Show your customers a good time this Valentine’s Day by making sure everything is on point. Here’s what to focus on.

Why Restaurants Love Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants in the United States, with many people going out to celebrate the day with a romantic dinner. This means that restaurants see a significant boost in sales, resulting in higher earnings.

According to the National Restaurant Association, around 36% of US adults celebrate Valentine's Day by dining out at a restaurant. With the average person spending around $100 on a Valentine's Day dinner, the restaurant industry can benefit significantly from this holiday.

It's difficult to estimate the exact amount that restaurants in the US make around Valentine's Day, as it can vary greatly depending on the size and location of the restaurant, as well as the local competition. However, it's safe to say that it is a significant amount, with many restaurants seeing a 20-30% increase in sales compared to an average day.

Valentine’s Day Restaurant Specials

Valentine's Day restaurant specials often include a romantic dinner for two. Some restaurants offer a "prix-fixe" fixed price menu, while others offer discounts on certain items or on special dishes created just for the holiday. Some restaurants may also have live music or special decorations to create a romantic atmosphere.

When it comes to creating a special Valentine's Day menu, consider offering items that are special, romantic, and indulgent. Some popular options include-

Surf and Turf- A classic combination of steak and seafood, often served with a creamy sauce or butter.

Oysters- Known for being an aphrodisiac, oysters can be served raw or baked.

Filet Mignon- A cut of beef that is a favorite among diners for its flavor and tenderness.

Rack of Lamb- An elegant dish that is perfect for a romantic evening.

Chocolate Desserts- Indulgent treats like chocolate mousse, fondue, or a flourless chocolate cake are a must for a romantic holiday like Valentine's Day.

Champagne- Offer a special selection of bubbly to celebrate the holiday, and offer champagne cocktails as a fun twist.

Remember, the key to success on Valentine's Day is to create a special and romantic atmosphere, so consider decorations, music, and table settings that reflect this theme.

Problems Restaurants Encounter on Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, but it can also be a stressful time if things go wrong. Here are some common disasters that can occur-

Overbooking- Restaurants can quickly become overcrowded on Valentine's Day, leading to long wait times and frustrated customers. Overbooking can also lead to confusion and chaos in the restaurant, making it difficult to provide efficient service.

Food Shortages- Running out of popular menu items can be a common problem on Valentine's Day, especially if the restaurant is not prepared for the increased demand. This can lead to disappointment and frustration among customers.

Kitchen Mishaps- With the added pressure of a busy restaurant, kitchen mishaps can occur, such as food that is not cooked to the correct temperature or dishes that are not properly plated.

Staffing Issues- Staffing issues can arise on Valentine's Day, such as employees who are not well-trained or who become overwhelmed by the increased demand. This can result in poor service and dissatisfied customers.

Technical Glitches- Technical glitches, such as problems with the Restaurant Technology, like its point-of-sale or sound system, can cause delays and frustration for customers.

To minimize the risk of these disasters, it is important for restaurants to plan ahead, train staff properly, and prepare for the increased demand. By doing so, restaurants can provide their customers with a memorable and enjoyable dining experience.

Top Tips to Help You Sail Smoothly Through Valentine’s Day

We've put together a few tips to help you get ready for the big day, and make sure you're prepared for the extra footfall.

Start Early- Don't wait until the last minute to start planning for Valentine's Day. Start thinking about your menu, promotions, and reservations early on so you can be ready for the rush of diners.

Analyze Past Data- Look back at your sales from previous Valentine's Days to get a sense of what to expect this year. This information can help you forecast your sales and make decisions about your menu, promotions, and staffing. Leave the job to a Demand Forecasting tool such as Zip Forecasting, and you'll know exactly what to expect and how to plan for it.

Get Creative with Your Menu- Offer special menu items that are only available on Valentine's Day. This could be a romantic twist on a classic dish or something entirely new. You could put together a special menu with some of the dishes listed above.

Offer Special Promotions- Encourage diners to come to your restaurant by offering special promotions, such as a free glass of champagne or a discount on the meal. Be creative and come up with promotions that will entice diners to choose your restaurant over others. Make sure to promote your offers on social media.

Plan for Reservations- Make sure to have a system in place for accepting reservations and managing your waitlist. On Valentine's Day, you can expect a high volume of diners, so having a reservation system can help you manage the flow and keep your diners happy.

What to Consider When Scheduling Staff

It's a good idea to consider hiring additional staff for your restaurant during Valentine's Day to ensure that your customers have a positive experience. This is especially important if you expect to see a surge in customers.

Having extra staff on hand can help you manage the increased demand and provide timely and efficient service to your customers. This can improve customer satisfaction and increase the likelihood that they will return to your restaurant in the future.

When hiring additional staff, consider the following points-

Skills- Hire staff who have the necessary skills and experience to provide top-notch service, such as waiters, bartenders, and kitchen staff.

Availability- Look for staff who are available to work during the busy Valentine's Day period. This may mean hiring part-time staff or asking existing employees to work overtime.

Training- Ensure that new hires receive adequate training so they are well-prepared to provide excellent service on Valentine's Day.

Scheduling- Plan your staff schedules carefully to ensure that you have enough staff on hand to handle the increased demand, without overburdening your existing employees. An efficient Employee Scheduling platform like Zip Schedules will make sure your schedules are in order, with employees hours and payroll tracked to the minute.

Keep in mind that hiring additional staff for Valentine's Day can be a significant cost for your restaurant, so consider your budget and staffing needs carefully when making this decision.

Ways to Promote Your Restaurant on Social Media

Here are some tips to help you promote your restaurant on social media this Valentine's Day-

Share Special Menus- Sharing your special Valentine's Day menu on social media will give your followers a sneak peek at what to expect.

Offer Special Deals- Consider offering a discount or special deal on your menu items. Share the details on social media to entice people to come and dine with you. Alternatively, offer your social followers a discount for reservations made online.

Use Romantic Visuals- Use eye-catching images and graphics to promote your restaurant on social media. Share pictures of your romantic decor, special menu items, and romantic settings to create a sense of atmosphere.

Utilize Hashtags- Use popular Valentine's Day hashtags, such as #ValentinesDay, #DateNight, or #LoveIsInTheAir, to reach a wider audience.

Partner with Local Businesses- Partner with local businesses to cross-promote each other on social media. For example, you can partner with a florist to offer a special bouquet with each dinner.

Run a Contest- Run a contest where followers can win a romantic dinner for two at your restaurant. This can help generate excitement and buzz around your restaurant.

Share Testimonials- Share testimonials from past Valentine's Day diners to give potential customers a sense of what they can expect at your restaurant.

Remember, social media is all about creating a connection with your audience, so be sure to engage with your followers, respond to comments, and share updates to keep them interested and involved.

Last, But Not Least— the Decor

Here are nine ideas for decorating your restaurant this Valentine's Day-

  1. Create a romantic ambiance with dim lighting and candlelight.
  2. Use romantic colors like red, pink, and white throughout the space.
  3. Decorate with hearts, flowers, and other symbols of love.
  4. Set up a photo booth area with props like flowers, heart-shaped balloons, and oversized frames.
  5. Use rose petals to decorate tables and other surfaces.
  6. Provide cozy seating areas with plush cushions and blankets.
  7. Play soft, romantic music in the background.
  8. Create a special cocktail or a mocktail with a love-themed name
  9. Offer couples a gift, such as a dessert or a small plant, to take home as a souvenir.
Take the time to plan and prepare in advance, and you'll be sure to have a fantastic celebration filled with love, food, and happy diners. Happy Valentine's Day!