Surely the busiest and most profitable day on the restaurant calendar?
Actually, no. Some restaurants do well out of Valentine’s Day - especially when it falls on a weekend - but for many it’s hard work for not a lot of return because only seating tables of two severely limits the number of covers most restaurants can do. Mother’s Day is usually better sales wise because it always falls on a weekend and attracts a wide range of party sizes.
When does Cupid’s arrow strike this year?
Wednesday, and breathless press releases are already pouring in. The last few years have seen a rise in anti-Valentine’s events at restaurants and bars, and promotions that appeal to consumer’s sense of irony. Our favourite is a promotion by US-based ‘breastaurant’ Hooters - a venue more associated with lechery than romance - entitled “everyone has a Valentine at Hooters this year”. Diners are invited to either fly solo or treat their sweetheart to two portions of wings for $14. Classy.
Anything a bit more grown up?
The London Edition hotel has collaborated with erotic journal Baron & Baroness to offer a Valentine's Day card making workshop, a series of erotic readings and a pop-up cinema exploring music, identity and sex. It’s also created two cocktails with gin brand Hendrick’s - Oestrogen and Testosterone. We’ve checked and are pleased to report that neither contain any sex hormones. The House of Commons restaurant is running a Valentine’s “Churchill-esque” menu, because nothing says romance like dead politicians and chocolate cigars. Possibly not their finest hour.
Any tips to avoid a Valentine’s Day massacre?
Don’t be greedy. The one night restaurants really need to turn tables is the one night it’s not appropriate. If you must, take a split-seating approach and make sure punters know the deal. Don’t create a menu based on tired clichés or overdo the Valentine’s Day shtick. A few humorous nods can be fun, but don’t stray into tacky territory. Remember, a mini pack of Lovehearts and some glitter do not a great evening make.