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Love is in the Air

Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to get your business heart beating again after the post-Christmas lull.

According to the National Restaurant Survey, the romantic event is the second most lucrative day of the year for restaurants after Mother’s Day and now seen as a big celebration for singles as well as couples. Take Stock looks at how to get your business in the mood for love.

Singles romance

Over the past few years there has been a rise in singles-based events on Valentine’s Day. Research from Mintel found that 15% of Brits are on the dating scene, and six million adults are single. “Being single is very much the norm,” explains Alexandra Richmond, senior consumer and lifestyle analyst at Mintel. “The stigma attached with being single has disappeared and, as such, Valentine’s Day has become a popular night to go out and celebrate their single status.” Here are some suggestions to host singles at your premises and ensure you pull in the single crowd:

  • Speed dating night
  • Valentine’s quiz
  • Fancy dress party
  • Drink offers and speciality cocktails

Attracting couples

The tradition of Valentine’s Day has been two people celebrating their love for one another over a candlelit dinner. Although a winning formula, with so much competition nowadays (and the growing attraction of staying in) you have to be savvy when it comes to creating deals and menu options. A survey by Hospitality Gem showed that only 6% of romancers said they would be interested in a set menu, with 62% admitting they’d prefer to choose from the full menu.

Steven Pike, director of Hospitality Gem, says, “Keep your offer simple. Maintain your usual prices, ensure your service is good and personal, and make your venue romantic without going over the top.” He suggests opting for special romantic-themed starters in addition to your normal menu, rather than going down the set menu route. Shared dishes and platters, such as tapas are a good option, because they create intimacy and feel sexier and more spontaneous than a sedate, formal meal.

Spread the love

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday so there is a prime profit-making opportunity by making the whole weekend a festival of romance.

  • Have a Valentine’s lunch deal. Not everyone can afford or is able to go out in the evening. This way, customers still have a romantic treat and don’t feel like they’ve missed out.
  • Most singles party on a Friday night and couples on a Saturday, so think about dedicating each night for one particular group and cater to their needs.
  • Create specials with ingredients known for their aphrodisiac properties: cherries, pears, oysters, pine nuts and asparagus could all be used.
  • Be organised and gear up your promotions. Research shows that half of all customers on Valentine’s night book two weeks ahead.
  • Have champagne deals available, such as by the glass or as part of the meal deal. Couples like to toast their love with fizz – especially if one proposes!
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