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The restaurant industry was hit hard by COVID-19 and associated lockdowns and social distancing. However, restrictions are loosening and things are getting back to normal, albeit very slowly.
Does that mean restaurant owners can expect a big lift in business this Valentine’s Day? Will reservations and sales climb back to pre-COVID levels? Let’s take a closer look at what’s been happening and what’s ahead for restaurant owners.
How Did the Coronavirus Affect the Restaurant Industry?
The pandemic has adversely affected many businesses, but probably most impacted have been restaurants and bars. Multiple lockdowns and restrictions during 2020 and 2021 forced restaurants to close their doors with little way to predict when they would be able to reopen.
This led to a lot of restaurants offering takeaway options to keep their customers satisfied and their businesses operating. And with many restaurants now working with an online takeaway ordering system, it’s clear that these restaurant owners have taken steps to ‘futureproof’ their businesses for a post-COVID world.
For example, restaurants in the UK saw huge spikes in business in the aftermath of lockdowns that helped to recuperate some of their losses. The number of seated restaurant diners first spiked by 216.34% at the end of August 2020. This was likely due to the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and the easing of restrictions that came into effect earlier in the month.
After another lockdown in November and a sharp drop in sales yet again, the number of seated restaurant diners spiked again by 74.25% in late December, which coincided with restaurants finally reopening their doors.
Typical Restaurant Trends on Valentine’s Day
According to research by the National Restaurant Association in the United States, Valentine’s Day is the second busiest day of the year for restaurants, as partners take their dates out for a romantic meal ‘en masse’. Although not quite meeting the same surge as on Mother’s Day, which takes the top spot, Valentine’s Day proves to be an extremely promising day for the restaurant industry.
The data also reveals that 21% of couples select the restaurant they attend based on it having a romantic atmosphere, while 42% pick their favorite restaurant for the occasion. On the other hand, only 13% opt for a restaurant with a Valentine’s Day menu, and 11% try a restaurant they’ve never visited previously.
Thus, it is clear that every year, restaurants see a boom around this holiday. But how will this year fare in comparison?
Will 2022 See a Valentine’s Day Boom Following COVID?
As with most industries, it’s likely that restaurants will see a boom in sales while coronavirus restrictions are being lifted around the world. Therefore, it’s logical to assume there will be a similar boom on what is known as the second busiest day in the year for restaurants – Valentine’s Day.
If you run a restaurant business that is preparing for life after the worst of the COVID-19 crisis has passed, now could be an excellent time to invest in technological solutions – such as an online ordering system – that will help your business to continue thriving for years to come.