5 Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Your Bar or Restaurant

 In Bar & Restaurant Operations, Bar Promotion

Love is in the air! Following closely behind Thanksgiving Eve and New Years Eve, Valentine’s Day is one of the most profitable days in the bar and restaurant industry.  Customers are beginning to make reservations, so now is the perfect time to promote your bar or restaurant in a romantic way. How will you differentiate your business from competitors? Here are a few suggestions to entice your customers with more than just chocolate, wine and flowers.

Put on your Sunday clothes

Dress up your restaurant for a fancy evening. Employees who usually wear polos or t-shirts as their uniform can wear spruce up their attire to create a romantic and upscale feeling. Elements such as mood lighting, decorations, live music (jazz musicians or a string quartet), and gourmet meal options will offer a spin on your traditional day-to-day atmosphere. Turning off the television and providing a lounge area with plush, throw pillows is another way to promote an intimate ambiance.

Camelot Cellars created a “Dinner in the Dark” to match this concept. Traditionally, they are a wine cellar which solely serves wine; however, on Valentine’s Day, they hired an outside catering company to serve dinner and offered a package deal that included an appetizer, dinner, dessert and wine. This not only enticed loyal customers to attend a revamped version of a favorite hangout, but also invited new customers who may not have ever considered Camelot as a Valentine’s Day destination.

Three’s a Crowd

Some love birds do not have the luxury of spending the night alone. Some families prefer to celebrate the occasion as a unit. You can appeal to this particular audience by offering a kid-friendly themed evening. Table games can be provided or you can host a trivia game throughout the evening that offers prizes to the family that wins. A prize option could include a gift certificate to your restaurant to for a future “date night”  to encourage future visits. Family Hospitality Group gives a few great examples of the benefits of appeasing the little tykes. This family, customer, and employee engagement is a winning formula to a great night. Consider switching up the menu to highlight kid-friendly meals. Perhaps a picnic themed dinner would be a great non-traditional approach to dinner.

Make a Night of It

If space is available, you can provide an area where couples can dance after a delicious meal. If this is not feasible or applicable to your particular audience, provide coupons to a local movie theatre, museum, specialty shop or outdoor activity to offer discounts that encourage a before or after-dinner activity. Local businesses in Montgomery County, PA, have capitalized on the notion of partnering with other local businesses to bring increased value to their customers. If you are looking for ways to liven up the evening in a bar setting, invite local bands to come play.

Iron Chef America

For those who love to cook, Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to invite customers into your facility and allow them to cook. Show them behind-the-scenes and provide them with opportunity to replicate a famous dish. It can be the entire meal, or perhaps just dessert. Rathbun’s Restaurant offers cooking classes and has found this fosters direct engagement with their customers and encourages future visits to their restaurant.

Singles Ladies, Put Your Hand Up

For singles, Valentine’s Day can be a dismal reminder of being alone. However, your restaurant or bar can capitalize on this preconceived notion and provide a single ladies (or males if they so chose) package deal that includes dinner, wine, dessert and an appetizer. This creates a sense of unity among a group. An open bar is also a great way to market yourself to this particular crowd. Fluid London lists ways restaurants can leverage an Anti-Valentine’s Day Celebrations.

Regardless of your personal thoughts on the cupid-struck holiday, Valentine’s Day is a special day to celebrate the love you share with a partner and it would be a mistake to not take advantage of such a profitable evening.

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