Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day – Restaurants

If you took anything away from last week’s Mother’s Day vs. Father’s Day analysis, you’ll hopefully have learned two unmistakeable facts: 1) Moms love flowers, and 2) Dads hate flowers.

Shocking.

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But this was just a microcosm of the broader notion that moms and dads simply like different things – at least when it comes to gifts and activities. How families dined out was a different story.

Overall, restaurants saw a 47% increase in revenues on Mother’s Day and a 22% increase on Father’s Day. These are 2nd and 10th busiest days of the year for restaurants, respectively. (Valentine’s Day was the runaway winner with 68% revenue gains.) But while the volume was different, the behavior converged significantly.

To Splurge or Not to Splurge… That Is the Question

How do Americans pick where to eat to honor moms and dads? If you’re a wine expert, the following analogy won’t make much sense to you. For the rest of us mere mortals, this will probably sound awfully familiar.

Think about the last time you had to go to a housewarming party and you had to bring a bottle of wine. How do you pick? Maybe you think “Napa” or “France” and go from there… but more often than not you’re going to ask yourself, “how much should I spend so that they’ll appreciate the gesture (after they inevitably Google how much it cost), but so that I don’t break the bank?

Well it seems as though Americans have taken a similar approach when it comes to dining out. The figure below shows the average spending increase on the two holidays for each price range (price range being defined as the average price index amongst popular online review sites):

While restaurants of all price ranges saw meaningful gains on the two holidays, there was a clear choice when it came to the most preferred. At 91% revenue gains, “$$$” restaurants saw twice the increases seen by their $$ and $$$$ counterparts. This was consistent for both Mother’s Day as well as Father’s Day (albeit at different magnitudes). Clearly families wanted to splurge, but not splurge too much.

Cuisine Style

When it came to cuisine style the two holidays, we once again saw significant agreement with seven of the top 10 options overlapping. Mediterranean, Steakhouses, Italian, Fine Dining, Japanese, Indian, and Seafood restaurants were all top choices on both Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

The worst performing Mother’s Day restaurants were predictable. Chicken Restaurants, Taco Restaurants, Burger Restaurants, and Hot Dog Restaurants all suffered significant declines compared to their more exotic (a.k.a. fancier) options.

Families were far less discerning on Father’s Day, with no particular cuisine style seeing significant declines, with the exception of one – Vietnamese Restaurants.

Wrap-up

While always interesting to see how American consumer behaviors unfold, none of our findings here were entirely unexpected.

Families spent more than twice as much celebrating Mother’s Day as compared to Father’s Day.  Mothers know best. Their knowledge, nurturing, and love shapes lives. They are the emotional center of most families. As Dorothy, from the In the 80’s sitcom The Golden Girls, put it, “It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

“It’s not easy being a mother. If it were easy, fathers would do it.”

-Dorothy, from the 80’s sitcom The Golden Girls

Ultimately, whether it’s a family with two parents, a single mom, a single dad, grandparents, step-parents, god-parents, or guardians, these are the people in our lives who influence us like nobody else. They deserve all the recognition in the world, and if spending is a good indicator, it looks like Americans are pretty good at giving them exactly what Mothers and Fathers asked for.

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