Valentine’s Day. Some love it, some loathe it – but for restaurants, it’s guaranteed to be one of the busiest days of the year, second only to Mother’s Day. However, with every restaurant in town running a special Valentine’s Day promotion, what can you do to stand out?
Understanding what guests are looking for in a Valentine’s Day experience will help you craft the perfect menu, bring in more guests and encourage them to return to your venue again.
- Maximise profits with a set menu
- Expand your appeal and cater for singles
- Let customers enjoy your dishes at home
- Offer upgrade packages
- Promote, promote, promote
Create the perfect menu this Valentine’s Day
Create the perfect menu this Valentine’s Day with our selection of free menu template designs. Simply tweak, change colours and add your images. It's that simple.
What can we learn from previous years?
Before diving into the best ways to boost your Valentine’s Day profits, we analysed past Valentine’s Day data and industry trends to better understand how restaurants can make the most of Valentine’s Day this year.
Customers love experiences
According to a recent study, 72% of Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) would rather spend their money on experiences than material gifts or possessions – which is great news for restaurants this Valentine’s Day.
To tempt guests through your doors, consider creating something a little different to your usual offering. From live music to flowers, extravagant desserts or bespoke cocktails – offering a unique experience for guests is a great way to convince them to dine at your venue this Valentine’s Day.
According to OpenTable, the most popular reservation time for Valentine’s Day in Australia is 6:30 pm, and most diners make their reservations nine days in advance.
While it’s helpful to get an insight into national reservation data, do take the time to analyse your reports from past Valentine’s Days. This will allow you to understand which seating times were the busiest, the average order value and how many no-shows there were.
These insights will enable you to set a benchmark to measure your performance and empower you to make profit-boosting decisions on the night.
5 Tips to boost your Valentine’s Day Sales
1. Maximise profits with a reduced or set menu
Dig into your sales data to understand which dishes and categories were most popular in previous years and which high-profit items performed well. Once you’re armed with this knowledge, you can start planning your Valentine’s menu.
Things to consider:
- Tweak your menu to include your most popular and profitable dishes. If your pasta and fish dishes are always a hit, offer a reduced menu featuring these two categories and a couple of side dishes.
- If certain dishes take a long time to prep and produce, remove them from your menu to speed up kitchen efficiency.
- Offer a set menu to push a couple of your popular, high-profit dishes. Plus, if you know your exact amount of reservations, you can easily order and prepare the exact amount of food you need – reducing your wastage costs.
Offering a reduced or alternative menu on Valentine’s Day is a great way to maximise your margins. By using data from your point of sale system, you can predict what dishes will perform well, order the right amount of stock, and pre-prepare ingredients for faster production.
2. Expand your appeal and cater for singles
Galentines and Palentines dates are all the rage, and their rising popularity emphasises how single people want to celebrate too! Galentines Day is unofficially celebrated on February 13th and is a great way to extend the celebrations to those who want to spend time with friends rather than significant others.
Have some fun with this idea by offering an anti-Valentine’s Day menu full of items most people wouldn’t want to eat on a first date – think super sauced-up wings, peel-and-eat prawns, and lots and lots of garlic. This is also an opportunity to have fun with the names of your cocktail specials.
Promoting a galentines/palentines night is also an excellent option for venues that are more casual and don’t usually attract date-night couples. By catering to the singles crowd, you’ll appeal to a broad demographic of customers who want to enjoy the day with their friends.
3. Let customers experience your dishes at home
Takeaway and delivery are more popular than ever, so take advantage of this trend and offer a bespoke Valentine’s Day takeaway menu or cook-at-home kits.
By offering takeout options on Valentine’s Day, you’ll appeal to a wider range of customers who are looking for a more relaxed option to enjoy at home. You can also allow customers to pre-order their meals or cook-at-home kits, so these can be prepared in advance – easing pressure on your kitchen staff so they can focus on dine-in service.
To make the at-home experience extra special, consider adding candles, flower petals or a link to a romantic playlist.
4. Offer upgrade packages
Remembering to buy gifts for Valentine’s is not top of mind for everyone, and you can almost guarantee that someone will have forgotten to get their significant other that special something.
Make your customers’ lives easier by including upgrade packages for your menu – these could include flowers, chocolates, a bottle of champagne to take home or gift-wrapped merchandise. You could also offer additional upsell packages for customers to enjoy with their meal, such as a wine pairing with each course or pre-dinner cocktails.
Adding optional extras is a surefire way to enhance the customer experience and boost the profitability of your event.
5. Promote, promote, promote
To ensure your Valentine’s event goes off with a bang, you’ll need to promote it far and wide on all of your marketing channels. Here are a few to consider:
- Website – add a banner to your home page promoting your Valentine’s Day menu and specials. Make sure it’s easy for people to make a reservation via your website or pre-order for takeaway/ delivery on the night.
- Social media – in the weeks and days leading up to February 14th, regularly post on all of your social media channels about your upcoming Valentine’s Day promotion. Don’t forget to include links to your website and information about how guests can book a table or order takeaway.
- In venue – promote your Valentine’s event in your venue. This could be posters in the window, flyers on the counter or staff mentioning the event to couples.
- Email – send out promotional emails to your database with details of your event, any specials that you’re offering on the night and how to book. Don’t forget to include links to your website and social media channels so people can click to learn more.
Remember: 86% of millennials say they try a new restaurant after seeing content about it online. So your Valentine’s promotion could be a great way to entice new customers through your doors.
For many restaurants, Valentine’s Day can be one of the most profitable days of the year. While your menu or specials might be the hook that draws your customers in, the experience you deliver will be key in making them return. After all, providing a memorable experience is what drives 60% of return visits, so taking the time to create an unforgettable Valentine’s Day experience will go a long way in fostering customer loyalty and repeat business.
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