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7 Valentine’s Day Ideas for Restaurants [+11 Preparation Tips]

7 Valentine’s Day Ideas for Restaurants [+11 Preparation Tips]



January 25, 2024

January 25, 2024

Valentine’s Day is one of the most important events for restaurants. Research shows that 85% of adults aged 18 and higher, celebrate Valentine’s Day. Of these, 74% are likely to dine out or order takeout.

For restaurants, Valentine’s Day is about creating cozy, romantic dining experiences that prompt guests to keep coming back afterwards.

Here are 7 Valentine’s Day ideas to help you create memorable dining experiences at your restaurant. We’ll also include tips on how to prepare your restaurant and marketing campaigns.

7 Valentine’s Day ideas for your restaurants

7 Valentine’s Day ideas for your restaurants

Let’s look at ways to spice up Valentine’s Day at your restaurant.

Valentine’s Day menu items

Creating a Valentine’s Day-themed menu is one of the top ways to stand out. You can create several limited-time dishes to entice your guests’ palates.

You can create new menu items specifically for this event or spruce up current dishes and offer more flavor.

You can also rearrange how you set some dishes to meet the V-day theme. For example, research shows that heart-shaped pizzas are a cute twist some restaurants do on Valentine’s Day.

Hold special events 

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity for couples to dine out. Consider holding a special event with music or a band at your restaurant.

However, if you’re planning an event, you should market what you’re offering at least two weeks in-advance and collect guest bookings. That way you know when you have a full-house and when seats are available for walk-in guests.

Dining events are a great way to increase restaurant reservations. Valentine’s Day is a highlight of the year, so make sure you use it to the fullest.

Offer full-course Valentine’s Day menus

Can’t hold an event? No problem. Consider creating a full-course dining experience with a special Valentine’s Day menu.

A full-course menu would include soup, salad, a main course, dessert, and a beverage. Guests can book and pay in-advance to reserve a table.

If you’re offering several options under each course, you can get guests to list their order while making the online reservation.

If you’re using SerVme’s reservation management software, you can share your Valentine’s Day digital menu via your reservation widget.

Offer free desserts (or gifts)

A great way to increase foot traffic, waitlists, and reservations is to offer a free Valentine’s Day dessert or special beverage. You can set a minimum order value for the free offering.

Since the purpose is to get more bookings or walk-ins, you should market this in advance. Share the special Valentine’s Day offer with your customers and followers on social media.

Create an email or SMS campaign to notify guests of the special offer. Ask them to make a booking with a deposit using the reservation widget.

That way, serious guests will add a deposit, reducing the chance of no-shows. Once they finish their meal, you can deduct the deposit from their final bill.

Further reading: The Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Restaurants

Rename menu items with puns and humor 

Don’t have time to create new items or menus? Spice up your current menu items by giving them romantic, humorous, and punny names. ‘Lover’s Lasagna,’ ‘Cupid’s Arrow Cake,’ are some ideas to get you started.

Offer early reservation access to repeat & VIP guests 

If you’re using reservation management and CRM software like SerVme, you can offer early table reservation access to your repeat guests. And your top spenders or frequent visitors, or all the above.

Create email or SMS campaigns, depending on the customer information you have, and send out your company. Be sure to add a touch of personalization, and thank customers for being frequent visitors or among your loyal customers.

Giving early or priority reservation access makes guests feel special.

Give your restaurant a V-day feel with a special setup

Nothing says Valentine’s Day like the setting of your restaurant. Besides food and drink, giving your table covers a fresh look can give the Valentine’s Day special feel guests crave.

Look at Valentine’s Day decoration ideas for restaurants for inspiration. A red rose on the dinner table sets the picture for couples flocking to your restaurant for a romantic night out.

Similarly, changing the color of your covers for a day offers a change of scenery for regulars. For example, if your regular table covers are white, consider changing them to black, dark red, or a checkered version.

Can’t do that? A simple change can be the color of your napkins. Use colorful napkins (black, red, or dark red) to give a Valentine’s Day feel and flavor to the setting.

Valentine’s Day marketing and sales ideas and tips to try

Valentine’s Day marketing and sales ideas and tips to try

Now, let’s see how you can prepare for the big day. The following list includes preparation and marketing tips.

Send a special newsletter 

If you send monthly newsletters, make sure you highlight your Valentine’s Day announcement and offerings in that newsletter.

Create a clickable–but not clickbait–email subject line. Use emojis.

Give your guests an idea about what’s in store for them on Valentine’s Day. Add images of dishes or a prepared setting of your restaurant on that day.

Don’t forget to include your reservation widget for V-day. 

Create an email or SMS marketing campaign 

Email campaigns can be coupled with newsletters or can be independent.

Create an email or SMS marketing campaign from your SerVme dashboard to inform guests of what awaits them on 14 February at [your restaurant name.]

Add a call-to-action with a link to your reservation widget so guests can add the time and book a table for two.

Note: Unlike a newsletter, which can include several topics or points, an email campaign should focus on one thing only. In this case, your Valentine’s Day offering.

Valentine’s Day email and SMS campaign idea for hotels

For hotel restaurants, create separate email or SMS campaigns for in-house and outside guests, inviting them to your restaurant for Valentine’s Day.

For in-house guests, review their dining preferences in your restaurant CRM and suggest the restaurant most suited to them.

For outside guests, let them know if you’re running special events and share your reservation widget so they can book tables. 

Get more bookings with social media

Create a social media campaign to get more reservations via Facebook and Instagram. Don’t forget to add enticing, mouth-watering (but real) images to entice guests.

Use SerVme’s Facebook and Instagram integration to get bookings from social media.

Offer a special giveaway (or three) 

For some quick service restaurants, Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity to get new and repeat customers with a draw or giveaway. Consider giving free dessert to 2 or 3 random couples on Valentine’s Day.

Be sure to let your social media followers know about your giveaway. Take pictures and share the news on social media when the giveaway ends.

It’s an opportunity to create a little mystery and give guests a reason to try more of your food. 

Extend into the weekend 

While most people celebrate Valentine’s Day on 14 February, if V-day falls on a weekday, many will postpone their celebration to the weekend.

In the United States and Europe, the Saturday following Valentine’s Day is more popular. In the Middle East, Thursday and Friday are likely to be popular too.

So, consider extending your Valentine’s Day offerings, be it a special menu, setting, or free desserts, into the weekend.

Final tips for Valentine’s Day preparations

Final tips for Valentine’s Day preparations

Now, let’s prepare your restaurant to start getting reservations for Valentine’s Day.

If you’re using SerVme, you can do all of this from your SerVme dashboard. 

Prepare a special tantalizing digital menu 

Your Valentine’s Day menu is one of the top ways to entice repeat and new guests to your restaurant. Decide which new menu items you’re going to add and create a special Valentine’s Day-themed digital menu.

If you’re using SerVme, you can create the digital menu directly from your dashboard. Add images, dietary information, plate options, and more.

You can highlight special dishes on your digital menu.

Research by LightSpeedHQ and 7shifts shows sales for lobster and steak dishes increase by 213% and 127%, respectively, on Valentine’s Day.

“Guests are 50% more likely to order dessert on Valentine’s Day,” the research indicates. LightSpeedHQ and 7shifts advise restaurant managers to give guests “enough options to choose from.”

Once Valentine’s Day is over, you don’t have to delete the menu but simply make it inactive for next year.

Improve capacity with floor planning for two-top seating 

Use SerVme’s floor planning feature to split up tables and arrange two-top seating for your guests. A two-top is when two people sit at a table. Valentine’s Day is popular among couples.

So, rearrange seating to accommodate more couples, while ensuring a smooth movement flow in your restaurant.

Collect in-advance payments and reservation fees 

Nothing hurts more than seeing a ‘reserved’ but empty table during one of the busiest dining events of the year. Collect reservation fees or direct deposits from guests who make an online booking. 

Use SerVme’s reservation widget to log reservations and collect payments.

When guests arrive and finish their meal, your point-of-sale (POS) will deduct the reservation fee or deposit from the total bill. It will appear as ‘SerVme’ or ‘SerVme deposit’ on the bill.’

Further reading: How to Make the Most of SerVme’s Restaurant Table Management Software

Manage reservations and waitlists 

As one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, it’s only fair to let guests make reservations. Let guests choose the time they expect to come. That way, you can ensure smoother operations and avoid a waitlist.

That said, you can create an online waitlist for guests who want to book at busy times. If someone cancels or moves their booking, you can reach out to waitlist guests and move them up the queue.

Use waitlist management to collect guest information, add it to your CRM, and use it for future marketing campaigns.

Customize your widget for Valentine’s Day 

Give your guests a feel of Valentine’s Day before the big day by customizing your reservation widget. Add images to suit the V-day theme, change text colors and fonts,…etc.

Make the widget feel like your brand with a twist.

Don’t forget to inform guests about special offers, free drinks, half-priced desserts, and, of course, your deposit or reservation fee. 

Final words

Final words

With Valentine’s Day being around the corner, it’s time to start preparing your restaurant and ramping up your marketing efforts.

Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to increase restaurant sales, especially high-ticket dishes like steak and seafood. Make sure your newest or top dishes come with mouth-watering images of real dishes. After all, they’ll be setting the stage and guest expectations.

Once the dining event is over, make sure you collect guest feedback with automated guest surveys. These surveys not only help you know how good–or bad–the experience was for your guest, but also gives you insights and ideas for coming years and dining events.

For example, a month after Valentine’s Day, specifically on 21 March, various countries around the world celebrate Mother’s Day. It’s another opportunity to increase sales and profits, while offering guests unique, annual dining experiences.

Posted by :

Posted by:

Mohammed Rafy