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
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.