February may be the shortest month of the year, but it can also be a very lucrative one for the hospitality industry, thanks to Valentine’s Day. Whether you like it or not, the day has enormous sales potential. You just have to think outside of the box. The 14th of February is a great chance to promote your business and reach a broader audience.
CREATE AN EXCITING OFFER
People enjoy experiences, and just throwing a few heart-shaped chocolates and rose petals on the table isn’t going to cut it. Create a Couples Sharing Menu, offer a free glass of Champagne or Prosecco (or even a bottle) when they dine with you.
You could even promote Valentine’s Day gift cards, they may not dine with you on the day but they’re a promise for future dates – and a lovely present.
TURN IT INTO AN ACTIVITY
Make it fun by doing something like a wine and food pairing night or a wine tasting evening. You don’t have to be a wine guru to do this, there are lots of companies who send out tasting notes with their wines, and you can just use those! Or, hire someone to take it.
Do something artistic like still life drawing, pottery, or painting in red wine – yes, it’s a thing. You could outsource a company to do this and then create a menu to serve during the activity.
THE LITTLE TOUCHES MATTER
Don’t go overboard on stereotypical ‘love’ shapes and colours but do try and incorporate this into your menu in some way.
Here’s a few ideas:
- Make certain foods pink like dips, breads, and puddings. Jazz up desserts with drizzles and sprinkles of bee pollen, popping candy or a little gold dust.
- Create pink cocktails or serve your champagne with a rose petal, cherry or strawberry on the side of the glass.
- Dress the tables with flowers (it doesn’t have to be rose petals), and nice table clothes in-line with your theme. Think burgundy, silver, white, pink and gold.
- Give every one who dines a little package to take home. This could be homemade chocolates, biscuits, honeycomb or even a discount for their next visit.
CREATE A LOVE ‘PLAYLIST’
Let’s not go too cheesy. We don’t want Mariah Carey belting out I Will Always Love You, but it’s worth choosing a genre or creating a playlist to set the ambiance. Spotify always has some good ideas.
TIME YOUR EMAIL CAMPAIGN
If you don’t send out a regular newsletter, it’s worth looking into this, especially for seasonal occasions, like Valentine’s Day. Some people book months in advance, others are last minute decision makers. Write an email with your offering and send it out to your mailing list. We’d recommend doing this four weeks before the event, and another one the week of Valentine’s Day.
You should share your restaurant’s Valentine’s Day offer on your social media channels, like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and boost their reach by using relevant hashtags, like #valentinesday. It’s worth searching this hashtag too, so you can see what other hospitality businesses and chefs have done, and use it as inspiration.
SPREAD THE WORD
A lot of restaurants and hotels these days use PRs. But there are a few ways you can try and spread the word about your offering without investing in the full works. Journalists are always compiling articles about the best places to go for Valentine’s Day, the most romantic places to stay etc. You could follow the hashtag #journorequest on Twitter, and send over a press release or even just details of what you’re doing. Help A Reporter Out, is also a good one.
Most restaurants have their trusty loyal customers, who they know by name. Why don’t you offer them an early bird rate or discount? It will make them feel special and they may also invite friends, helping to spread the word even further.