Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day is a big deal for restaurants.

From singles on first dates to longtime couples to groups of Galentine’s Day enthusiasts, people across the country use Valentine’s Day as an excuse to celebrate and go out for a nice meal. Restaurants see about a 30% increase in sales, with that number tripling for fine dining. In 2018, a whopping 32% of Americans visited a restaurant on Valentine’s Day…and this year it’s on a Friday.

Here are three ways that you should prep for, and capitalize on, the influx of love birds flocking to your restaurant:

Plan a Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe

Common practice for Valentine’s Day is to offer a prix fixe menu. It provides dual benefits of streamlining kitchen ops on a busier-than-usual night and making customers feel like they’re getting something special. A win-win, right?

But it’s important to keep in mind a few best practices when it comes to prix fixe.

First, don’t put overly complicated dishes on menu. Some items are complex, requiring multiple burners, lots of ingredients and a timely cooking process. Offer easy-to-prepare items that are manageable in the midst of the busy holiday.

That said, make sure that you’ve aligned your Valentine’s Day menu with your everyday menu. First time diners should have an experience that will make them want to come back, while repeat diners want to have a meal they’ll recognize as authentic to your restaurant.

Finally, pricing your prix fixe is key. If done right, offering a special menu on a busy night should be a money maker for your restaurant. Using Recipe Management software is a great way for you to easily calculate the real-time cost of each dish on your menu and make sure that you’re maintaining healthy margins.

Crank up the Ambience…to a Point

The phrase “candlelit dinner” is synonymous with Valentine’s Day for a reason. If your restaurant is upscale or romantic, Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to dim your lights, add extra candles, and play soft music.

But if you’re restaurant isn’t romantic by nature, don’t try to put it on for the sake of the calendar. Diners picked your restaurant for a reason, maybe even trying to escape the romantic vibes, so it’s important to be true to your aesthetic over the strappings of the holiday. 

Review your Reviews

Valentine’s Day is not over after you clear the last plate on February 14th. With increased traffic, and likely a number of new customers, comes an influx of reviews. Hopefully, each diner loved their meal, but if there are any complaints it is best practice to follow up quickly and politely.

Respond to the review on the platform and then take any follow up offline. Once you’ve reached a resolution post a comment on the review that details how you handled the situation.


Valentine’s Day offers a great opportunity to woo new customers and turn a solid profit in the process.

Request a demo to learn more about how xtraCHEF can help you prepare your restaurant for Valentine’s Day – and start saving on food costs every day of the year.