A way through a man’s heart is through his stomach. Not sure about you but being female this also rings true for the ladies! This leads us nicely into the fact that St. Valentine’s Day slowly is inching closer.
This day is special for those on the verge of falling in love, those who have been in love for an eternity… and those who own a restaurant! People use St. Valentine’s Day as a great opportunity to show that special someone just how special they are. Right up there on ‘ways to show you how much you mean to me’ is the ever popular ‘romantic dinner in a restaurant’ route. Let’s look at how we can get Cupid to turn up at your restaurant rather than someone else’s.
Prepping For Love
As with all special occasions, the devil is in the details. It pays to always plan well and well ahead! From the love themed menu to the heart shaped confetti sprinkled on the table. It all takes planning. Write down what you would like to do, make a list of what you need, prioritise the list and then get on with it.
If you are offering a special menu on the day, or any other particular promotion, mention it everywhere. Your website, your Facebook page, your Instagram, to customers already coming in the restaurant. Let them know. The best time to start is at the end of January. This will give you a solid two weeks to inform everyone.
Encourage diners to make reservations in order to avoid disappointment. This will give you an idea of number and whether or not you need to ramp up your advertising efforts.
For those of you who have a database of your customers, heart shaped brownie points to you, use this to send out an invitation (either by email or address pending on what information you have) offering a special promotion only obtained by receiving this invite. Something like a free bottle of bubbly if they bring the invite with them when they dine on the 14th always goes down well.
As this is a special day, more special than most for some, consider dressing your restaurant to reflect what St. Valentine’s Day is all about. Think intimate. Think low lighting. Think soft music. Think lots of hearts. But be careful. There’s a thin line between tastefully done and tasteless.
Speaking of taste… the menu. There are so many ingredients you can use to make it ‘love’ inspired. Red coloured foods like strawberries, raspberries and tomatoes are a good pick. You can also make heart shaped… anything really. Pizzas, cakes, even mashed potatoes.
If diners booked on the night are your regular diners this means they feel most comfortable with you and have picked your restaurant over others. For these diners step the game up a level and provide a little surprise. Nothing says, “We love you too” like a bunch of flowers or a box of chocolates or desserts on the house. Whichever you decide, let them know you appreciate them.
Save The Date
The love doesn’t have to be celebrated smack bang on the 14th either. If St. Valentine’s Day falls on a weekday, to maximise this event you can organise a St. Valentine’s Day Weekend at your restaurant. Use either weekend (before or after) the 14th but not both weekends!
Some (brave) couples choose to share their Valentine’s Day meal with their children. Make sure you have a little something organised to entertain your little diners. Coloring activities and stickers are safe (and quiet) bets. Consider getting a member of your team to pay special attention to help those with children. With the kids entertained the parents can focus on each other for a little while. They’ll appreciate this.
How about going against the norm? Feature a ‘no-love-zone’ on the night. Not everyone will be loved up and might even welcome an opportunity to not be reminded about Cupid and his army of heart-eyed couples. Do the opposite of what is expected. Nothing red or pink, no hearts, no flowers, no romance, no love!
Whichever approach you use, it’s an opportunity to reward existing diners and impress new one.
Branding specialist and crisp hoarder