Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Love in in the air for Restaurants preparing for Valentine's Day

Happy Heart Day! Restaurants across Louisiana are reporting strong reservations for the big day, Tuesday, February 14. Reservations for the weekend prior to the big day are strong, although a parade in uptown New Orleans may send patrons to locations along the route for the added entertainment. Others may opt for a less traveled path to their romantic dinner.

Regardless, this day is a shot in the arm for many restaurants. According to a NationalRestaurant Association survey, more than 70 million American’s dined out on Valentine’s Day in 2011.

TallulahCrafted Food & Wine Bar in the new Renaissance Hotel in Baton Rouge is booked for the special day and by the time you read this article there will be no reservations available on Saturday, February 11.

An NRA survey revealed that younger adults are more likely to enjoy a special Valentine’s Day meal at a restaurant than older adults; 33 percent of 18-34-year olds, and 39 percent of 35-44-year olds say they plan to dine out for a Valentine’s Day meal, compared with 27 percent of those 55 and older.

“We look forward to Valentine’s Day,” said Lee McCollough, owner of One Restaurant and Lounge in New Orleans. “Business lately has been a little unpredictable, so to have a full house on Valentine’s is great for us.”
When it comes to factors involved in choosing where to dine out for Valentine’s Day, most consumers (42 percent) say they pick their favorite restaurant or their companion’s favorite restaurant for their special meal.

In Metairie at Ruth’s Chris Steak House, there are no more seats to be had on the holiday so beloved by women, said General Manager Mike Miller. He has actually removed most of his larger tables and rented smaller ones to accommodate more two tops.

“Every year we try to beat the prior year’s check average,” Miller added. “When we took the reservations we asked if they would like to add a bottle or half bottle of champagne to the meal or specialty chocolates. We aspire to exceed expectations on a regular day at Ruth’s, but Valentine’s Day is one where we get to be creative and really wow our guests.”

Twenty-one percent of those surveyed select a restaurant with a romantic atmosphere, followed by restaurants that offer special menus or promotions (13 percent), restaurants picked by their companion (12 percent), and a restaurant they haven’t been to before (11 percent).

To all of our LRA members, may cupid’s arrow of profits rain on your restaurant during this Hallmark holiday!

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