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dining out on Valentine's Day

Your Valentine's Day Guide During the Lockdown

2021/02/11
By Nadine Hashem

Here we are in February, the month of love where all the couples look forward for the most romantic day on the 14th of this month on the famous Valentine’s day.

 

No matter how old you are, Valentine’s day plan must include a romantic dinner and many couples like to enjoy a nice dinner at their favourite restaurant.

 

So Valentine’s day is a big business opportunity for restaurants especially fine dining.

 

Recently, even singles plan to celebrate this day of the year as an opportunity to pamper themselves.

 

The National Restaurant Association’s (NRF) survey data indicates that Valentine’s day is the fourth largest spending day after Mother’s Day.

The most categories that people would spend on are as follows:

 

Valentine's Day spending report generated by NRF

How can restaurants benefit from this day to maximize their profits especially during the pandemic.

 

You all know and of course have tried different ways to make this night unforgettable and to increase your revenues.

 

But have you ever considered to take the extra mile to surprise your customers?

 

First, let’s talk about how people choose their restaurant on valentine’s day.

 

According to the NRF , people choose a restaurant based on three main factors:

 

  • The familiarity of a certain restaurant
  • The romantic atmosphere and setting
  • A special menu options and offerings.

 

So how to benefit from this information to get customers to your place on that day?

 

 

Get creative with the fixed price menu

 

It’s true that a fixed price menu is the best option for restaurants since it makes planning for that day way easier and you can get minimum revenues coming to your business.

But you need to play around this menu to differentiate from the competition.

 

How?

 

Create a themed menu even with sandwiches and usual non so romantic meals that we usually know to offer romantic and affordable meals for couples who can’t afford to spend a lot.

 

This way you attract customers with different purchasing powers.

 

Choose one of the classic movie romances and create your Valentine’s day menu around it.

 

The Found Kitchen and Social House offered a mini pastrami sandwich on rye with a side salad inspired by “When Harry Met Sally,” a grilled steak al forno with pasta, which Cher makes for Nicholas Cage in “Moonstruck,” and other meals all inspired by movie romances as per the Chicago Tribune.

 

No matter what, choose items that have high profit margin to include it in the fixed price menu.

 

Enhance your drinks and give them a special Valentine friendly name like “crazy about you margarita”.

 

Many of your customers are married couples with children.

 

Some couples actually love to include their children in the celebration of Valentine’s day as a celebration of family love and care.

 

Encourage families to enjoy a family date night. Follow the lead of McAlister's Deli that promoted on its facebook page that kids eat free on Valentine’s day.

 

 

Valentine's Day Facebook advertising for the whole family

 

Extend your Valentine's menu or create one for families.

 

For this purpose, create a family meal package, one kids meal for free for every delivered package.

 

Create specials for single people, friends and even heart-broken ones

 

Everybody likes to celebrate this not only couples.

 

Friends love to celebrate their friendship. That’s why benefit from non-couples crowd by creating a theme for them as well.

 

Follow the lead of El Rey in Toronto that celebrates love and friendship on Valentine’s day.

 

How about the anti-Valentine’s crowd?

What to do to attract them?

 

 

Casa Vega restaurant has promoted for single life and invited singles and friends to enjoy this day and toast their single life with margaritas and wines as Whitney Eshleman mentions in  her blog.

 

One restaurant took it to the next level promoting for a drink for heart-broken people called “shred your ex”.

 

People who bring a picture of their ex to  the restaurant, "the loaded slate" will shred it at the bar to get a free drink.

shred your ex online advertising for singles

 

Whether a dine-in or delivery, you can still promote your meals and drinks for the same targeted audience.

 

DM us a shredded picture of your ex to win a free drink or free dessert along with your order.

 

describe your ex and the 10 funniest comments win a free dessert, a free cocktail or a 15% on your order.

 

Spice-up the restaurant

 

Beside the flowers, dim lighting and candles that sure hit the spot when it comes to creating romance, create an unforgettable scenery for your guests.

 

If you have a screen or able to set a projection that usually play sports’ games, play the most romantic scenes from movies or even videos and pictures for romantic places like beaches at night, sightseeing from towers…

 

During the lockdown, you can add a CD delivered as a gift with your meals for them to play to set the mood.

 Add a flower or petals to your packages or maybe a small candle along with the delivered meal.

 

It won’t be similar to dining out hassle free but it’s sure better than preparing everything from scratch.

 

 

Make it an experience

 

 Offer couples and families the chance to live Valentine’s day as an experience through cooking classes.

 

New York kitchen offer guests a fun and relaxing day to spend with their loved ones with a set menu where they can learn cooking techniques in a warm environment.

 

After the cooking class, your customers will enjoy their meals and a free drink.

 

Send your guests back home with a customized gift that reminds them of you such a glass of wine or champagne with the restaurant name on it.

 

During the lockdown, you can have your audience register in an online class with your food delivered to them.

Make sure the delivery has the same small gift they would've got if they were at your restaurant, packaging is attractive and the ambiance is romantic and engaging.

 

Extend Valentine’s day

 

 

Valentine’s day may fall on any day. People may not be able to celebrate it on the 14th.

 

For this purpose, make Valentine’s offers valid from 10 till 15 of February to give the chance for everybody to celebrate it.

 

Remember there are people who have to work late on that day so let them benefit from the extended offer and specials.

 

 

Differentiate your delivery services for that day

 

During Covid-19 you maybe prohibited to open your restaurant to receive guests.

 

Offer them a delivery or take-out menu that includes all the romantic meals they would get in your restaurant.

 

You can even send them a small gift like a free dessert or free appetizer.

 

Work on your packaging on that day. Differentiate your packaging from the usual delivery packages.

 

Let couples surprise each other with a delicious and romantic meal from their favourite restaurant.

 

You can even give them the option of adding a bouquet of flowers for a certain price delivered to their door.

 

Have your reservations ready for deliveries by prompting your customers to book their orders.

 

The first 10 orders will get a free dessert and a free customized box or case.

 

 

Is Valentine’s day strictly for fancy dine-in restaurants?

 

Everybody can celebrate valentine’s day their own way.

 

You’re a fast-food restaurant or a pizzeria and you want to be involved?

 

Follow the lead of many fast-food chains that benefited from that day like White Castle or Boston Market that offer special deals on this day.

 

Kiss your partner and receive a bouquet of flowers??

 

No, a bouquet of ribs.

 

To get the bouquet of ribs delivered to them, people can post their pictures with their partners or mention their partner and friends.

Pizzerias like Hungry Howie's offer heart shaped pizzas with any topping for a special price using a promo code “HEART1”.

 

Heart shaped Valentine's Day pizza

 

 

Even places like Krispy Kreme and Dunkin Donuts offer heart shaped doughnuts for a special price on that day and a message on top of the doughnuts.

 

You can also offer couples’ drinks like coffee for 2 or milkshakes for 2 for the younger crowd.

 

Start early!

 

Never wait the last minute to prepare for this day. Start by a promotion for this day on social media.

 

You can start by a teasing campaign by the end of January followed by Valentine’s campaign announcing a special offer on this day by the 3rd of February, a special menu, the presence of a famous band or singer.

 

You can encourage your followers on social media to share your Valentine’s day posts and mention their friends for a chance to get a 20% discount or a free dessert.

 

Encourage them to make early reservations.

 

Send text messages announcing a special romantic menu or inviting people to indulge themselves on this day whether at your restaurant or at home if they order your meals.

 

Urge them to make early orders so you can make your arrangements about your supplies and staff requirements.

 

Create a pop-up window on your website announcing your specials for V-day, same for your application.

 

Create “a show your love campaign” 10 days earlier so lovers can share their love on your social media page to get a free entrée with their partner or a gift.

 

 

Valentine’s day is an opportunity for restaurants to increase their revenues, but it shouldn’t be limited to couples. Include everybody in your Valentine's  specials, get creative and increase those reservations.

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