Restaurants ‘Slamming’ Busy on Mother’s Day
To generate additional business for tablecloth restaurants on Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 9), TRSA sponsored a two-week social media and remarketing campaign that encouraged families to take moms to these establishments, thus fulfilling TRSA’s mission to support these linen service customers. Web analytics showed high viewership of the campaign video and TRSA member linen, uniform and facility services operators reported increased demand from restaurants for the celebration.
“We saw an uptick in restaurant business, especially restaurants that use table linen,” reported Ben Fox, Alsco sales and marketing director. “Fine dining definitely had a break-through weekend. In talking with our national customers, they were booked solid throughout the day.”
Alsco personnel in locations across the United States began working with the company’s purchasing team as early as February to ensure proper inventory and encouraged customers to place orders early. COVID-19 was a factor. “We had to be very strategic as markets started reopening and having increased demand on inventory on top of the increased demand for Mother’s Day,” Fox said. “By all signs that extra communication helped us meet the inventory needs of all of our customers for the entire weekend.”
Launched on April 28 and running through Mother’s Day, the campaign was a landmark TRSA effort to reach linen, uniform and facility services customers. “This is the most engaging video we’ve run ads for in the industry,” said Jeff Wile, owner, Infinite Laundry, Coral Springs, FL, which has placed internet campaigns for TRSA and industry operators for a decade.
The TRSA video and campaign targeted typical fine-dining customers with remarketing ads on the Google AdWords platform. A female narrator reads the video script, saying, “This Mother’s Day, give mom the gift she really wants…the gift of sitting down for a fine dining experience with delicious food surrounded by loved ones. There is nothing quite like the ambience of the white table linen experience on Mother’s Day. Call and make your reservations today!”
The video ads were shown 39,648 times on Google’s YouTube platform and 44% (17,445) of the users who received the ad watched the 30-second video to its completion. Facebook/Instagram plays hit nearly 6,000 video views with 7,969 ad impressions.
Such high-level video engagement testifies to the quality of the video content and the custom audience used to target the ads. “Most other YouTube campaigns are in the 15% to 35% range depending on length, content, audience and other factors,” Wile added. The campaign’s success was also evident by the large number of TRSA members who shared the content on their own social media channels.
Mother’s Day and the day before are the two busiest restaurant spending days of the year, according to Womply, a software and data firm that works with credit card processors to collect data for 4 million small businesses across the United States.
The day before Mother’s Day produces a restaurant industry revenue bump greater than the day itself: typically, 62% more (compared with 60%), making it the biggest day of the year overall. But the 60% increase on Mother’s Day, making it the No. 2 day of the year, is “a particularly impressive feat,” Womply says, as 17% fewer restaurants are open for business that day.
Alsco branches began working with the company’s purchasing team as early as February to ensure proper inventory and encouraged customers to place orders early. “We had to be very strategic as markets started opening and having increased demand on inventory on top of the increased demand for Mother’s Day,” Fox said. “By all signs that extra communication helped us meet the inventory needs of all of our customers for the entire weekend.”
He added that, “No matter how much you encourage customers to order extra, sometimes even they get surprised with last-minute bookings. Our operations teams were on standby all weekend to ensure specials could be handled in a timely manner.”
Fox witnessed the phenomenon personally in Salt Lake City, home of Alsco headquarters, at Tuscany, a fine dining restaurant co-owned by former Utah Jazz All-Star Mark Eaton. “In talking with the GM, he said it was slamming all day!” Fox quipped. “Even Tuscany, who ordered more than they expected to use, had to call in Sunday morning because of last minute increased demand from guests who wanted to take Mom out to a nice dinner.”
The degree to which COVID-19 has stymied the restaurant business in various locales affected their Mother’s Day volume. In the San Francisco Bay area, there was a strong uptick in dining rooms, but with counties limiting seating to 25% to 50%, pre-pandemic levels were not reached, reported Richard Marzo, vice chair, TRSA F&B Committee. Still, customers were caught off-guard and had last-minute orders, as expected. His company, Lace House Linen Supply of Petaluma, prepared by having staff on-call and was able to handle all requests. “Ultimately, these specials were less than those we would consider normal, simply because of the capacity limitations,” he said.
Outdoor dining accommodated some of the additional business. Recently reopened fine and casual dining establishments drove much of the growth. Many of the latter “chose to remain closed during the past year because their menus did not translate well to takeout/delivery, so this was the first time in over a year for them to welcome back customers,” Marzo noted.