US restaurants see big jump in Mother’s Day reservations | Recipes, Food and Cooking Tips

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After two years of stymied Mother’s Day celebrations, demand for restaurant tables is booming. Bookings at restaurants across the country are up 13% from 2021, according to data from OpenTable Inc. And they’re 39% higher than in 2019.

“Mother’s Day reservations are well outpacing pre-pandemic levels, with some U.S. cities seeing triple-digit dining demand,” said Debby Soo, chief executive officer of OpenTable. “It’s typically one of the biggest dining days of the year. We expect this year to be bigger than ever.”

Some cities, especially in warm weather regions in the South and the West, are seeing an even sharper increase in Mother’s Day reservations in 2022, tracked up to April 18, compared with the same period ahead of the 2019 holiday. Scottsdale, Ariz., has seen a 168% jump in reservations; in Orlando the increase is 117%, in Austin it’s 108%. In Las Vegas there’s been an 82% uptick.

Houston restaurants have seen a 46% surge in bookings for Mother’s Day this year, in contrast to three years ago. At Rosie Cannonball, where specialties include cavatelli pasta with Lambrusco bolognese and sauce au poivre-topped grilled pork chop, the restaurant booked up more quickly than years past.

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“We saw an increase in reservations weeks out and realized that the demand was bigger than the supply,” says June Rodil, chief executive officer of Rosie Cannonball’s parent company, Goodnight Hospitality. “We opened up our reservations an hour earlier than normal so we can capture guests who want to celebrate.”

At the new Wild Oats, which offers updated Texas cuisine, there were 288 reservations on the books for Mother’s Day brunch, 100 more than for Easter. The increased volume surprised Chris Shepherd, chef-owner of Underbelly Hospitality. “We planned for Mother’s Day to be busier than Easter, but not by so much. Wild Oats isn’t a big restaurant so nearly 300 covers for brunch is significant for us,” he says.


A major reason for the increase in reservations is that customers have been forced to plan ahead to get into increasingly crowded dining rooms. From March 21 to April 20 this year, walk-ins dropped by 10% compared with the same time period in 2019, according to OpenTable.

Resy, the reservation platform owned by American Express Co., is also seeing a higher rate of bookings. Reservations for Mother’s Day this year are outpacing the 2019 holiday, according to a Resy spokesperson.

But the increased demand for Mother’s Day reservations isn’t registering everywhere.

According to a new survey by the National Restaurant Association, the number of people going out to eat for Mother’s Day will decrease this year, compared with past holidays, even as the total number of consumers dining on restaurant food increases slightly. Their survey reports that 27% of U.S. consumers will go out to eat, with 18% planning to get take out or delivery. In 2018, the last year for which the association has comparative figures for Mother’s Day, 34% of adults planned to eat out and only 8% said they would order take out. (The NRA did not respond to requests for comment on OpenTable’s data for the holiday.)

Still, even places unaccustomed to seeing much business on Mother’s Day are noting an increase in customers.

At New York’s Empellon restaurants, the mini-chain specializing in modern Mexican food and tacos on housemade tortillas, the holiday is usually slow; customers come for Cinco de Mayo and then steer clear of Mexican food for a while. Not this year, says chef-owner Alex Stupak. At his newest location in Waterline Square on the Upper West Side, there are no more reservations available.

“We booked up fast,” says Stupak. He anticipates pent-up demand for mothers who want to go out and celebrate, a point of view supported by an OpenTable and YouGov survey — 45% of respondents said they planned to “go big” for this year’s holiday. “We are stocking up on extra margarita makings. We’ll be doing pitchers,” he says.

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