Mother's Day is big business for restaurants

Filed under: News |

For thousands of years, people across the world have observed Mother’s Day and its variations. Anna Jarvis is credited with starting the Mother’s Day tradition in the United States. Jarvis’ mother had wished for a global mothers’ day to honor and respect moms everywhere. After her mother died, Jarvis asked her minister to fulfill her mother’s dream by holding a Mother’s Day service in her hometown of Grafton, W.Va.

That was May 12, 1907, and by 1909, on the second Sunday in May, almost every state in America was observing Mother’s Day. On May 9, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making the second Sunday in May an official Mother’s Day celebration.

Fast forward to 2004, and mothers are not the only ones celebrating Mother’s Day. At the day’s end, restaurant owners are whooping it up, too. According to the Colorado Restaurant Association, Mother’s Day is the single biggest day of the year for dining out, surpassing Valentine’s Day and Christmas.

A National Restaurant Association survey found that 38 percent of Americans celebrate Mother’s Day by dining out. According to the survey, birthdays are the most popular day for dining out; Mother’s Day is a close second and Valentine’s Day is third. Respondents also reported they were more likely to dine out on Mother’s Day than Father’s Day. No surprise. Pete Meersman, the president and chief executive officer of the Colorado Restaurant Association said, for the most part, mom remains the chief cook and bottle washer in the family. “The majority of men prefer a professionally cooked meal on Mother’s Day,” Meersman said. “It’s a good day for everyone, from privately owned restaurants to large chains.”

The Steaksmith in Colorado Springs is extending its normal hours to meet the demands of Mother’s Day diners. Manager Marty Searcy said the restaurant will be open from noon to 9 p.m., offering the regular menu and a couple of specials. Searcy said Mother’s Day is the restaurant’s best because of the extended hours.

For 30 years, the Sunbird Restaurant has been a favorite among the Springs brunch crowd. Mother’s Day is “by a long shot” the biggest day for dining out at the Sunbird, said Debbie Renneberger, director of catering and acting general manager. She said reservations are coming in and diners can expect a flower for mom, a 100-food item buffet, plus a pasta and omelet station and a seafood buffet. The restaurant is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Mother’s Day hours at another long-standing, well-liked local eatery, the Peppertree, will change from the usual evening-only dining hours to noon to 6 p.m. Although the day is great for restaurant sales, manager Yvonne Castro said that “Christmas is bigger at the Peppertree.”

The World Villa Bistro in Palmer Lake also is extending hours to accommodate moms and their families on May 9. Owner Jeff Hulsman is hoping for a nice-weather day, so moms and their families can enjoy the spacious outdoor deck and flower gardens. Hulsman said the parties are usually larger on Mother’s Day – they have taken many reservations for groups of 10 to 12 for the daylong brunch that includes seafood, prime rib, mimosas and carnations for the women. Hulsman said Mother’s Day is his best day of the year.

What are the Springs men doing for their special women this Mother’s Day?

A random survey conducted by the CSBJ found that a majority of husbands, sons and significant male others are, of course, taking their mothers, wives and girlfriends to brunch, lunch or dinner.

There are always a few, however, who veer from the norm, like Dr. Dave Jones, a local dentist. As a former waiter, he said he and his restaurant colleagues dreaded Mother’s Day. He still is not fond of dining out on Mother’s Day, so he will be trading his dental drill for spoons and spatulas to cook a gourmet dinner at home for his wife and mother.

Ross Haycock is barbecuing Hawaiian-style chicken for his wife and mother, and, prior to the feast, he and his children are cleaning house for mom. Ken Jordan, happily married (he said) for a long time, is buying his wife socks for Mother’s Day. “They are really good socks and she wants them – honest,” Jordan said. Les Kowalsky said the CSBJ survey was “sexist in nature” because women were not included in the poll. “Women also have mothers – why is it always up to the men to take care of all the women on Mother’s Day?” Kowalsky asked.

Of course, many mothers will receive flowers from their children who flew the nest to far-away places. Dan Jensen, a favorite son no doubt, is sending his mom flowers to her office on the Friday before Mother’s Day and sending another gift on Mother’s Day eve.

Like the restaurants, flower shops are also raking in the business on Mother’s Day. Platte Floral knows best – the local flower shop has been rooted in the Springs for 82 years. Jerry Flynn is the manager, and he said Mother’s Day is “neck and neck” with Valentine’s Day.

Security Florist co-owner Barbara Stevens said the 37-year-old flower shop’s Mother’s Day business is comparable to Valentine’s Day. “Both are big days, but Mother’s Day is spread out over greater time,” Stevens said. “We start sending to mothers earlier in the week – prior to Mother’s Day, but you can’t do that with Valentine’s Day. We send out less roses than Valentine’s Day and more bouquets and flower arrangements. Stacey Nolan, owner of the Little Flower Shop in Monument said that Mother’s Day is “by far” their busiest – outdistancing Valentine’s Day.

Mother’s Day is also a day to remember moms who are no longer with us. Chuck Wood said he would have taken his mother to dinner and bought her flowers if she was alive. Instead, he wrote a poem: “I would like to take my mother to Charles Court. & Tell her what she means to me over a tender steak and chocolate mouse. & I’d end the day with flowers. But this year, flowers are all we have and memories of days past.”

-Editorial@csbj.com