Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, with couples up and down the UK already thinking about how to impress their other half with a fancy meal out. So why not make their Valentine’s Day one to remember by offering a date night with an OpenTable Experience? You can set them up in no time at all and you’ll reap the rewards of new marketing opportunities, upfront cash flow, and more predictable, streamlined service. Here, we’ve got you covered with some ideas for Experiences to help you transform your restaurant into a love nest this February 14th.
Make your current Experiences extra lovey-dovey
It’s easy to overlook the fact that couples book date nights at your restaurant every day of the week, regardless of the occasion. For you, it’s a signal to keep doing what you’re doing, just with a slight rebrand of the things everyone already loves about your spot. Below are some examples of how to repackage what you may already be doing as an Experience for Valentine’s Day.
Prix fixe menus
Turn your prix-fixe menus into a Valentine’s Day Experience for guests, reframing them as date night menus with prepayment options. Doing so can reduce no-shows, streamline operations, and simplify the meal for guests. You can even include upselling options, such as indulgent extras like white truffles.
Don’t forget about brunch
This year, the big day falls on a Monday, which means many diners will want to celebrate on the weekend. It offers the perfect opportunity for your restaurant to turn a typical weekend brunch into a special menu. In Soho, London, Ruby’s has taken its brunch menu and given it some love with a three-course meal and free bottle of prosecco. These little touches can make the menu seem more special to guests and encourage them to book their Valentine’s meal at your restaurant.
Monday lunch day
For those who plan to celebrate Valentine’s on the day, you might want to consider offering lunch options. More people are working from home at the moment, which is why a romantic lunch could be the perfect antidote to the first day back at work after the weekend. Or why not offer some afternoon teas like Ham Yard in Soho, London, so loved-up couples can enjoy a hot brew and sandwiches this Valentine’s?
There’s every chance that you already offer a tasting menu, but these options are even more popular on Valentine’s Day. After all, it is a day for sharing, and many restaurants repackage their tasting menus with a Valentine’s theme. For example, Kanishka in Mayfair, London, is getting people in the mood with its King Kanishka Tasting Menu featuring five courses and a sparkling cocktail for added measure.
What’s on the dessert menu?
If you have a pastry chef, why not offer a Valentine’s Day dessert experience to get more couples through the door? Offer your regular dessert menu and after-dinner drinks options to make the most out of last-minute bookings. These people may have spent Valentine’s doing something different like visiting the cinema or a theatre but still want to satisfy their sweet tooth at the end of the night.
Go big on merch
Many restaurants sell merchandise at their restaurants that can help with upselling. From bottled sauces to cookbooks and T-shirts, there are plenty of opportunities to sell your merchandise in the form of a cutesy Valentine’s gift. Who knows? Partners might be looking for a last-minute save and end up buying some of your restaurant merch as a Valentine’s Day present for their partner. Even better, why not include a free gift in one of your Experience meals?
Extra touches for a five-star Valentine’s Day Experience
There are plenty of opportunities to take what you’re already doing and turn them into Experiences. But what about ensuring guests have a romantic night they won’t forget? Go big with these ideas for dinners, and make sure Cupid has his arrow pointed at your spot.
Set the scene with some fresh flowers around your restaurants. Nothing gets people in the mood on Valentine’s Day quite like a beautiful arrangement of flowers. Think about partnering with a local florist to make sure your dining room spreads the love to diners.
Cater for Galentine’s Day
Over the years, an increasing number of people have started celebrating Galentine’s Day, where friendships, rather than relationships, are cherished. Don’t forget about this demographic and offer group seating and menus to anyone who prefers to celebrate with friends instead of lovers.
If ever there’s a time where someone’s going to say “I do”, it’s on Valentine’s Day. Restaurants are usually the backdrop for many marriage proposals, and you can capitalise by creating an Experience for someone about to pop the question. A proposal Experience could include a special menu, offering to hide the ring, or one of the staff snapping a picture or two – assuming the person being proposed to says yes, of course.
Give back on a day for love
Show guests that you care by offering to donate a portion of the cost to a charity close to your heart. Doing so will certainly help with the goodwill towards your spot and may even encourage guests to become regulars, especially if they love your food and your ethos.
The menu of love
Add some aphrodisiac ingredients to your courses, from oysters to chilli peppers and strawberries. All of these ingredients enhance the mood for love, and it’s the perfect time of year to highlight them on your menus.
A piano player or some jazz could really enhance the mood at your restaurant. When done right, love music gets people feeling relaxed and adds to the overall ambience. You can even play up the music on offer in your Experience description. If you can’t get someone to perform live, create a Valentine’s playlist designed to get people feeling the love while they dine at your spot.
A Valentine’s Experience to remember
With these tips, you can ensure that your guests enjoy an unforgettable experience at your restaurant this Valentine’s Day. And you might just love curating these Experiences so much that you use them regularly throughout the year to get guests booking with your restaurant.