Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Promoting Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is five weeks away and one of the most popular holidays for consumer’s to eat out during the year. Capture the sentimental spirit by creating a Valentine’s Day promotion perfect for your restaurant. Whether you want to partner with a nonprofit or create the perfect mood for your guests, taking that extra step during this February 14th can ensure that people choose to dine with you. 

Follow these local store marketing tips and recipe to execute your Valentine's Day promotion.

Chocolate covered strawberries are always a great dessert for Valentine’s Day.  Make a display in the dining room in view for all guests to see. 


  • Valentine’s Day themed goods.
  • Special menu items.
  • Candles, flowers, champagne.
  • Other items needed depending on the promotion you choose.



  1. Give a red rose to every customer. Partner with a local flower shop. Ask a flower shop to donate red roses to your restaurant for Valentine’s Day in exchange for appetizer cards. Make a deal that for every rose they give to you that you will give them an appetizer card to hand out to their guests. It’s a perfect trade!
  2. Put some love into the menu. Make a customized Valentine’s Day specials that serves traditional aphrodisiacs such as decadent chocolate, champagne and oysters. Try using red foods to conjure up the spirit such as berries, tomatoes and peppers. Also create menu items with the intention that they are to be shared so couples or dates can experience something together.
  3. Set the mood. Play up the atmospherics in your restaurant by dimming the lights, adding splashes of red on the tables, hearts, lighting candles and playing romantic music.  
  4. Partner with the American Heart Association to create a Valentine’s Day promotion that shows your restaurant cares. Donate a percentage of the entire day’s earnings or promote a percentage of dollars for a particular item during the day. Send the media a press release in advance about the promotion.
  5. Provide take-out.   Give guest’s the opportunity have a romantic dinner from your restaurant in the privacy of their own home, especially if Valentine’s Day is on a weekday. Provide either a packaged dinner option or let customers choose from your menu.
  6. Offer a dinner package with a preset romantic menu and pre-fixed price that provides customers with a bottle of champagne, a starter, side, entrees and desserts. Try to incorporate a Valentine’s Day theme.
  7. Pass out small boxes with heart shaped coins, candy or other small trinkets inside, have a slip inside one of the boxes that says “You Won Our Heart.” Offer a complimentary entrée or appetizer for their next visit.

  • Unique promotions will get customers in the door, but great service and food will get customers to come back. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time to promote trial and form a love connection with your guests for more than just one day.



Want more recipes like this?  Visit www.marketing-cookbook.com

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Image result for 7 steps




  1. What is the quickest/fastest way to get more sales quickly during tough economic times? 
    LARGE TO GO ORDERS.  When sales slow the best way to get them back up quickly is to land yourself large to go orders.  Try taking samples of your menu items to area car dealers and big box retailers (Best Buy, CostCo, etc.) and introduce yourself to the general manager.  Ask if they would like to place an order with you for Saturday.  Most every car dealer in the U.S. brings food in for their staff on Saturday’s since employees don’t leave for a lunch break.  This is your chance to land some BIG sales EARLY on a Saturday.  Call to ask for their order Friday evening or Saturday morning.  If you get several orders take them yourself and offer something extra (free soda, cookies, chips).  Then keep this up each week with retailers and car dealers.  You can make your sales goal on a Saturday before you even open for business with large to go orders.
  2. Why is discounting NOT a good idea in a tough economy?
    Looking desperate will only hurt your brand and your value.  Guests will NOT understand after a particular menu item is discounted and then afterward when you raise the price back to regular. You will be left with the only one option...to continue discounting.  DON’T discount or cut prices.  Try other tactics before doing ANYTHING drastic.  
  3. When it’s time to lean it is time to _____(finish the sentence).
    When its time to LEAN, it’s time to CLEAN.  During slow business it is a good time to have your staff get your restaurant spotless.  Create a chore list and keep them busy making the kitchen, bathrooms, dining room and parking lot clean.  Maybe your kitchen needs a major steam cleaning and dishes polished.  Keep track of the accomplishments and give the team an incentive to keep up the good work.
  4. What is the best way to drive TRIAL?
    SAMPLE, SAMPLE, SAMPLE.  During slow times it is a perfect opportunity to take samples of your best tasting menu items out to area businesses, groups, organizations and teams.  Before lunch, take samples of your food and menus to area businesses, after lunch try visiting banks, chamber of commerce and non profits and discuss upcoming events to participate. Before dinner, try sampling at sports fields, gyms, and hand out free appetizer or drink coupons to get them in!
  5. What are the best menu items to promote during tough economic times?
    PROMOTE high margin, low cost menu items.  Instead of spending time and money introducing new menu items during slow periods, reintroduce your best selling, highest margin and lowest food cost item.  Keep it simple!
  6. What is the most cost effective advertising medium to generate awareness during tough economic times?
    TRADE!  Use your food in place of cash for radio advertising!  Give away gift certificates to a local radio station to get on-air mentions.  
  7. What type of marketing focus is the most important during difficult economic times?
    Keep loyal guests HAPPY!  Even your best guests may be having a hard time with the economy, so be sure to offer them something extra.  Spend some extra time finding out what they like about your restaurant and your food and get their feedback.  Everyone loves to be heard, and then make changes if the ideas and feedback warrant it.
More Restaurant Marketing ideas?  
We wrote the book:  www.marketing-cookbook.com