Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular days for diners to eat out, so it represents an opportunity for restaurants to capitalise on increased customers. This year we are still mindful of the safety measures that are necessary for diners during the pandemic. While the pandemic is not over yet, and restaurants are still practising safety protocols, we have some suggestions that will make Valentine’s Day special, even in these unique times.

Create the right atmosphere ?

A little goes a long way. Making some decorations visible in your windows will likely draw in customers wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day. It doesn’t need to look like a movie set. But chances to attract more customers will be greater if you make an effort. You don’t need to invest tens of thousands of rands in decorations. To create an atmosphere, some fairy lights, subdued music and, of course, an attentive waiting staff who will take special care of guests during their romantic evening will leave a lasting impression. Take a look at Pinterest for affordable ideas on decorations.

The food of love

Consider adding one or two special items for the Day or simply renaming your specials to add a bit of a romantic feel. Oysters and champagne have always been popular for romantic dinners because they are said to put diners in the mood for love. You could also make a heart-shaped pizza or feature pink coloured foods like salmon pasta or prawns.

Love on the cocktail menu

Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails are yet another great idea because they don’t require that much effort or money on your part if you can work with the existing inventory of ingredients that you have available. Try offering beverages that utilise appropriately coloured drinks like cherry or raspberry for a romantic hue that patrons will appreciate. And playful cocktail names like “Cupid’s Cosmo” should go over well too!

Couples cooking classes

Couples’ cooking classes are a great way of bringing couples closer together. They can enjoy each other’s company while engaging in an activity and learning something new. Why not offer couples cooking classes in your restaurant? Or, for those still concerned about the safety of attending a class in person during a pandemic, you could consider offering kits that come with detailed instructions so that diners can cook them together in the comfort of their own kitchen.

Think out of the box

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is promoted as a couple’s night out, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be something else as well. You could also promote a take-away family package with a kid-friendly dessert or entree included to make it an event for the whole family. Or maybe a package to be enjoyed by friends or singletons who are spending the night on their own.

Raise your social media profile

Special days like Valentine’s Day are the perfect time to increase brand awareness through social media and engage customers. Get creative with your social media posts. Why not run a special Valentine’s Day promotion where you can offer a reward. For example, you could ask customers to declare their love for your brand and tag you on Facebook to stand a chance to win a meal.

Future-proofing your restaurant business is about partnering with the right people, acquiring the correct technology and being open to change. Would you like to find out more about strategies for future-proofing your restaurant? Download our guide to learn from our experiences over the past few difficult years.