premier-mcdougal 5/2/20
Spread the Love - Hero Image

Spread the Love

Valentine’s Day is the first major event of the new year that gives you the opportunity to boost sales and reap some well deserved profits.

When to celebrate
Valentine’s Day falls on a Tuesday this year, which means there are several days to capitalise on the event. Offering a Valentine’s menu throughout the weekend before will attract more interest – think about a Saturday evening meal or even a ‘Sunday Smooch’ lunch-deal! On the day itself, offer an early-bird menu for those who have work or childcare commitments and don’t want a late night, mid-week.

What’s cooking?
Steak is always a popular choice for Valentine’s Day, however consider your meat-free diners too and have good vegetarian options available. Sharing platters for mains and desserts are a perfect option for romantic couples. Keep your menu simple and unique, and try to use as many ingredients as you can from your daily menu to help avoid waste.

Valentines ChocolatesMake it special
Raising prices for the occasion will only sway customers to dine at home. Instead, keep your regular menu, and also offer a two or three-course deal or even a main meal with a glass of bubbly (Champagne if you want to push the boat out!). Treat the occasion as an opportunity to add value to your customer experience; if they are impressed they’ll make a repeat visit another time. Little touches like candles on the table, a welcome drink or flower on arrival will make it a memorable experience.

What to pour?
No Valentine’s Day is complete without bubbles. From Pink Champagne, Mateus Rosé (dry and sophisticated), Lambrusco and of course Prosecco – add a splash of Cassis for a Kir Royale. Speciality cocktails with fun names like ‘Woo Me’ and ‘Valentine’s Kiss’ will bring trade to the bar. Or why not offer a twist on an old favourite by adding Champagne to Guinness to make a Black Velvet – considered to be an aphrodisiac in certain parts of the world.

And for the non drinkers…
With 21% of adults in the UK being non drinkers*, you can’t assume everyone will want to drink alcohol to celebrate the occasion. New flavours and styles of soft drinks have been developed for adult tastes, and the same goes for low and non-alcoholic beers where one in five drinkers now can’t tell them from the real deal. Create a premium drink experience with first class presentation and a varied choice, and make mocktails just as superior as cocktails. Non-alcoholic drinks deserve the same care and attention as alcoholic ones. Read our feature online to get some tips

One for the roadLovely Glass of Red
Most customers will end their meal with a hot beverage, so it is important to have a varied choice on offer. From a range of tea, coffee, liqueur coffee and hot chocolate (read our feature on page 29) this is the final opportunity to raise the premium on sales. Ensure your staff are briefed to point out your offer of hot drinks to the customer before the bill is called for or even pop down the drinks menu once the dessert is finished. Serving complimentary chocolates (heart-shaped if you have them) with hot beverages will add that extra special touch and leave a lasting impression with the customer.

Spread the word
Make sure your Valentine’s Day plans are promoted on social media, your website and in-house, and even local papers in advance of the day itself. This gives customers something to look forward to, especially if some have been participating in Dry January. Encourage guests to book early for a discounted offer – especially during the quieter eating times. Make your offer unique to compete with your competitors – or make your dishes fun and exciting.

Succulent steak
Who doesn’t love a steak? We asked London Steakhouse Co for their tips. “Everyone has a favourite, but sticking to the primal cuts is advisable; so fillet, ribeye, sirloin and rump,” said James Ogilvie Robertson, co-owner.
• Best cooked on a BBQ, charcoal oven or chargrill
• Keep steak at room temperature for an hour before cooking. Then pat it dry before massaging in a little olive oil. Season on both sides
• Let the steak cook for 90 seconds, turn, and sear the other side for another 90 seconds
• If your steak is a thick cut, sear outside edges too
• How long you cook for next is a matter of taste: anything cut to the thickness of your thumb will be cooked medium-rare in 4 minutes, medium in 5 and medium-well to well-done in 6
• Just before the time is up add a large knob of butter (25g) to the pan and watch it melt and foam up. Angle the pan to one side and spoon the molten butter and cooking juices over the meat
• Take the steak out and leave it to rest on a board for at least 5 minutes

Here are some recipes perfect for the romantic occasion…Patatas Bravas with chorizo, Spicy Tomato & Basil Sauce, Andalucìan Chicken, Toasted Pine Nuts, Sherry & Cinnamon & Aubergine Fritters, Stuffed Peppers with Red Rice & Tomato Sauce and Dunking Doughnuts with Chocolate Custard


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