Valentine’s Day – restaurants gear up for busiest night of the year

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Valentine’s Day is the most booked day of the year for restaurants, closely followed by New Year’s Eve, according to research undertaken by the BHA (British Hospitality Association) and restaurant booking software company, favouritetable.com.

The findings, based on favouritetable’s analysis of restaurant bookings over the past year, also show that for Valentine’s Day over two-thirds of bookings are made by men. Other results revealed by the research include:

  • When planning ahead, the key times in advance to reserve a table for Valentine’s Day dinner are either 15-30 days ahead (25.6%) or 1-3 days ahead (24.3%).
  • The most popular time to book a Valentine’s dinner is between 7.00 and 9.00pm when 50% of diners choose to eat, with peaks at 7.30, 8.00 and 8.30pm. Only 19% of diners choose to book after 9pm but 31% of diners are early eaters booking between 5.00 and 6.45pm.
Tabitha Aldrich-Smith Spokeswoman at the Restaurant Association

Tabitha Aldrich-Smith
Spokeswoman at the Restaurant Association

Tabitha Aldrich-Smith, Spokeswoman at the Restaurant Association said: 

“As diners, we all have high expectations and want our Valentine’s Day evenings to be a real treat. Restaurants are keenly aware of this and want to put on a fantastic show on their biggest night of the year, offering enticing menus and adding extras like glasses of champagne and chocolates. For staff it can also be a challenging time as there are many more tables to manage on the night.

“This research provides useful insight into consumer behaviour at Valentine’s Day and will help restaurants to further plan their promotional activities and evening schedules.”

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