the Restaurateur 6 Ways Restaurant Owners can Prep for Valentine’s Day February 04, 2016 February 14th is just around the corner, meaning that reservations will be flooding in soon if not already—are you prepared? Valentine’s Day marks the time for many couples to declare their affections for each other through cards, chocolates, flowers, and, more often than not—a romantic meal together. After Mother’s Day, February 14th is easily the most popular night to dine out at a restaurant. For restaurant owners, prepping for the big day starts now. 6 ways to make your restaurant shine So, what are some ways you can prepare your restaurant for this special day? Special menu/ promotions- Offering a special holiday promotion or menu will draw people to want to book a reservation at your restaurant. To encourage reservations, offer a discount for a reservation booked before a certain time. Consider creating a limited menu for the weekend that includes lots of reds and pinks, shareable foods and heart shaped desserts or appetizers. Restaurants have found that they have more leeway with pricing on Valentine’s Day as customers are willing to go the extra mile for their loved ones on the holiday, so it might be worth your while to up your prices a bit for the occasion. Prepare for crowds- Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend again this year, meaning that there will undoubtedly be large crowds filtering in and out of your establishment. If you are not fully booked by the 14th, expect last minute couples and singles to fill in the empty seats. Typically, restaurants have found that there are more walk-ins when Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend night. Couples might even celebrate the holiday Friday or Saturday night as well, so it is best to expect a hectic weekend. If you have a limited capacity, consider offering your specials throughout the weekend so that those unable to land a spot on the 14th can still enjoy your special holiday offers. Assess your staffing needs- Do you have enough servers, bartenders, hostesses, cooks, etc.? You do not want to be caught short when your restaurant is at full capacity! Make sure you have commitments from a full staff for the weekend—there will likely be employees requesting the night or weekend off, so be sure to plan ahead. Specialty cocktail- What better way to celebrate than toasting with your significant other or group of friends? Restaurants that offer a drink special for the big day will see an increase in sales no doubt. Another good sales tactic is to have a list of wine suggestions next to each entrée choice. Entertainment- Many couples enjoy dancing and music on Valentine’s Day, so consider hiring some live entertainment for the evening. Any special enhancements to your normal operations will likely boost sales! Add-on sales for flowers, etc. - Many restaurants will include add-on sales for flowers or extra things to make the night more special. When he/she calls to book a reservation, consider asking a customer if he/she would like to add on anything extra that you’re offering, like a dozen red roses for example. Customers will value this extra effort you’re putting in to make their night shine. Making your restaurant stand out for Valentine’s Day depends on careful attention to detail, and willingness to explore new tastes and ambiance for your business. With the excitement of bringing in new business and profits, make sure you are prepared to make the night memorable for your customers. Questions? Contact any member of our Hospitality Services Team.