Working as a Bartender and waiter during my college days there were two days I knew if I played my cards right I would make a good amount of tips and also work long hours for an event. Those two days where Valentine’s day and Mother’s day. Years later when we started helping restaurants increase their table turnaround and bringing new patrons into the venues we realized the great opportunities that a restaurant has on St. Valentines day.
8 Tips to Get your Ready for St. Valentines
Here are a few tips you can use as a restaurant owner or manager to make the best out of St. Valentines and any other holiday that creates a spike in sales:
1. Email Customers – The best way to contact your customers is via email. If you have an established mailing list you can quickly send out a warm message informing patrons on what you will be offering during the event, operating hours, and maybe a special menu.
2. Create a few blog posts – Creating one blog post is good but creating a series of blog posts leading into what you are offering might be a great idea. Here are some ideas:
- Explain the overall experience you will create on that day
- What special appetizers and entrees will be served
- What themed cocktails you will have available. Maybe even include a recipe to make it at home.
- What will make it different from spending that special day in your venue from any other place.
3. Use your online platforms – Once you have touched based with your closest customers via email and created the blog posts. Work on an editorial calendar to share things on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, or any other favorite platform where your audience is. Instagram will definitely entice your customers if you have already practiced the menu.
4. Offer E-gift cards for last moment gifts – Not everyone that wants to buy a gift on St. Valentines is trying to sit down for a romantic dinner. Maybe a friend wants to give a gift card from your restaurant to their favorite couple. You might even want to discount the value of the card if they come any other day outside of St. Valentines. That way you increase cash flow outside of the capacity limitation you may have at your restaurant.
5. Don’t forget the singles – You and I have probably seen people complain about being single at the start of February. Why not create a themed event for all those singles in the bar area. Get creative and maybe some of your patrons will arrive single and leave with their future spouse. Talk about creating memories and loyalty amongst your customers if they continue the relationship.
6. Get closer to your customers and prospects – Do something special for your top clientele or those that you want to see around your business more. Maybe reach out to reserve special seating and reservations with a drink on the house on arrival to make them feel even more special.
7. Extend your valentines offers throughout the week – You can only attend to a certain amount of patrons in one night. Why not find a creative and strategic way to spread your visitors throughout the week. Maybe create some specials outside of those times where you know will be very busy.
8. Offer an incentive for a future visit – Visiting a restaurant on a day like this might not really create a very warm environment as the staff is taking care of more customers than usual. To increase the frequency of visits, create a loyal clientele, and have them experience your restaurant on a regular operating day; offer something that will bring them back. Maybe a gift card for a future visit or a few drinks on their next visit. There are many other things that can be done during St. Valentines and pretty much on any other occasion to create more solid relationships with your clientele and bring more business to you. Years ago by just being creative we were able to even grab some national press coverage which saved our partner greatly on marketing costs.
If you need help with finding a strategy for a future event or building your audience contact me directly.