It’s amazing how restaurants and food are central to most celebrations in people’s lives.

Friend and family gatherings in a favourite place, proposing at the top of a skyscraper eatery, and of course, a romantic meal on Valentine’s Day all hold special memories for people.

So instead of adding a chocolate fondant to the menu and pink chalk to the specials board, go the extra mile and work your restaurant into your customer’s memories so they come back, again and again… and again.

It’s great for them, fun for you, and brilliant for your reputation! So, we’ve put together some hints and tips for you.

1. Pop the question

If your customers ring to book, ask there and then if there’s anything extra they’d like to make the night even more special.

After all, what’s the worst they can say?

Maybe table decorations, a favourite wine already on the table or is there a particular seat they’d like? It might even be a song request for your playlist that will make this particular night out a night to remember.

But what if the booking originated from your website? No problem! Take the time to give them a call and ask the above.

It sounds simple, but that extra effort will make your diners feel valued and already put them in a good mood before they’ve even entered your restaurant.

2. Have fun with the menu

It’s always a good idea to keep your restaurant’s signature dishes on the menu on a night like this, but don’t be scared to add in some extra-special options, too.

Think about the fun dishes like oysters and pomegranates for that ‘aphrodisiac’ flair. And don’t forget to showcase that on the menu with some tongue-in-cheek descriptions!

Also, think about showstoppers and sharers; dishes that really get a couple eating together.

Fondue, platters, chateaubriand, squash and pecorino wellingtons all for two; think about the dishes that bring people closer together over a shared love of food (and each other, of course).

3. Add some sparkle

There’s nothing worse than the tacky decorations that Valentine’s Day seems to attract in certain restaurants – however well intentioned – or the extremely overboard décor put in place by the more fanciful eateries.

Forget filling the place floor-to-ceiling with balloons and streamers – go for elegance this Valentine’s!

You don’t have to spend much, either. Small amounts of table pearl or sequins on the table look great and make your diners feel like you want them to have a great night just as much as they do.

The same goes for candles and flowers. Pure white tapers or tealights in jars all add to the atmosphere (and beautiful flowers add to the romance).

Wrapping up…

Reputation and word-of-mouth can make or break a business, so taking the time to make your customers feel valued should be up there on your priority list.

Plus, is there anything more satisfying than seeing past diners return again and again, as they form their special memories in your restaurant?