Attracting customers

Valentine's Day Opportunities for Your Pub or Restaurant

27 January 2020
2 minute read

Simon Jenner

Love is in the air, and with it, another opportunistic variety of ways for small businesses to make a buck from a beloved calendar event.  
 
Yes, on the 14th of February, the world will bring its attention to the Christian feast of love, and restaurants, bars, pubs and the like will relish in the date night of the year. It’s Valentine’s Day, folks. A day in which romances bloom, romances falter and indeed, romances are rejuvenated. This can only breed opportunity for those in the hospitality sector. Specifically, food and drink. 
 
So, pick your preferred bouquet of flowers, apply your best perfume and point your heart-shaped arrows at your clandestine crush as we discuss the best ways to prepare your pub, bar or restaurant for the Valentine’s Day rush. 
 
Menus for Me n’ U 
Crafting a Valentine’s Day menu should be at the forefront of your preparation for the big event. Dedicate a 14-day period in which your restaurant or bar will offer exclusive deals for those looking for the perfect romantic dinner.

Statistics say that ​UK expenditure for Valentine’s Day in 2019 was upwards of £1.4 billion, with £391 million going towards dining out​. So, make sure to hit up this trend with an all-inclusive 3 course meal deal (including a bottle of wine) or a "Lonely Hearts Club" drinking menu for those looking to spend the day solo.
 
Make the focus on indulgent foods and dishes, like melt in the middle fudge cake or popular dishes such as salmon and asparagus. Additionally, sharing platters are a great move, as well as limited edition cocktails and wine choices. 
 
Share the Occasion 
Although Valentine’s Day can be a day of great pleasure and romance, it can also be a burden for those looking to satisfy the yearnings of their loved ones. The day is here, the wallet is empty and pressure is ripe to make this night the most romantic of nights. So, make it fun. Organise a competition on your company’s Instagram and/or Twitter pages asking diners to take a quick selfie of their Valentine’s Day date using a certain hashtag. To those that partake, give out a bottle of champagne, offer a free meal, or, if you’re feeling particularly generous, a short-term stay at a local Bed and Breakfast. It’s all in the variety and the financial ability of your restaurant, pub or bar.  
 
Encourage Pre-booking 
Use your social, in-store and online platforms to encourage pre-booking and reservations at your particular restaurant, pub, or bar. Limit your romantic exclusives - your Valentine’s Day menus, social media competitions - to those that book prior, and perhaps offer an attractive discount as extra incentive. Make your business the only business worth dining with on this, the Feast of Saint Valentine. Offer up the goods and your efforts will be rewarded. 

According to restaurant.org, ​“40 percent of reservations [in 2018] were booked in the week leading up to the holiday. On average, customers made their arrangements 11 days in advance”​. Just another argument to flurry along the importance of pre-booking and reservations on Valentine’s Day. 

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