Valentine’s Day, typically one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, falls on a Thursday this year — which has operators seeing dollar signs instead of hearts.
This year, restaurants are gearing up for not just one busy night but an extended weekend of romantic dining opportunities.
Lovers who don’t go out on the weeknight are likely to show up on Friday, Saturday or even Sunday, and most restaurants are extending promotions and specials through the weekend.
Valentine’s Day is a bit different than other holidays since most diners usually request tables for two. In addition, customers want value but also don’t want to appear “cheap,” because they’re on a date. The night is typically emotionally charged, and the pressure is on for restaurants to perform.
Still, experienced restaurant operators say opportunities abound for big sales this Valentine’s weekend. At the very least, the holiday presents a chance to reach a broader audience with the hope of bringing them back for more love later in the year.
Here, operators share advice on winning customers' hearts — and business — on Valentine’s Day and beyond.