According to the National Restaurant Association, Valentine’s Day is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants, right after Mother’s Day. People in the U.S. spend more than $19 billion on the holiday. Make sure some of that money is spent at your restaurant with a few marketing steps to get your business ready.
Don’t wait until the last minute to plan for food, decorations, table cards, updating your website and social media with ads, and any specials you may be running. Start a few weeks before the big day to get the most out of this time of year.
You don’t have to spend a lot to add a little romance to your restaurant. A trip to the local party or discount store can give you exactly what you need. Inexpensive votive candles can be obtained from nearly any dollar-store. Pair with red, pink or white flowers on the table for a sophisticated, romantic look for little money. You can also try heart decorations in glass vases scattered throughout the restaurant, and flower wreaths in corresponding colors. Attention to even small details makes your restaurant memorable, helping to ensure repeat business.
Offer Themed Promotions
In addition to coupons, consider restaurant promotions. For example, offer a fixed-price four-course meal with a special chocolate dessert. Gift cards are also a popular item for Valentine’s Day. An offer of a free entrée with gift card purchase, for example, could entice customers to return.
Get Creative in the Kitchen
Want to get people coming to your restaurant especially for Valentine’s Day? Get them in the door with foods just for the occasion! Consider dishes that are related to Valentine’s Day, be they specialty foods related to romance such as oysters or a heart-shaped pizza, whatever suits your menu and restaurant style. Special touches help to set you and the day apart. A dessert created just for the occasion, particularly chocolate in a heart shape, is another good option to finish off the evening.
Use Your Social Media
In the days leading up to Valentine’s Day, be sure you advertise yourself on social media. Promote your specials and in particular any “romance” themed food, and remember the power of high quality photos to showcase your talent: the food and its presentation. Create an atmosphere of romance that puts the idea in someone’s mind of what they’ll be getting before they even get there.
At the conclusion of the meal
A complimentary dessert or a special parting gift are small touches that don’t need to cost much money to make an impact on your customers. Think of ways you can offer your guests something extra on February 14th that will entice them to come back and dine with you at other times.
Take-out customers/Food delivery
Not everyone likes to eat at a crowded restaurant, so don’t forget about the “delivery crowd” who also want to celebrate the day. If you already have an online ordering system and delivery services in place, you’re one step ahead, just make sure you know that the delivery service may charge extra fees for the day, or there may be longer wait times for pick-up and delivery of food. On your website, update your online offerings with any Valentine’s Day specials you have for pick-up so customers can take advantage of holiday-specific items. Small perks such as a free appetizer or dessert with each order makes the experience even better.