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5 Fun Ideas for Valentine’s Day for Restaurants

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By Diane Chiasson

February 4, 2013

One of the busiest days of the year for the restaurant and foodservice industry is Valentine’s Day, so how can your business take advantage of this one-day holiday?

Traditionally, Valentine’s Day is targeted at couples, but we see trends today that now try to include children and singletons as well.

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., a restaurant and foodservice consulting firm in Toronto, offers some less traditional promotions your restaurant can do for Valentine’s Day this year:

1. Attract the lunch crowd

Many couples may not want to shell out additional money for babysitting to go out for a romantic dinner on their own, so consider offering a romantic prix-fixe lunch special for parents to celebrate during the day, while the kids are at school.

2. Get the whole family in

Adults may not care to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but all children love a fun holiday. Consider offering a special family meal deal that includes some heart-shaped candies and chocolates, or fun gifts, and games and balloons for the kids, or set up a chocolate fountain.

3. Get naughty

Spice things up a bit. Instead of offering the traditional flowers and chocolates to your dinner guests, consider putting together a grab bag filled with adult toys or lingerie that each couple can select one item from before they leave. Make sure each item is gift-wrapped to ensure discretion.

4. Hold a ladies’ night

Valentine’s Day can be one of the most depressing nights for single ladies. Consider holding a Ladies’ Night at your bar or restaurant. Put together a fun menu featuring comfort foods, and lots of chocolate and sweets, create a special cocktail, and celebrate a woman’s independence and freedom.

5. Have an anti-Valentine’s Day

There are tons of people who absolutely hate Valentine’s Day, so to target this crowd, consider hosting an anti-Valentine’s Day event at your restaurant. Begin your promotion by running a contest on Facebook for the best “breakup” story. Put together a menu that features lots of garlic and other anti-aphrodisiac foods, and show classic heartbreak movies throughout the night. Encourage your guests to bring along photos of their exes, and find fun ways to destroy the photos. The possibilities are endless!

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