Valentine’s Day is a pressured time for lovers and restaurateurs alike. The objective of both is not to disappoint.
We want to help you make your hospitality business shine on Valentine’s Day. Even if you have been working in this world for many years, trends, technology and social norms evolve, and there is always something new to learn.
Why should restaurants care about Valentine’s Day?
Like most holidays, Valentine’s Day can be a huge revenue driver for restaurants. A large part of the spending dedicated to Valentine’s Day goes to romantic dinners. Plus, it’s an opportunity to showcase what your restaurant has to offer. Whether you’re starting a restaurant or opening a new location, a good Valentine’s Day is crucial to impressing new clientele and generating repeat business for the rest of the year.
Tips to attract diners to your restaurant this Valentine’s Day.
Promote and promote. Virtual promotions via social media, email, and the web can be run simultaneously with physical promotions, such as putting up posters and handing out flyers. Remind servers at pre-shift meetings to mention upcoming meals and special events at each table.
Offer special incentives. A single rose, chocolate-covered strawberry, or glass of champagne for each guest is a cost-effective way to greatly enhance your Valentine’s Day dining experience.
Consider pre-packaged offers. Contact a nearby movie theater, theater, bowling alley, or escape room to see if they are interested in partnering to create a date night package that is fun for guests and beneficial to both businesses.
Expand promotions. There’s no need to limit special offers to just one night. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, extend your promotions to both the week before and the week after February 14 to reach as many customers as possible.
Create the right environment. Dim the lighting, light candles, make sure the music is right and at the right volume. Add some privacy to dining areas by putting up some dividers.
Offer for takeout orders. Offer some special take-out menus for those planning to have a romantic dinner or even a family night at home. Create a pickup schedule with pickup times spaced out in 15-minute increments to minimize wait times.
Special Valentine’s drinks. Get into the spirit of romance with Valentine’s cocktails. Signature drinks make the guest experience more memorable and are also a surefire way to increase alcohol sales. Remember to give cocktails a special touch with the instant glass froster that will bring glamor and hygiene to their preparation.
Try some healthy changes to comfort foods. Many diners are still sticking to their New Year’s resolutions for a healthier lifestyle. Offer dishes that are tailored to specific diets such as Real Food, Keto, Paleo, Low-fat, etc. it may be just the necessary incentive to grab the attention of those looking for lighter alternatives.
Plan for a staff increase wisely. Long entree times and poor service on one of the restaurant industry’s biggest nights can hurt future sales. While no operator wants to be overstaffed on purpose, creating a little padding in case an employee is sick can be key to the customer experience.
Streamline service. If staffing is short, consider food and drink specials that can be grouped together for quick preparation and service. The batched alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will please almost any palate and can be quickly served to the table.
Order accurately. The key to success at any holiday is accurate sales forecasting because running out of guest favorites is sure to disappoint hungry diners. Review data from the previous Valentine’s Day to determine which dishes and drinks were the most popular and order accordingly.