Mother Knows Best

When May rolls around, it brings with it the promise of warmer months ahead but also a plethora of holidays. From Cinco de Mayo to Memorial Day and the Kentucky Derby, there seems to be a limitless supply of days to celebrate. However, one that proves an integral time to celebrate is Mother’s Day.

The day is a unique driver of demand, as families often come out to restaurants in droves to honor their mothers.

“What makes the day unique is the day itself,” explains Dino Perez, owner of Rio’s D’Sudamerica in Chicago. “It’s a day you want to take your mom out to a nice restaurant.”

Perez hopes that restaurant is Rio’s. For the past three years, he’s hosted a Mother’s Day promotion that offers its signature Sunday Peruvian buffet fare ($23 per person) with extra food options and $15 Pisco pitchers, which usually are priced at $25. “That’s a great deal,” Perez says. “We never do that.”

The buffet includes Papa a la Huancaina,
 Tamal Peruano,
 Arroz con Pollo,
 Lomo Saltado,
 Seco de Carne,
 Cau Cau de Mondongo,
 Aji de Gallina,
 Arroz con Mariscos,
Frijoles, and 
Flan Peruan.

“With one visit, (guests) get to taste 10-12 different things. Normally you wouldn’t get to do that,” he says.


Rio's Mother’s Day promotion offers its signature Sunday Peruvian buffet fare with extra food options and Pisco pitchers.

A Unique Experience

Perez says he wants to add to this by making the event special. After all, Perez says, “We only do this once a year.”

However, Perez notes there is an ulterior motive. “It’s a great opportunity to try Pisco and try different items (on our menu) at a lower cost. On top of everything, the restaurant will be jam packed and people will have a great experience on that day,” he says. “That’s ultimately what customers are looking for — a great experience.”

Perez explains that he’s not sure if it’s the promotion that is popular, but “the restaurant in general is getting more popular.”

The restaurant, he said, is a popular hotspot on any Sunday, but on Mother’s Day, the turnout “will be outstanding.” Mother’s Day, he says, is one of the busiest days of the year.

An Added Bonus

The Mother’s Day promotion offers great food and drink, as well as a time to spend with family, but Perez says he’s hoping the promotion will create a loyal customer base that want to come back, especially for out-of-town guests who will choose Mother’s Day or another special day to come back to the restaurant.

Another added bonus, is introducing new customers to Pisco, a grape brandy produced in the winemaking countries of Peru and Chile. “It’s not really mainstream yet like a mojito is, but it’s catching on,” Perez says. “When people come here that’s what they get. That’s our signature drink.”

Planning Ahead

To prepare a promotion, Perez looks back at past promotions and events to glean insights on improving and tweaking future promotions.

“How I really like to do it is based on our past experiences,” he says.

From a successful New Year’s Eve and a Valentine’s Day that “worked well,” Perez says if a promotion isn’t working, he will make minor adjustments. “I tend to do the same thing until I don’t see the same result. Then I may tweak it or do something different altogether.”

For now, however, he reiterates his philosophy when hosting promotions at the restaurant — “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”