Valentine’s Day. The day set aside for couples to shower each other with love and appreciation. It’s a day of fun, romance and making memories.
It’s also a gigantic cash grab for greeting card companies, candy manufacturers, florists and places where fine jewelry is sold everywhere.
Just keeping it real.
But hey, it’s also a day when people head out for a night on the town, including dinner and drinks, so if you’re trying to think of ways to cash in on the holiday, we ain’t mad at ya. So, go on with your couple drink specials, carefully designed appetizers for two and your fun and flirty couples games where one lucky couple could walk away with a nice prize.
You might not want to ignore the singles that are going to find their way to your establishment that day. And there will be plenty, all there for various reasons. Like these people:
You have the “We don’t need a man/woman, we’ve got each other!” friend group. Usually three to four people, usually all the same gender, who are taking a stand. You know, the “whoo hoo girls” Robin mentioned in “How I Met Your Mother.”
The first daters. Yes, some people are actually crazy enough to have a first date on Valentine’s Day. First dates on a regular Friday night in May are nerve-wracking enough, why anyone would pile on the additional pressure of doing it on the most romanticized day of the year is baffling.
The sulking single. This is the person who is sitting either at a back table or at the corner of the bar nursing a drink, and either relieved they aren’t with someone or lamenting the fact they’re not. Either way, they’re convinced the holiday is ridiculous, but can’t help but come and watch the spectacle, maybe hoping to see a marriage proposal go right. Or wrong.
The “Crap, it’s Valentine’s Day?” clueless people. To them, it’s just February 14. Or Friday.
These people need love too. And if they can’t have it in a significant other, they can at least get it from their favorite watering hole. And if they’re in your place of business on this particular night, you’re most likely that favored hole. So, pat yourself on the back and offer them something fun too.
You could play a version of the Dating Game with all the singles. Offer half off regular-sized appetizers and drink specials (c’mon, you know you’re upping the price on the food and drinks for the couples, you can afford to take a hit on some buffalo wings and potato skins for your patrons riding solo). Bring in a psychic for romance Tarot readings for singles. Don’t do anything that might point out individual singles (well, the dating game would do that, but it’s voluntary so it doesn’t really count), but it’s good to acknowledge them as a group. Who knows, by bringing all the singles together, you just might create a couple or two.
What? Too rom-com/meet-cute for ya? Moving on…
Well almost. Another idea is creating a “single people’s space” so that those who are single and might be wanting to mingle could do so away from the fawning couples celebrating their love for one another. It could be a back part of your establishment, or if you live in a year-round warm climate, an outdoor patio type deal.
Okay, now we’re done.
The fact is, if there are single people in your bar on Valentine’s Day, they are looking for something. If you can help them find it and make a buck or two in the process, then why not go for it? Even if they’re there to drink and hate watch, let ‘em have full bellies and a nice cocktail while they do it.
So, while you’re preparing your heart-shaped pizzas and making cocktails in giant martini glasses with two straws, don’t forget about your single patrons. You don’t have to single them out, but acknowledging that you see them goes a long way when it comes to customer loyalty. So set up your establishment to welcome the singles and the couples this Valentine’s Day and reap the rewards. Who knows, a few months or years from now, a couple might thank you for bringing them together because they met during your Valentine’s Mixer. How awesome would that be?
Yes, another meet-cute. You’ll live.