Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest consumer spending holidays of the year in the United States, and restaurants typically receive a very large portion of the revenue. In 2018, consumers spent a record $19.6 million, and according to Forbes.com, spending an evening together was the second highest spending category in 2018, second only to spending on jewelry and almost twice as much as spending on flowers.
No matter what type of restaurant you’re operating, Valentine’s Day can be a great post-holiday boost for restaurant sales. Here are some tips to help you make the most of Valentine’s Day at your restaurant.
Valentine’s Day is all about couples. While family and friends will go out together on the holiday, couples will most likely constitute a majority of your guests, with two-top bookings increasing by 764% from a usual night. To help ensure they come to your restaurant instead of your competitors, you might want to offer a special discount for couples. Or, you could offer some sort of free item for couples, such as a love-themed dessert, drink or appetizer.
If possible, break up your larger tables into two-tops to help maximize party capacity and lower customer wait times.
Romanticize the Menu
Valentine’s Day is a special day for couples all across the country. So why not create a special menu for the holiday that will provide them with a more exclusive experience? Many restaurants will serve items that aren’t on their everyday menu. These items typically have a love-related theme, such as heart-shaped food and desserts, or food and drink items that are red or pink in color.
If you don’t have the ability to change up your menu, think about printing a Valentine’s Day menu of your everyday items, but with romantic names like, “Lover’s Lasagna,” or “Frisky Fries.”
Offer Take Out Specials
Take-out ordering is quickly increasing in popularity. A lot of couples will opt to spend a romantic night at home. It’s important to offer your Valentine’s Day menu or meals for two with special options to go. This will increase your overall revenue for the holiday while pleasing your customers who prefer to spend the evening at home.
Don’t Forget the Kids
A lot of couples with children will decide to make it a family outing and bring the kids along. Think about giving all of the children a grab bag of goodies, or a special kids menu with heart-shaped food items. Kids love dessert, so make sure to include it in your kids menu. Chocolate and strawberries are always good choices. This is a great way to attract customers with children and help the next generation of diners engage with your restaurant.
Extend Specials Into the Weekend
Upserve recently analyzed thousands of U.S. restaurants and found that when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, the Saturday following the holiday is actually more popular with consumers in food and drink sales. Some businesses even extend their holiday specials to an entire week or more. If Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, you might seriously consider extending your specials into the weekend.
Nothing ruins the mood like standing in a crowded waiting area for an hour or more. Since Valentine’s Day is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants, it is important to encourage reservations for the holiday. Consider offering a discount or other promotion for diners who book a reservation.
Be careful not to overbook. While you want to make sure every table is full at all times, some diners will be late, or will remain seated longer than expected.
Provide a Romantic Ambiance
Valentine’s Day provides a great opportunity to transform the atmosphere inside your restaurant. Some ideas might include:
- Dim the lighting slightly to a romantic – yet safe – level.
- Place candles and/or flowers on the tables.
- Play romantic music on your sound system.
- Decorate main areas with holiday-themed decorations.
- Have your front-of-house staff dress accordingly.
By providing a more intimate atmosphere, your guests will remember more than just the food and drink.
Advertise and Promote
While Valentine’s Day is traditionally a very busy day, you still need to let your customers know about the specials you plan on having. Start by introducing signage in and around your restaurant. This will help to acquire new customers and gain the attention of passers-by.
Consider advertising locally on Google Ads or other online advertising applications. If you have social media accounts for your restaurants, you can advertise your specials there. Make sure to use appropriate hashtags. This is a great way to get the word out without spending a ton of money.
Email marketing is another great way of advertising not only Valentine’s Day specials, but any specials you have throughout the year. If you have a list of customer email addresses, make sure to send an email explaining what you are offering on Valentine’s Day. Make sure to optimize your email campaigns.
Fall In Love With WiFi Marketing
With Bloom’s WiFi Marketing and Analytics platform, you can build your customer list passively, and when you send an email, you’ll be able to track open rates and even see which customers come in on Valentine’s Day, or how many redeemed a digital coupon, should you include one.
Another great idea you can implement with Bloom is to offer a discount or other promotion for any guests who come back, say, in the month of February after visiting on Valentine’s Day. This will help reinforce customer engagement and loyalty.
To learn more about this and other marketing possibilities you can obtain with WiFi marketing and Bloom Intelligence, click here.