According to OpenTable, dinner reservations increase by 500% on the run up to Valentine’s Day.
The most romantic day of the year is clearly an opportunity for restaurateurs and others operating within the hospitality industry to make a handsome profit.
In 2021, things are going to be different - there’s no mistaking that. COVID has changed the way diners interact with restaurants forever, but that doesn’t mean it’s game over for key dates like February 14th.
In America alone, a colossal $4.3 billion is spent on Valentine’s evenings across the country. Over in the UK, millennials spend £41.84 on average, per head, for their romantic nights out.
In order to grasp as much business as you can this Valentine’s Day, you’ll need to turn to your marketing strategy and, in particular, the promotions you offer those seeking a loved-up evening.
Take a read of seven brilliant Valentine’s restaurant promotions you can rely on to bring in more business this February. But first, we’ll address a burning question you no doubt have.
How to Create a Valentine’s Day Experience During COVID
Valentine’s Day is going to look different this year. Depending on where your restaurant is based, the number of covers you can serve may be drastically reduced. You may not even be able to open at all.
However, if there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s that we all need to be as inventive as possible when it comes to attracting new customers.
It’s vitally important to be prepared, too, because even if you’re unable to swing open your doors right now, come Valentine’s Day, you may need to act quickly if things change.
Valentine’s Day is no different to any other when it comes to COVID. You simply need to continue following the rules set out by your government and lean on the following seven ideas to bring people through the door - or via an online delivery service.
Are you ready for as much as a 105% increase in business during Valentine’s? Well, you’ll need to work to earn it, and the following promotion ideas should help you do just that.
1. Think of a theme
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having a simple Valentine’s theme, but the most successful restaurants on this day will go a little further than dimming the lights and setting up two cover-only tables.
For instance, why not think beyond couples and offer a ‘parents and kids’ Valentine’s experience? Or reach out to the singles market to create a themed evening for those guys?
Now is a great time to completely revamp your menu for this special, one-off event. Think about ‘romantic’ foods such as chocolate, lobster, oysters and honey.
It’s also a good idea to create a fixed price menu which includes all three courses. It’ll raise your average table order and give customers what they want: indulgence.
3. Be late
Sometimes, late (but planned!) marketing is the most effective - and that can particularly be the case for Valentine’s.
A simple email sent to your subscriber list a day before the big day could yield a few bookings which would otherwise have passed you by. People often make last minute decisions for Valentine’s Day, and your email could be just about as well-timed as it gets.
Just remember to include some form of promotion to get them booking (and spend plenty of time on that subject line!). A last-minute incentive to treat a loved one could go a long way for your cover numbers on February 14th.
4. Create a Valentine’s experience
If you’re feeling a little more creative this Valentine’s, you can do a lot more than develop a special menu for the evening.
For instance, why not offer some form of interactive element alongside the meal? A cooking class with your chef, music performance or romantic quiz might set you apart from what the competition is doing.
There’s a reason gift cards are still so popular: they solve a perennial problem.
If someone isn’t sure what to get their loved one for Valentine’s Day, a well-timed promotion from your restaurant for a romantically themed gift card will make you their knight in shining armour.
Even better, try and build some form of loyalty into the gift card to promote return visits and, potentially, create a new customer for life.
6. Provide a stay-at-home option
2020 made dining at home a key business strategy for so many restaurants.
The idea of partnering with a service like Uber Eats may go completely against the ethos of your brand, but that’s something which countless restaurateurs have had to come to terms with.
Once you do, there’s a huge market waiting to be explored. And, come Valentine’s Day, it’s a market that’ll still be there. So, why not grab it with open arms? The key will lie in providing some form of stay-at-home dining experience which captures the imagination of romantic couples.
These could be prepared dishes or meal ‘kits’ which give the loved-up couples a chance to cook together, following your instructions and using the ingredients which have been conveniently dropped by their front door.
If you want to create some extra buzz around your Valentine’s offers this year, try delving into some social media organic posting and advertising.
Set up contests for people to win romantic meals for two and use as many social platforms as possible to promote your brand-new romantic menu (see tip 2).
Oh, and if you’re not keen on investing too much money on Facebook Ads, there are plenty of cost-effective alternatives.
We hope our tips above have given you plenty of inspiration for Valentine’s Day. It’s a different market these days, but still an incredibly vibrant one which can be tempted with the right approach to marketing.