Restaurants expect weekend-long boost from Valentine's Day

Restaurants expect weekend-long boost from Valentine's Day
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POSTED: Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 7:00am

UPDATED: Saturday, February 15, 2014 - 7:04am

Most people want to spend Valentine's Day with loved ones, but one group likely to enjoy spending the holiday at work: cooks and waiters.

"We prepared for it about two weeks in advance, because the reservations fill up so fast. Tonight we have about 800 (people) on the books," said Michael Boudreaux, a co-owner of Juban's Restaurant on Perkins Road. "Normal night might be anywhere from 200-250, so it's a good night."

Valentine's Day is one of the busiest days for a restaurant, especially an upscale location like Juban's. A successful night can lead to an increase in repeat business.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average diner spends almost 75 dollars on a Valentine's Day meal, making the night of the most profitable for any restaurant.

But some people do not want an expensive meal on Valentine's Day. Low prices and sentimental reasons bring lots of diners to family restaurants like Piccadilly.

"Oh, yeah, they got some of them started from when they was eating. Now their kids are eating, and now they got their grandkids eating," said Willie Hayes, manager of the Piccadilly location on Sherwood Forest Boulevard.

But no matter how much a restaurant charges, it is probably going to make a lot of money. Having Valentine's Day on a Friday this year adds to its earning power.

"The great thing about Valentine's Day is, when it falls on a Thursday or Friday, people have the opportunity to eat Thursday, Friday, and Saturday," Boudreaux stated. "So maybe it's not on Valentine's Day but the day before or the day after. And we actually have people coming up for brunch on Sunday, which they want to celebrate Valentine's Day on that day, as well."

"With the weather that we've had come in the last few days, I think [Friday is] going to start a good [weekend] for us," Hayes agreed. "So we'll have good weather [Friday,] and going into the weekend I think it'll spread through Saturday and Sunday, so I think we've kinda got a Valentine's Day Weekend going on right now." 

The NRF expected fewer people to celebrate Valentine's Day this year than did so in 2013, but those who did celebrating the holiday were likely to spend more money than last year.

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