Valentine’s Day Restaurant Marketing: Win Customers Over with These Ideas

In Feb 1907, Hershey’s Chocolate company introduced the Kisses’ candy.

In 1913, Hallmark produced its first Valentine’s day card.

Cut to 2013 and Uber rolled out its #RomanceOnDemand campaign allowing users to send flowers to their loved ones.

Brands have been capitalising on Valentine’s Day from a long time and restaurants are no different.

In fact, Valentine’s Day is ranked one of the 5 busiest days of the year for restaurants. Statistic Brain estimated that almost 34.6% of people dine out on Valentine’s Day. With the increasing demand for food delivery, even a larger number of people order-in.

Whether it’s dates or anti-dates, warm fuzzies or crushing loneliness, we will help you make the best of this season of ‘love’ using the marketing ideas mentioned below.

Think for everyone: acquire different customer sets

Singles

While love might be in the air for some, there are also our single friends who might be having mixed feelings about this day. While you run special couple offers, don’t forget to do a little something to cater to the single audience. It could be anything from offering a free dessert to hosting a ‘singles-only’ party.

restaurant marketing post
Smally’s messaging for the female single audience.
Couples

Providing good food, as well as a romantic experience, should be a must for your restaurant on Valentine’s Day.

#Tip: Remember to be inclusive. An easy way to do that is to remove any Gender Pronouns from your promotions, making them cater to all kinds of couples. After all, love is love.

Group of friends

Group of friends, whether big or small, never need an occasion to hang-out. Your restaurant should always be ready to host them but on a special day like this, a sweet gesture or a discount would definitely put a smile on their face.

Families

Think couples with kids, or big-family get-togethers. Everyone wants to enjoy a special day, so keep arrangements in mind for families as well. This could include offering ‘family-packs’ for delivery or having a play zone at your restaurant where kids can be while parents enjoy the dinner.

Plan for the entire week

February is your month to cash on pop-culture trends. Not just Valentine’s Day but several other days on either side of it, offer a great marketing and sales opportunity.

For example, see how Le15 is making the most of ‘Rose Day’ here:

Rose Day marketing by restaurants

Run your offers and the special menu for at least 2 weeks, providing plenty of time for promotions and customers to actually unlock the offers.

Offers that your customers will love

With Millennials and Gen Z actively being a part of your audience, online ordering and frequent offers are some areas you just cannot ignore, even on special dine-out occasions like Valentine’s Day. Here are some offer ideas you can use and personalise to get hot orders:

Run a special ‘loyalty’ offer

Treat your most loyal customers with extra love by offering something more (1+1 drink, a free dessert, starter etc) with their order whether online or at the outlet.

Discount for first 15 couples who reserve a table online

This is a great chance to promote your Table Reservation feature because most people plan their dates before and look for options to book online.

Table reservation for valentines
Happy hours for the singles

This offer will surely bring all the singles to your restaurant. Keep a DJ or some live music ready to set up the mood as an addition to that.

Love notes for your delivery orders

Don’t disappoint your delivery customers. Send them hot food with a special card wishing a ‘Happy Valentine’s Day’ and sharing a special offer they can redeem on their next order.

Here are more ideas for your customer relationship management campaigns.

Social media marketing for the right attention

Social media marketing helps in getting traffic for your restaurant both online and offline. Here are some tips you can use for a great Valentine’s Day social strategy.

Make your visuals speak

Whether it’s introducing a special menu or a gifting range, good visuals go a long way. We’ve got these tips from MailChimp’s Head of Photography that you should keep in mind while getting the shoot done:

  • Less is more: use clean backgrounds and natural light.
  • Don’t clutter the image with too many props.
  • Bounce light into the image with a reflector or an 8×10 sheet of paper.
  • Hire a professional that can help you out with photography and editing.

food styling example

Need some inspiration? These are some great shots we found online on Pinterest.

Video marketing for the win

Video is a great type of engagement content. From showing your special decor to performer sneak-peaks, it can easily entice more customers to visit your restaurants. You don’t even need to invest heavy budgets on and can probably do it in-house or hire an agency to save time.

If DIY is your thing, this is a list of tools you can use for cost-effective videos:

  • Animoto
  • Quik
  • iMovies
  • Clip
  • Kinemaster
Contests that bring engagement

Contests are a great way to generate conversations around your brand on the social media.

Ideas for the contest could vary from sharing a love message to doing a particular activity for your loved ones. You can offer the best ones a free date at your restaurant or a discount offer to order-in.

On-Spot Execution for the V-Day

Love on the menu

Having a special Valentine’s day menu can work great for promotions. Here are some ideas that might help you out:

  • Ask your chefs to curate everything from starters to desserts.
  • Name your dishes and cocktails in a fun way. For example: “I love you berry much”
  • Build your menu around classic romance movies. For example – a sandwich inspired by “When Harry Met Sally”
  • Make your loyal customers a part of the menu curation experience.

Further here are some Valentine’s menu ideas we’re loving:

Starbucks Valentine's Menu
menu specials on Valentine's
Cafe Menu for Valentine's
Events for a complete experience

Sushi making workshop. Baking face-off competition. A cosy movie-night.

Events are a great way to provide an overall experience to your guests. They’re easy to plan and evoke special interest during occasions like Valentine’s.

Here’s an example from the Greener Cafe:

Date Daily New Likes Daily Page Engaged Users Daily Total Reach Daily Viral Reach Daily Total Impressions Daily Total Organic Views The number of new people who have liked your Page (Unique Users) The number of people who engaged with your Page. Engagement includes any click or story created. (Unique Users) The number of people who had any content from your Page or about your Page enter their screen (Unique Users) This includes someone's friend likes or follows your Page, engages with a post, shares a photo of your Page and checks into your Page. (Unique Users) The number of times any content from your Page or about your Page entered a person's screen. (Total Count) The number of times a video has been viewed due to organic reach (Total Count) 18-08-15 4 518 4694 4532 6817 930 18-08-16 305 1560 3642 1974 4501 415 18-08-17 884 837 8013 1260 8813 303 18-08-18 436 123 4626 831 5353 203 18-08-19 86 114 988 436 1294 134 18-08-20 81 32 879 232 1124 83 18-08-21 8 32 288 183 400 99 18-08-22 2 12 185 116 288 145 18-08-23 1 14 116 88 193 72 18-08-24 9 148 141 230 54 Average Daily 18-08-25 1 228 63 56 131 60 Likes (+) 109.0217391 18-08-26 8 234 3206 2497 4961 897 Engagement 223 18-08-27 5 163 5351 5126 7836 1173 Reach 1766.510638 18-08-28 6 156 3477 3444 5407 847 Viral Reach 1085.46875 18-08-29 5 48 3996 3560 5742 684 Impressions 2294.340426 18-08-30 3 150 1420 1326 1975 263 Views 294.0638298 18-08-31 74 258 1231 591 1503 174 18-09-01 185 306 1039 341 1209 99 18-09-02 217 331 1033 263 1172 76 18-09-03 218 454 1240 320 1401 103 18-09-04 207 417 2379 1384 3386 683 18-09-05 254 337 1902 661 2224 272 18-09-06 227 316 1426 389 1601 97 18-09-07 210 26 1424 426 1608 134 18-09-08 13 12 256 223 331 52 18-09-09 2 10 199 191 249 58 18-09-10 2 11 217 214 268 54 18-09-11 1 10 168 163 248 49 18-09-12 1 9 164 147 269 48 18-09-13 2 591 177 120 236 32 18-09-14 387 803 2504 313 2727 88 18-09-15 312 511 6064 3187 7744 1239 18-09-16 207 117 4068 2494 5268 805 18-09-17 8 695 1872 1818 2551 562 18-09-18 409 392 3708 1086 4308 326 18-09-19 220 183 2124 737 2522 217 18-09-20 3 62 2480 1758 3399 614 18-09-21 4 23 995 860 1324 232 18-09-22 3 20 476 429 644 114 18-09-23 1 12 371 337 478 85 18-09-24 3 39 222 207 334 80 18-09-25 1 33 502 310 719 165 18-09-26 2 17 753 581 1037 203 18-09-27 3 10 264 234 339 64 18-09-28 1 66 228 204 279 65 18-09-29 1 49 553 540 756 178 18-09-30 2 131 1895 1721 2635 491 Total 5015 10481 83026 48051 107834 13821
Decor that shines

Your Valentine’s Day decor can make or break the customer experience. You can follow a grand theme or go minimalistic. Providing your guests something that makes them smile and is remembered for a long time should be your goal.

From our hearts to yours

We hope you get all the attention and a full-house this Valentine’s. Ultimately, it’s the little efforts that count and make your customer’s day. If you implement any of these ideas, do share with us in the comments.

For restaurant marketing ideas beyond Valentine’s, go here.

Valentine’s Day Restaurant Marketing: Win Customers Over with These Ideas
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Niharika Maggo

Niharika Maggo

Niharika is a Content Marketer at LimeTray. When she’s not busy wearing down the keys on her keyboard, she's found listening to podcasts, reading or drinking tea. She can be reached at marketing@limetray.com.