Having prepped in advance for Valentine’s Day, you’re on the right track to making your sales goals. With the food menu under control, today, we focus on different ways you can drive sales at your bar.
Serve a Taste Tester
Customers change on Valentine’s Day. Their intentions are different, and therefore, their needs are different. On this holiday, dinner is not just a meal, it’s an experience with their partner. And because of this distinction, they’re inclined to spend more time and money when going out.
As the restaurant owner or manager, you are the grand master of customers’ Valentine’s Day experience, so there is no need to rush things. Begin the night with a free cocktail taster.
At Michelin-starred or high-end restaurants, it’s not unusual for the chef to send out anamuse bouche. The free, single-bite surprise is the chef’s way of introducing the kitchen to guests and making a statement about the kind of meal that’s in store for them. Immediately, guests are drawn in by the gift and become excited.
Take inspiration from the amuse bouche to set the mood for Valentine’s Day. When guests take a seat for dinner, send out a small drink portion to whet their appetite. If you’re creating holiday-themed cocktails, this is a simple and effective way of directing their attention to the special menu. Keep the serving size small; just a few sips so guests appreciate the gesture and are inclined to order a regular size.
Lavu Pro Tip: For guests sitting at the bar, motivate them to order food by serving small snacks on the house because salty foods are proven to increase hunger.
Offer a Special Valentine’s Day Bar Menu
Limited-time cocktail menus are wildly popular with guests and successful sales and marketing tools for your restaurant and bar. In fact, there are several benefits to offering special menus:
- They spark renewed interest from regular patrons
- They engage your staff and give them a chance to be creative
- They are opportunities to upsell certain ingredients
- They become new content for social media marketing
Create three to five new cocktails for Valentine’s Day, and to make it simple for guests (while giving you a chance to increase profitability), offer them all for the same price. They will look like one sweet deal, and guests will enjoy testing out the new cocktails without worrying about price.
Additionally, offer specials on wine and champagne bottles. Champagne is a great alternative to the cocktail amuse bouche; putting guests in the mood while piquing interest in your bottle promotions.
Set the Mood
Mood is everything on Valentine’s Day. Every day, the ambiance of your restaurant and bar should be pleasing to the senses. Yet it’s never as important to get the ambiance right as it is on Valentine’s Day.
Thankfully, romance is an easy mood to set. Here are the two main aspects of a romantic ambiance:
The right music. Turn off the Top 40 radio hits and turn on the crooning melodies. If you’re not sure where to start, visit Spotify for some playlist recommendations. Otherwise, try out jazz albums by Wynton Marsalis for subtle intimacy or R&B classics by Marvin Gaye for a livelier beat.
Low lights. Nothing kills romance like a spotlight in the eyes. Equally terrible are LED lights; the bluish-white light most LED bulbs give off imitates the vibes of a surgery room. At least during Valentine’s Day, switch out bright white lights for golden bulbs. Candles are wonderful mood enhancers too; the battery-charged imitation candles can even set a warm tone.
Above all, take care of your customers from the moment they enter the building. Waving hands should be seen and the needs of customers anticipated. In the ideal situation, your hosts are accommodating and warm, servers are well-informed and attentive, and bussers are moving quietly and quickly. Before the big day, give your team a refresher training course to cover these main points of good service:
- Effective and professional communication
- When less is more
This Valentine’s Day, promote a special cocktail menu with these tips and boost profitability.
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