Valentine’s Day Restaurant Prep

Just when you thought the holiday rush was over, in swoops the next big one: Valentine’s Day. It’s widely known that after Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day is the second-busiest night for dining out according to the National Restaurant Association. In fact, 25 to 30 percent of Americans will head out for a meal on February 14th. And since this Day of Love falls on a Thursday this year, there’s more likelihood people will be celebrating well into the weekend. How can your restaurant make the most of this romantic night (or nights)? Let’s check out several ways you can prep for the lovefest!


Plan Early, Plan Well

 Now is the perfect time to start thinking about the promotions and specials you want to run for Valentine’s Day. The sooner you wrangle your staff to brainstorm ideas (cocktail-making class, anyone?), the sooner you can get those amazing ideas into the world and expose them to your customers. You may even consider offering a free appetizer or dessert with the purchase of a gift card in the weeks leading up to V-Day, as a lot of customers enjoy buying gift cards for their loved ones to use on this special occasion.

Really amp up your advertising efforts the weekend before Valentine’s Day, spreading the word on all your social media platforms, table cards, and takeout menus. And don’t forget to really push the importance of a reservation—preferably one that can be booked online.


Never Fear A Theme

 Diners love a good theme, especially one around as fun a holiday as this. Think of old-time love movies to build your menu around, or present your food in a romantic way. Signature cocktails, special desserts, free champagne, and over-the-top decorations are always a hit. You want to create a memorable experience for your customers, so they’ll come back even after the holidays are long gone!


Try an Aphrodisiac Menu

Aphrodisiac-inspired tasting menus are a fun, unique way for couples to engage in a little feisty food action. There are the usual suspects, like oysters and strawberries, but dig a little deeper and find some lesser-known aphrodisiacs like honey, avocado, figs, and hot chili peppers. You’ll certainly appeal to the more adventurous patrons with a line-up that includes these foods, which easily lend themselves to delicious dishes.


Valentines Day

Prix Fixe for the Win

 Even if you’ve never offered one before, a holiday as popular for restaurant-goers as Valentine’s Day is a perfectly acceptable event to have a prix fixe menu. Give this menu a prominent space on your website and social channels to create customer awareness, and make a push for reservations while you’re at it. Also appreciated are such perks as a glass of wine and desserts thrown in with your specials.


Don’t Forget Takeout…

There are always going to be the couples who can’t find a babysitter or maybe just don’t want to spend an evening out with crowds. That’s understandable, and your restaurant can cater to them, too. Have a special Valentine’s Day takeout menu prepared and offer special options for these to-go orders. Package everything nicely, maybe in a red bag with a balloon, so customers can still get that romantic vibe from wherever they chose to dine.


…Or the Anti-Valentine’s Day Crowd

 There are also always going to be the folks who really detest Valentine’s Day. Don’t discount them! You can easily have a separate menu of not-so-romantic options, such as garlic-inspired dishes or anything involving a potent French cheese. Offer a free cocktail for singles too, if you like! There’s room for everyone at the Valentine’s Day dinner table, after all.

Now that you’ve got some great ideas to start brainstorming for your Valentine’s Day dinner, it’s time to get to work! And there is also still plenty of time to secure a line of credit from ARF Financial if you need a little extra cash to make this holiday a little extra special. We offer loan approvals in 24-48 hours, with funding in 3-5 days. What’s not to love? Apply now to see how much you qualify for!