What is in this article?:
- How restaurants can make the most of Valentine's Day
- Offer a limited menu
- Offer choice, flexibility
- Offer a deal they can't refuse
Many restaurants are extending promotions and specials through the weekend to celebrate the holiday.
Offer a deal they can't refuse
Romance may be in the air, but so is the desire to find a good deal, said Steve LaHaie, managing partner of the two-unit Shaw’s Crab House restaurant in Chicago, which is owned by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises.
This year, Shaw’s will offer half a dozen Island Creek oysters and two glasses of Piper-Heidsieck Brut Champagne for $25. Typically, the combination would be priced at $44.
Other deals at Shaw’s for the weekend include South African lobster tail and filet mignon, prepared three ways and priced from $56.99 to $61.99, or Dover sole for $43.99.
Shaw’s suburban location will turn a private party room into an all-you-can-eat crab buffet for $56 for the weekend.
While lobster, crab and oysters are always popular on Valentine’s Day, this year Shaw’s is deliberately selecting more affordable price points, LaHaie said. “Last year we did a full dozen oysters, for example, and it was more expensive,” he said. “This year I think people are more value conscious.”
At Abuelo’s, a 41-unit casual-dining chain based in Lubbock, Texas, the Valentine’s Day special includes fajitas for two, plus a free dessert, for $29.99.
Guests can select from a number of fajita options, from marinated steak to bacon-wrapped stuffed shrimp, served with the traditional peppers and onions, or mixed vegetables, charro beans, housemade guacamole, sour cream, shredded cheeses and a choice of corn or flour tortillas. Dessert includes either warm sopapillas with honey, or flan for sharing.
Bob Lin, president of Abuelo’s parent company Food Concepts International, said the chain aimed to design a deal that is “attention grabbing” without seeming cheap. “That can be a negative if you’re on a date.”
The fajita deal shows off one of the brand’s premium dishes and is something that will appeal to a broad Valentine’s Day audience, he said.
“We’ll have an opportunity to show off the restaurant to newer guests and those who might not come in as often,” he said. “We’ll approach it the same way we do any other day: Make every guest happy.”