Why Mother’s Day is the most hated day in the restaurant industry
Mother’s Day is one of the busiest days for the American restaurant industry. It also has a reputation among waiters and restaurant staff as one of the most grueling days on the calendar.
“Every server knows that working on Mother’s Day is hell. In fact, if I die and go to hell, I completely expect it to be Mother’s Day. 365 days a year,” wrote Darron Cardosa, in his book “The Bitchy Waiter: I’m Really Good at Pretending to Care.”
What’s so bad about it? From big groups that show up in waves (“most of us are here!”), to food-fussy kids and grandmas to splitting the check dramas and coffee-cup lingerers, restaurants hate this holiday. This year is expected to be particularly challenging as high inflation and rising menu prices give some restaurant-goers an extra sense of entitlement.
“The anticipation alone can make you anxious,” said Joe Haley, an abstract artist who works as a server at a Quincy, Massachusetts, Italian-American restaurant. It gets “jam-packed. People are calling at the last minute for a reservation, and there are other people who made multiple reservations so Mom could have her pick and they never cancel… people who take out their mother once a year tell you ‘Nothing can go wrong!’” he said.
But it does. With big tables, a few late arrivals can kick a kitchen into chaos. “And every family has at least one black sheep or in-law who can’t be relied upon to save their lives. Mother’s Day: I dread it,” Haley added.
Chefs, servers, and owners said that this year guests have set their expectations high: Special occasion meals in a time of rising food prices. In a post-pandemic world, luxury – or rather the appearance of luxury and excess – is “in.” Across the country, customers will get aggravated if their $30 eggs Benedict isn’t dolloped with caviar on Sunday.