Restaurant Marketing Tactics for Valentine’s Day
Ian Robinson

Restaurant Marketing Tactics for Valentine’s Day

Have you ever heard the expression, “love comes from the heart, but passes through the stomach”? Well, this Valentine’s Day there are many looking for a chance to make Valentine’s Day special. We would love to share some ideas that are timely, proven, and designed to help you supercharge your food and beverage sales this Valentine’s Day. We will cover a few restaurant marketing tactics that can increase sales.

 

According to a National Retail Federation (NRF) consumer spending survey in 2020, consumers said they plan to spend an average of $196.31, up 21 percent from last year’s previous record of $161.96.  That number represents a huge leap, with total spending expected to reach $20.7 billion (National Retail Federation). $196 per person is a lot of money available in the hands of your members, guests, and residents in your community.

 

Furthermore, the evolution of consumer spending is still trending in the direction of experiential gifts, where recipients receive a gift of experience this Valentine’s Day. That means you have a great opportunity to sell the experience of your establishment with your marketing. Taking the idea of selling an experience even further, if you have another line of business such as a spa, golf, or event space you can create an amazing packaged deal to sell your experience.

 

Idea #1 – A Special Menu

Why not create a buzz-worthy menu for Valentine’s Day? Have a few unique, one-of-a-kind menu items that will stand out in your restaurant marketing. Something as simple as putting a romantic spin on the names can help, like “lover’s loaf” for meatloaf. Try to have at least one unique item for each category of food, perhaps even a Valentine’s Day package which includes a three course meal. Many food and beverage operators are focusing on prix fixe programming, where restaurant-goers can receive a complete meal offered at a fixed price.  Want a little more flexibility for your guests?  Try three items from a pre-set menu of nine items – three appetizers, three entrees and three deserts. You can take the fixed or semi-variable idea for your Valentine’s Day themed menu. You could also create a sharing-themed menu, most couples already steal a bite of food from their significant other. By offering menu options that are paired perfectly for sharing (such as samplers or half plates) you can encourage this.

 

Idea #2 – Offer an Exclusive Deal

Offer something so great that patrons will be lining up out the door so that they don’t miss out. Something as simple as a small token gift of chocolates or flowers with every meal can be enough of an incentive for customers. Many customers already intend to purchase romantic gifts for their significant others, why not bundle the experience and gift together? If your operation already has a retail shop, see what you might be able to market to incentivize romantic customers. If you don’t have a retail operation, you can check in with local retailers to see if they’d be interested in working out a packaged deal with you.

 

 

Idea #3 – Extend Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day happening to be on a Sunday in 2021, some romantically-inclined customers may not be able to celebrate on February 14th, so extend the special holiday offer for the entire weekend by offering any Valentine’s themed specials on the Friday and Saturday prior to Valentine’s Day. Few restaurants will extend their specials beyond the 14th so you can stand out from the crowd in a good way! Furthermore, this will help manage demand and the issue of seating so many two-person groups – a particularly significant problem for restaurants with booths and large tables.

 

With your restaurant marketing tactics ready to go, it’s now time to start promoting them. There are two places this can be done inexpensively: inside and online. Inside the restaurant you should make use of themed signage designed to promote Valentine’s Day. Marketing to regulars can be done through an e-mail subscriber list (if you already have one) and/or inviting them to join you via signage and messages at the bottom of receipts in the weeks leading up to the 14th. Online you should take advantage of social media to market your restaurant. Leverage social media to promote your restaurant marketing, be sure to post on Facebook, Twitter and places like Yelp if appropriate. Consider utilizing Facebook ads to generate attention in your local area. Social media is one of the most inexpensive ways to reach a larger untapped audience.

 

Please let us know if you decide to make use of any of these ideas – we’d love to hear about your experience with them. As always, make sure you collect your guest’s contact details during your Valentine’s Day promotion… just like any other day. This is a great opportunity to capture customer data from those you now know like to celebrate special occasions, so you can invite them to come back for future holidays, anniversaries and birthdays.

 

For the National Retail Federation Survey Visit: https://nrf.com/media-center/press-releases/confident-consumers-and-broader-buying-lead-record-valentines-day

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