
  • D.C. – #44
  • Georgia – #16
  • Idaho – #45
  • Iowa – #46
  • Mississippi – #31
  • Missouri – #17
  • Montana – #17
  • Nebraska – #53
  • New Hampshire – #28
  • New Mexico – #87
  • North Dakota – #22
  • Oklahoma – #29
  • South Carolina – #55
  • South Dakota – #48
  • Vermont – #46
  • Wyoming – #99

The only state that isn’t taking mom out for a nice Sunday brunch is Utah, where Mother’s Day comes in as the 298 best of 365 days due to very low sales on Sundays in general.

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is the #2 day for local restaurants

We can’t talk about the impact of Mother’s Day on restaurant revenues and not mention the Saturday before. Mother’s Day gets most of the attention, but the Saturday before is the #2 day of the year for local restaurants.

In some states, the Saturday before Mother’s Day is actually better for sales than Mother’s Day itself. Take a look:

  • It’s the top sales day for 3 States (6%)
  • It’s in the top 10 for 28 states (55%)
  • The top 25 for 44 states (86%)
  • The top 50 for 50 states (98%)
  • And the top 100 for every state & D.C. (100%)

Whether people are taking mom out on Saturday because all the Sunday reservations are taken, or they’re using it so they can hold their Sunday traditions, there is no doubt that Mother’s Day weekend wouldn’t be what it is without the preceding Saturday.

Mother’s Day compared to the average day for local restaurants

For restaurants, we analyze revenue trends on three dimensions: average daily revenue, average number of transactions per day, and the average customer’s ticket size. Take a look at how Mother’s Day stacks up against a typical day for local, independent eateries.

Avg revenue: Last year, restaurants averaged about $2,824 on Mother’s Day. That’s a 64% bump in revenue compared to their average daily revenue of $1,721.

Avg transactions: Restaurants average about 48 transactions on any given day. On Mother’s Day, however, they averaged about 54 transactions; that’s a 12% increase.

Transactions don’t fluctuate very much for local restaurants. Even during their slow times, transactions tend to hold steady. A lot of this is based on the fixed number of tables and turn-over times. In a given day, the average restaurant can only seat so many customers. So, while transactions don’t see the same level of increase as daily revenue or ticket size, the fact that transactions see a 12% lift is rather substantial.

Avg ticket Size: Like their overall revenue, the average customer’s ticket size also saw a decent spike on Mother’s Day. Instead of the average $35 ticket size, the average customer spent $52 per transaction; that’s 47% better than the average day.

The Saturday before
Again, we can’t talk about Mother’s Day without taking a closer look at the preceding Saturday. Here is how it compares to the average day nationally.

  • Average revenue: $2,701 (57% higher than the average day)
  • Average transactions: 63 (32% higher than the average day)
  • Average ticket Size: $43 (22% higher than the average day)

Why do we look at these metrics? Most business owners are very familiar with their daily revenue intake, but a business’s daily revenue is actually the result of two metrics: the number of daily transactions, and the average customer’s ticket size. Instead of focusing solely on the day’s total revenue, we can see what days are the busiest, then customers are buying the most and when they are spending the most per transaction.

Mother’s Day in context

Mother’s day isn’t just the best day or weekend of the year for local restaurants; it’s also their best week of the year.

Restaurants see a 13% increase in daily revenues and a 6% increase in the number of transactions they process in the week leading up to Mother’s Day. During an average week, local restaurants typically generate about $12,078 in revenue over 340 transactions. During the week leading up to Mother’s Day, restaurant revenues jumped to $13,609 in revenue over 362 transactions.

To put that more simply, in the week leading up to Mother’s Day, local restaurants typically generate $1,531 more in weekly revenue. That’s nearly an extra day’s worth of revenue for that week.

A quick note on this graph: This graph shows week-to-week seasonality over the course of the year. The month labels on the x-axis provide context but don’t exactly represent each month’s four weeks. This is because some months start mid-week. For example, February started on a Wednesday, so the first week is counted in January’s last week.

Take action

Want to know more about restaurant trends in your state? Check out our 2017 State of Local Restaurants reports. We analyzed the daily revenue for 25,893 local, independent restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia for all 365 days of the 2017 calendar year. Restaurants were only qualified for the analysis if Womply had a full year of transaction history and the business recorded multiple transactions per day, on average. See how restaurants in your state compare!

Or if your business is in another industry, be sure to check out the first-ever Small Business Almanac. It’s designed to help small business owners benchmark their business performance and better prepare for their seasonal shifts. See how your business compares to national and state averages.

Extra Credit: Learn how to brunch like a pro. Bloomberg featured our Mother’s Day analysis this past week in a list of Seven ways you’re doing brunch wrong.

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