If you want to stand out this Valentine’s Day, add a little extra to your restaurant’s experience. Here are some ideas to get you thinking beyond the usual hearts and flowers.
Your playlist includes “Love Stinks” and “These Boots Were Made for Walkin.’” Your floor is covered in wilted rose pedals. Your specials include triple garlic pasta and spinach dip. Your “Cupid is Stupid” event could even have an old relationship memorabilia give-away. Make it fun. After all, at last count, the US had 86 million single adults.
Music can be powerful and personal, so take a cue from KFC. They’re not hiring a DJ, but this fast-food player is taking song requests, nonetheless. KFC is encouraging its audience to go online and choose a special tune, name the day, time, and KFC location, and KFC will make sure to honor the request.
For guests who would prefer a quiet time at home, offer the take-out to surpass all take-outs. London’s Mount Street Deli offers a four-course dinner to bring home that includes Beef Wellington and decadent chocolate cake, or a breakfast-in-bed hamper with snuggle-worthy fare including champagne, ginger biscuits and organic fruit purees.
Founded in Paris, and now with locations in London and New York, the Dans le Noir Restaurant offers guests a pitch-dark dining room with a visually impaired wait staff. The three-course gourmet meal is “intimate and sensory.” And for Valentine’s Day? A community table for singles makes it possible to truly set looks aside for the night.
Gather the bachelors and bachelorettes, choose a great cause, and make Valentine’s Day a charity event. Use social media to spread the word, including a Facebook event page on which you post pictures of the contenders. Let media outlets in on the action, too. When the bidding ends, donate a meal to the winning couple.
Give them a blank “canvas,” and invite your guests to design their own love-themed package, whether it’s a wine bottle or a hamburger wrapper. That’s what Innocent Smoothies did. The company invited fans to create their own “love label” and then print and wrap it. Personalized labels can also be posted on Facebook or Twitter.
Some restaurants make a special effort to set the perfect mood for a proposal. If you’re Pizza Hut, your Tie the Knot package includes a ruby ring, a bouquet of flowers, a limo ride, a fireworks display, and a photograph and video session. The $10,010 package also includes, of course, a medium one-topping pizza.
Forget the candy and the roses, the violins and candlelight, Mildred’s Temple Kitchen in Toronto is encouraging straight-out fornication in its unisex bathrooms. And before you dismiss this suggestion out of hand, now the press as far away as Romania, Portugal and Hong Kong were reporting the story within 24 hours.
On Valentines Day, think aspirational, as White Castle does. “Love in the Castle” treats customers to flowers and white tablecloths, tableside service, keepsake menus, and complimentary digital photographs, in addition to those onion-grilled sliders. There’s even a new Slidergram app so customers can send dinner invitations phone-to-phone.
Another idea? Fire up foods that fire up desire. On Valentine’s Day, Houston’s Triniti restaurant offers oysters with foie gras pearls, brioche with caviar, and cardamom chocolate braised ribs. The special libido-enhancing dishes have names like “Love Portion No. 9,” “Garden of Eden” and “Breakfast in Bed.” And guests can easily used the OpenTable app to book the aphrodisiac experience.
Known as one of Santa Monica’s hottest restaurants for 20-somethings, Brick + Mortar is putting a unique spin on Valentine’s Day. They are hosting a “Stoplight Party” in which guests are encouraged to wear the color of their relationship status. (Example: green = single, yellow = potentially interested, and red = in a relationship.)
For singles who think the club scene is a bit of a ‘drag’, Lips San Diego has a perfect alternative to the traditional club scene. Their 5th Annual Valentine’s Day Prom is ‘hosted’ by Cher, features a themed drag show, and prizes for the best and worst prom looks.
Birds Café-Bar takes their Valentine’s Day celebration for singles in a different direction. Patrons can drink heartbreak themed beverages while indulging in a bit of voodoo doll therapy to get back at their exes. Yikes! While this may seem a little creepy and extreme, the establishment has found a way to set themselves apart.
Vander Bar in New York City is hosting their “Anti-Valentine’s Protest.” One of the most unique things about this singles celebration is the themed menu they have planned. Guests can dine on “Love Bites” appetizer specials and “Love Stinks, Let’s Drink” themed shots.
For a really unique take on a Valentine’s Day celebration, aLoft Hotel Downtown invite 100 single Texans to party the night away. The twist? They allow the attendees to choose the music via an iPhone app, make a game out of meeting other singles with prizes, and the proceeds go to charity. What a winning combination!
All the single ladies, rejoice! The Kerryman Irish Bar & Restaurant is offering a ladies night fit for a queen. Themed appetizers and drinks abound, including one aptly named “It’s Not Me, It’s You.” This fun night ends with a giveaway for a pair of authentic Christian Louboutin heels to one lucky single.
Seattle’s Sea Monster Lounge is hosting Rain N Men, a women only event for Valentine’s Day. In a unique twist, the venue will be auctioning off 13 of the city’s hottest and most eligible bachelors, all for charity. Date packages are included, making it a night the winning ladies won’t soon forget!
Amber in Seattle utilizes Valentine’s Day as a way to bring singles together. Women receive random locks, while men receive random keys. Both sexes must work together to determine what keys fit what locks to win fantastic prizes. And who knows? Maybe a little more!
If one anti-Valentine’s Day Party is good, what happens when multiple locations team up? (Bonus points for a costumed theme.) The Reno Vampire Crawl encourages singles to dress up in vampire regalia, purchase a cup, and wander there way between a few of the cities hottest night spots.
Fado Irish Pub in Atlanta continues with the theme of pairing singles with potential matches they might have previously overlooked. This Valentine’s Day party includes a “nuts and bolts” theme, where each participant receives a random piece of hardware. They must mingle to find the “match” to their hardware and win great prizes.