Event ideas

The mothership has landed

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

The mothership has landed

Related tags: Castle rock brewery, Mother

Five ways to succeed with Mother’s Day

Engage the right people

It’s vital to start promoting the event now. The Old School Bar & Kitchen (OSBK), in Mount Hawke, Cornwall, claims its highly successful Mother’s Day last year was triggered by a “huge amount of engagement” through social media. “By using Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, our website and search-engine marketing, we managed to appeal directly to our target audience,” explains OSBK marketing consultant Ryan Sutton.

“Rather than just a typical ‘pub-style Mothering Sunday’, the event has to have some other appeal,” Sutton suggests. “We will be offering both best-sellers and original choices on the menu, as well as free prosecco and gifts to those mothers who attend, plus specifically-tailored live music.”

Extend the occasion

One clever way to boost Mother’s Day sales is to extend the event beyond the usual peak time Sunday afternoon period.

The Red Lion, in Stathern, Leicestershire, will be supporting the town’s ‘Duathlon’ running and cycling race on the morning of the day by offering showering and changing facilities for competing mothers who want to stay for lunch.

The Olive Inns' site will be serving teas, coffees and bacon and sausage baps from 9am, and then a set-price Sunday lunch from 12noon until 5pm.

“We won’t be offering any gifts, but having menu at a lower price point [two courses for £16.50, or three for £19.50] over a longer service will help us to maximise revenue,” claims Olive Inns co-founder Ben Jones.

With all its five sites performing to their maximum on the Sunday, Stockport-based Almond Family Pubs took the decision a couple of years ago to extend its offer to the Saturday too.

“Saturdays tend to be quieter for us, therefore, guests will be able to enjoy a cheaper carvery – just £7.25 for the full works,” explains company director James Almond. “We are also offering free desserts to mums.”

Spoil the mums

At the Golden Eagle, in Lincoln, owned by Castle Rock Brewery, plans include a Pamper Day, which will include Indian head massages, manicures, body wraps and make-up sessions – complemented by nibbles, canapés and a glass of prosecco.

“Most of the people offering their services are locals who drink in the pub, and the day will be good for their businesses as well as for us,” explains Golden Eagle events manager Tyla Hall. “We’ll charge an entrance fee, but it won’t be expensive.”

Say it with flowers

Offering gifts can be a simple but effective way to win over mums and encourage them to return in future years. At the Chequers, in Matching Green, Essex, Roberto Zeolla has been giving visiting mums a bouquet of tulips every Mother’s Day for the past 15 years. As a result, he says the same families tend to revisit every year. Similarly, the Shibden Mill Inn, near Halifax, West Yorkshire, will this year present mums with a bouquet of daffodils.

The other obvious gift is chocolate. ETM Group’s Jugged Hare, in Moorgate, London, and the Olive Branch, in Clipsham – owned by Olive Inns – will both be giving mums boxes of handmade chocolates to take home.

Keep the kids content

An important part of making mothers happy is keeping the children occupied. In the absence of any play facilities, the Shibden Mill Inn will be providing children with crayons and colouring-in sheets. “Mother’s Day is a family event, so it’s important to try and make everybody feel welcome,” says general manager Glen Pearson.

And that ethos extends to the food offer too. “Our special Mother’s Day set menu comes with a half-price rate for children, but if they don’t like any of the choices we still make our standard children’s menu available,” Pearson explains.

Licensees' tips

It’s not always about the money

“Booking policies are really important. Never hope that a table will be finished in time to squeeze a booking in afterwards – this is when you get in to a sticky situation. It's better to serve fewer customers well and really make someone's day special.”

Eilidh Ferguson, the Red Lion, Britwell Salome, Oxfordshire

Get your Sunday offer right

“If you work on perfecting your Sunday offer over the course of the year, then you can’t go too wrong on Mother’s Day. Families want to go to a place where they feel comfortable, and know what to expect.”

Roberto Zeolla, the Chequers, Matching Green, Essex

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