For restaurants, Valentine’s Day is a big deal, bringing 25 percent of all Americans out to eat (according to the National Restaurant Association). Even more so than other special evenings, Valentine’s Day is about getting all the little details right — from the food to the playlist — and going the extra mile to make your guests feel special. Learn how to best capitalize on this busy holiday, from the weeks before to the night of.
1. Incentivize mobile payments. There’s nothing less romantic than volleying over the check on Valentine’s Day. With platforms like OpenTable Tab, your diners can pay directly on their mobile phones, avoiding the hassle of the check and making for a more seamless dining experience.
2. Offer other add-ons for early bookings. The earlier someone books a reservation, the better a handle your restaurant managers will have on the evening. Encourage diners to book at least two weeks out by offering up specials like a free glass of wine or dessert on the house if you make your reservation by a certain date.
3. Create a special student menu. Located near a university of any kind? Chances are, there are lots of college couples eager to find a place to eat on Valentine’s Day that’s won’t totally break the bank. Have a special set menu that’s slightly scaled back and more affordable that you can advertise to students. Don’t forget: word of mouth on college campuses can be particularly strong, so this sort of offer can go a long way in building a customer base.
4. Give departing guests a special treat. Valentine’s Day is a big gifting holiday, so what better way to leave guests with a lasting impression than to send them off with a thoughtful token of appreciation? Whether it’s homemade chocolate truffles, granola for breakfast the next morning, or simply some flowers — get creative, and make sure it is a memento that exemplifies your restaurant to the T. [Read more…]