February may be the shortest month of the year, but it’s still an important time for restaurants. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, your guests are either preparing for a romantic evening, planning an event with family and friends, or looking for a welcome distraction from the holiday. Whatever their relationship status, they’re eyeing your menu – and your sweetest specials – as they count down the days until February 14th. How can your restaurant compete? Keep it simple, cupid!

 

Can Buy Me Love

According to the National Retail Federation, consumers will spend an average of $143.56 per person on this year’s most romantic holiday. This amounts to an expected $19.6 billion in total spending – up from just $18.2 billion last year. Take a look at your Point of Sale system’s records and see how much your restaurant made on February 14, 2017. With the proper marketing, you can expect to make even more this time around.

So, what is the proper marketing? Let’s take a closer look at the numbers to see what your guests are most excited about.

 

Dinner Dates at Higher Rates

The NRF predicts that $3.7 billion of this year’s total Valentine’s Day spending will go toward “an evening out.” This is one of the most popular ways for people to spend the holiday, with 32.5% of celebrants planning a night on the town.

Guests aged 18-34 are much more likely than older generations to plan Valentine’s dates. Review your guests’ demographic data, if you can, to see the age of your average customer. If you’re serving Millennials and Generation Z, consider running a social media campaign to tell them about your Valentine’s Day specials. If your restaurant has its own app, send younger guests a notification, and invite them to make reservations in advance.

Older guests are more likely to stay home and exchange gifts there – but they may still want a special meal! If most of your guests are 35 or older, make sure they know about delivery options. Whether you send them an email, or send an employee to place menus at their doors, it’s your job to keep them informed about any special deals or dishes. On the 14th, make sure you have enough delivery drivers to meet their expectations.

 

Valentines Online

More than half of Valentine’s Day celebrants plan to make purchasing decisions with the help of their smartphones. Is your restaurant’s website optimized for mobile viewing? Make sure to include your menu’s pricing information online; 36.9% of guests will be comparing prices via phone. If you offer a Valentine’s Day deal – such as a pre-fixe menu, or a LTO drink special – make sure to mention it at the top of your menu, so guests know what to expect.

As a restaurant operator, you know there’s one long-term relationship that matters the most to your business: the relationship you have with your guests. Valentine’s Day is a shining opportunity for you to show them just how much you care.