6 Tips for a Memorable & Profitable Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is known as one of the busiest day of the year for restaurants. And it’s right around the corner! You may be wondering how to handle the extra demand. Here are our best tips for creating a special day that your guests will remember fondly for years to come!

Staff Up

No matter how amazing your staff is, they do have their limits. Don’t try to run Mother’s Day as if it’s the same as any other holiday. Be sure to staff up with some of your best hosts, servers, bartenders, and kitchen staff. If at all possible, avoid scheduling folks for Saturday night and also Sunday morning. You want energetic, fresh staff members, not ones who barely got to sleep last night.

Include Brunch

Even if you normally don’t serve breakfast, Mother’s Day Brunch is pretty much the gold standard. This also allows you to extend your lunch hours into the late morning, which means you can accommodate more table turns and really cash in on the extra traffic. Put together a special menu with all of the usual egg dishes, pancakes, and the like. But also include options from your normal lunch menu to provide variety and versatility.

If this is truly out of your norm, you might even try a prix fixe menu. This will allow you to streamline your kitchen’s efficiency while offering dishes that aren’t part of your normal routine. It also makes ordering ingredients much easier when you have a more limited menu to take into account.

Avoid No-Shows with a No-Res Policy

For important dates like Mother’s Day, it’s not uncommon for guests to choose to book two or three restaurant reservations, and then let Mom choose the one she likes most. Other guests will book for a large party, in case siblings and other family members want to join in the fun, but then show up with only a few people. And then there are those who come and want to spend extra time enjoying the celebration and reminiscing about childhood memories, while keeping your tables full for much longer than you expected. You can avoid these difficulties and more by not offering reservations.

But doesn’t that mean you’ll have a crazy long line? Probably, yes. But guests without reservations expect to wait on Mother’s Day. And you can manage the line and keep your guests informed about the wait with a waitlist app, like NextME. Our app will text your guests with a link to their place in line, then again when it’s time to head back to the host stand. There’s nothing for the customer to download, and they can even view current specials, your social media, and your menu as they wait. It’s really the best of both worlds!

Partner with Other Businesses & Up Your Mobile Marketing Game

Some of the most fun Mother’s Day specials involve partnerships with other local businesses. Imagine offering moms some fun beyond the meal with coupons for the cute little gift shop across the way or the funky jewelry boutique down the street, or a discounted mani/pedi or massage at a local salon. Anything that might be a good way to pamper the mothers in your community would work perfectly here. Even discounts for maid service packages or getaway weekends at a local spa or resort would fit well for the holiday.

How to manage such promotions? You could do something simple like “just show them your receipt,” but it lacks a bit of flair. Handing out paper coupons is also a possibility, but again, may not set the right “vibe” for your restaurant. NextME can help here too. Through our mobile marketing platform, you can customize the marketing messages your guests receive while they’re waiting for their table. Include fun local coupons here, and they can go shopping or book their salon services while they wait! In addition to being a fun way to promote other local businesses (and earn their promotions in return), this can turn wait time into a fun family experience that adds to Mom’s delight, instead of detracting from an otherwise special day. You also can send guests to your social media pages, which has been shown to increase restaurants’ social engagement by up to 17%!

Adjust the Floor Plan

Mother’s Day brings out families, and sometimes they come in large groups. It’s easy to see how a mother of three grown kids, who all have families of their own, can wind up needing seating for a dozen or more. You’ll most likely need to accommodate plenty of large parties.

And while it may be tempting to cram in as many tables as your space can possibly hold, don’t overcrowd or you’re in for a difficult shift for servers, and uncomfortably close tables for guests. Remember to leave plenty of space for booster seats as you’re likely to use more of them than normal. And make use of outdoor seating areas by investing in heaters if it’s still a bit chilly in your area.

Afternoon Tea

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box too. Consider adding in a mid-afternoon tea for Mother’s Day. With plenty of finger sandwiches and bakery selections, this makes for a shorter, less expensive meal that helps to spread out your busy day a bit by offering unique dining hours. And it’s becoming more popular for those looking for something a bit special and unique. Just be sure to promote it heavily on social media so that guests know you’re offering a special tea service and can plan accordingly.

Ready to introduce NextME to your business? Call us at (877) 639-8631 or schedule a demo from us HERE!


How NextME Can Help Your Restaurant Improve Customer Retention

The restaurant industry is highly saturated, and with whatever initiatives you start, it’s essential to keep them going and supported. Many businesses start programs and never maintain them long enough for anyone to reap the rewards. This means that instead of running a ton of programs all at once, try to focus on one or two with flawless execution.

  • If you’re doing a rewards program, set a time length and stick to it (if not indefinitely).
  • Make sure your rewards are worthwhile (if you’re not sure what that is, list a few options and run a survey). With that said, regular surveys are a great way to learn how your customers feel about your restaurant in general. Best practice is making your surveys hyper-focused on one or two categories at a time so that they aren’t too long. You can even administer to customers at your restaurant with the receipt in exchange for a small discount. Not many people would turn that down.
  • Social media and online visibility tactics are important. Use tools like NextME that help with ops as well as increase customer engagement via social media to build the community alongside your brand.

NextME not only manages wait-lists (allowing your hosts to hold reservations in-app with only a cell phone number) but also can drive customer engagement with your restaurant earning you a lot more money. Here’s how . . .

1.) When someone visits your restaurant on a busy day, they speak with a host who adds them on the waitlist.

2.) The NextME app will send the patron a text message with a clickable link that will take them to a custom page that shows their position in line (The quoted wait time is entered by the host/ess). We call this page the mobile marketing page

3.) This page will be styled and branded based on what the restaurant wants to drive traffic to. Host your menus, drink specials, social media profiles and more. On average we are getting 30 minutes of consistent engagement from each customer which means people are staying on this page interacting with the digital assets we place on it. That’s an extremely healthy amount of time when it comes to advertisements and engagement.

4.) Because the app uses SMS messaging, patrons are free to leave the restaurant to shop, or other activities while they wait (opening up opportunities for you to cross advertise using the mobile marketing page) and leverage other businesses to market your restaurant.

When its close to the time they should be seated, a text will prompt them to confirm if they want to keep the reservation with a reply of “1” or cancel it with a reply of “2”.

We’re currently in hundreds of restaurants and growing fast. Here’s why...

Customers DO NOT have to download the app. The app interacts with customers cell phones and mobile browsers.

You can add people to the wait-list who do not have a cell-phone.Hosts love us, because it significantly reduces the chance of error and resulting fallout from seating the wrong party at the wrong time.

Hosts love us, because it significantly reduces the chance of error and resulting fallout from seating the wrong party at the wrong time.

Built in Table Tracking

Managers and Owners love us because of the fine-tuned data we produce that help them make high level decisions.

We are inexpensive with a low price point. Our most popular plan is $59.99 a month but we have plans as low as $19.99 a month. View NextME Pricing.

Ready to introduce NextME to your business? Call us at 408.909.6398 or schedule a demo from us HERE!


Table Tracking Feature - NextME Restaurant Waitlist App

We’re happy to announce that we’ve made some updates to the NextME App. We want to thank all of our existing customers for their valuable feedback as their input has gone a long way into helping us to determine new features to include. With that said, lets take a look at whats new!

After launching NextME, one of the most requested features has been the ability for hosts to easily track table numbers. The addition of table tracking as a feature allows us to offer more robust analytics and contributes to the accuracy of our quoted wait times.

Table tracking is accomplished by simply adding the table number you anticipate seating your patrons in the “Table #” field on the live waitlist.

 

 

With NextME, I never have to worry about using pagers, taking notes on what patrons look like, or shouting names over people in a loud room. I have more time to help everyone who walks in, and the customers are seated faster. Everyone wins!

Want to learn more about NextME? Head to our website to see what it’s all about! And don’t forget to check out Kuma’s Corner to get your ultimate burger fix.

Happy Waiting!


Your Friday Night Just Got Better

We’ve all been to a restaurant when it’s busy: The waits are long, and if you live in a city like Chicago, the waits are even longer.

Although Chicago doesn’t have a shortage of fantastic restaurants, everyone seems to know which ones are the best. For example, if someone wants deep dish, they’ll probably go to Lou Malnati’s. If they want a good burger, they’ll go to Kuma’s Corner.

(I may be a little biased because I work at Kuma’s Too, but that’s beside the point.)

This is the famous Kuma burger, and you probably got hungrier just looking at it.

Whether you’re in the industry or not, we all know what it’s like to be hangry. We trade an hour wait for the certainty of a delicious meal. Yet, knowing this, we’re always filled with an irrational mix of anxiety and rage until the host says that message from above — “Your table is ready!”

As a hostess myself, I’ve seen customers’ faces light up all too many times after giving them the good news. I’ve also experienced the looks of panic and subtle death stares when I tell people they have to wait 45 minutes to an hour to be seated. The servers constantly bringing out burgers, mac and cheese plates and wings that saturate the room with a delicious aroma of homemade buffalo sauce doesn’t help, either.

Lucky for me, working at Kuma’s has its perks: Between the friendly staff, delicious food, and awesome beer selection, I definitely haven’t had much to complain about. Plus, they have an awesome digital waitlist app called NextME that I use when the restaurant gets packed. It not only makes my life easier, but helps increase table turns and decrease hangry customers.

Since Kuma’s doesn’t take reservations, NextME does a great job at managing our walk-ins. All I have to do is enter the patron’s name and number into the digital wait list, and the app will send diners an automated text saying which spot in line they’re in using a web link. When it’s someone’s turn to be seated, I press a button that sends them another text telling them their table is ready. I don’t even have to tell my customers to download anything!