Couples spend money on Valentine’s Day to show their love for each other. In fact, more money is spent on Valentine’s Day than any other Saturday night of the year. If you want your share of that revenue, you’ll have to stand out from the competition to get people through your doors and seated at your tables. Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants, so it’s a great time to offer your customers an incentive to choose your restaurant for their celebration.This year Valentine’s Day falls on a Friday, but Saturday night will be almost as popular with those who want to enjoy a night out since Saturday is the typical date night for couples. How will you get people into your restaurant this Valentine’s Day weekend? Here are some ideas that have proven effective:1. Offer a meal for two package discount. This is a great way to get couples into your restaurant and help them save money. With Valentine’s day spending typically in the billions of dollars, every little bit of savings helps! You can offer a discount across the board for everything on the menu, or you can choose a select combination of entrees your diners can choose from, allowing them to mix and match within a certain price range.2. Offer up a special menu. Your regular customers will love a specially designed menu for this special day, and your new customers will, too. Offer a special menu just for Valentine’s Day (or weekend) that customers can look forward to. Include aphrodisiacs like oysters, asparagus, strawberries, chocolate, and caviar to bump up the romance. Rename some cocktails or design a new one especially for lovers. Many upscale dining establishments offer a Prix Fixe (fixed price) menu featuring a pre-selected list of dishes at a set price. This limited selection menu gives your kitchen staff a break as they can focus on a limited number of dishes, preparing and presenting them to perfection. Whatever you do, don’t forget to stock up on champagne!3. Offer personalized grab n go take out. Some people don’t want to fight the crowds on Valentine’s Day, and some may not be able to travel to your restaurant. However, if you offer delivery service or take out, you can increase your customer base on Valentine’s Day by including take out specials so these diners can celebrate in the privacy of their own home while still enjoying your menu specials. It’s a way to increase your profits without increasing the number of people waiting for a table.4. Offer proposal packages. Valentine’s Day is the day many proposals happen, so why not offer a special proposal package for the ones about to pop the big question? What can you do to make sure everything goes smoothly? Offer a special dessert, flowers, or a special champagne toast to the happy couple. This will be a moment they will remember forever, and if the experience is a pleasant one, you’re likely to see the happy couple returning for an anniversary dinner year after year.5. Live (mood setting) music. Appropriate live music increases the enjoyment and provides a romantic ambience for your restaurant on Valentine’s Day. Bring in a string quartet, acoustic guitar, piano, or even a harpist! If you don’t have room for a band to set up, you can still have a strolling musician such as a flute player, violinist, or guitarist who can move among your customers as they eat and provide ambient music. If you have a killer sound system you can also hire a DJ for the evening but keep the vibe mellow and romantic; Valentine’s Day is probably not the time for open mic karaoke!6. Start promoting early. It’s a good idea to begin promoting your Valentine’s Day specials in January to get the word out as soon as possible. People should plan to make reservations at your restaurant as soon as possible, so use all the tools at your disposal to let them know they should spend the evening with you. Social media sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, word of mouth, direct mail, radio and television ads, flyers, your website, Groupon, Urban Spoon, TripAdvisor, and your Yelp business page can all help pack the house on Valentine’s Day, so take advantage of the exposure and let the world know about your special promotions!At Gilkey Restaurant Consulting, we offer our clients professional restaurant management services that will help improve your day to day operations and ensure your business remains profitable. Contact us today and learn how our consultants can help you implement best industry practices and techniques to be successful and cost effective in your restaurant business.