Valentine’s Day is a big deal for restaurants, bringing 25 percent of all Americans out to eat, according to the National Restaurant Association. Even more so than other special evenings, Valentine’s Day is about getting all the little details right — from the food to the playlist — and going the extra mile to make guests feel special. Learn how to best capitalize on this busy holiday, from the weeks before to the night of.
1. Offer other add-ons for early bookings. The earlier someone books a reservation, the better prepared your restaurant managers will be. Encourage diners to book at least two weeks out by offering specials such as a free glass of wine or dessert on the house if you make your reservation by a certain date.
2. Give departing guests a special treat. Valentine’s Day is a big gifting holiday, so leave guests with a lasting impression by sending them home with a thoughtful token of appreciation. Whether it’s homemade chocolate truffles, granola for breakfast the next morning, or you get more creative, make sure it’s a memento that exemplifies your restaurant to a T.
3. Partner with other local businesses to cross-promote your offerings. Get to know the neighborhood florists, jewelers, and musicians, and come up with ways that you can each advertise for one another. For example, give out roses from the neighborhood florist to all outgoing guests; in exchange, the florist could include a special discount card for your restaurant in each flower order in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. Both parties benefit, and you won’t have to spend a cent.
4. Set the mood. Creating the right atmosphere is vital. And we’re not just talking about dim lighting. Make sure that every aspect of your restaurant — from the flowers on the table to the music playing and the attire of your servers — captures your desired tone. Go the extra mile in making a custom playlist or add special tablecloths to guarantee guests pick up on the best possible vibes when they come in for dinner.