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Consumer Trends

OpenTable predicts a blockbuster Mother’s Day for restaurants

Data shows dining reservations up 64% compared to pre-pandemic levels.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Data from OpenTable shows that restaurant reservations for Mother’s Day are up 64% compared to 2019.

The spike in reservations indicates a strong demand to once again dine out in a restaurant with loved ones. In fact, a recent survey by OpenTable reveals that one in three Americans haven’t had an extended family gathering in over a year due to the pandemic.

“Based on our data, Mother’s Day 2021 is shaping up to be the first holiday where many families will celebrate and dine out together—an experience diners are eagerly anticipating after more than a year of restrictions,” Debby Soo, CEO of OpenTable, said in a statement.

Last Mother’s Day, restaurants scrambled to create brunch kits, celebratory family dinners to go and other off-premise meal solutions to add a little festivity to a holiday spent in quarantine.

Restaurant sales have surged so far in 2021—frequently going well beyond 2019 levels—as consumers spend stimulus checks and more markets allow dining rooms to serve more customers. Several publicly traded restaurant chains have reported strong sales so far this year, including casual dining concepts like Cheesecake Factory and Texas Roadhouse, along with both fast-food chains and fast-casual concepts.

The OpenTable survey also found that 63% of Americans haven’t had a professional family photo snapped in more than a year or can’t remember the last time they had one taken.

To help remedy that situation, the online reservation provider partnered with 14 restaurants and local photographers in 14 cities around the country for a “Frame the Feeling” campaign. Participating restaurants will offer customers the opportunity to pose for a complimentary family photo on Mother’s Day and download it at no charge.

The restaurants participating stretch from Honolulu to Chicago, New York, Houston and New Orleans, and include such well-known independents as Brennan’s, Cabra, Mila and Presidio Social Club. Photographers will be onsite at each of the 14 eateries between 11:30 am. and 2 p.m. on Sunday.

OpenTable, part of Bookings Holdings Inc., teamed up with YouGov in April to conduct the online survey, canvassing 1,326 adults within the United States.

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