Restaurants

Are Your Dishes Instagrammable Enough?

If not, you might need to take them off the menu.

A few days ago, while researching for London based foodie accounts to follow on Instagram, I stumbled upon an article about the most instagrammable restaurants in London, which got me thinking. So, I kept looking for similar articles and realised that there are hundreds of posts about the most instagrammable dishes not only in London but in every country around the world.

So I asked myself, how important could Instagram be for restaurants? And the answer came right out of my everyday life. Every time I go out for brunch, lunch or dinner, I always aim to get good shots of my food – mainly because of the nature of my job. However it’s not just me, it’s pretty much every millennial I know!

sandwich

According to research by Zizzi, 18-35-year-olds spend five whole days a year browsing food images on Instagram. This suggests that we are not only using the social media network to post what we are eating but also browse where to eat – and that’s why it is important for your food to be instagrammable.

Customers tend to choose restaurants they identify on Instagram whose dishes look pretty, colourful or just delicious. Interior decoration also plays a big part when instagramming from a restaurant.

Feeling like you need to step up your Instagram game? Here are a couple of ideas that will definitely help you!

Aim for high quality pictures

You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take a decent food shot. Try taking your pictures during the day so you can utilise the natural light. The more vibrant colours your dish contains, the better the picture looks. Also, try shooting the dish from different angles – close ups work really well with food.

ice cream

 

Use the filters

Don’t be afraid to use Instagram’s filters to make your pictures pop. There are also other alternatives like vsco or acolourstory that offer more options when it comes to filters and image editing.

Use props

If you are taking a picture of a simple dish or beverage why not spice it up with some props? A flower could work very well next to a coffee mug and some olives would definitely compliment a glass of wine.

coffee

Play with different surfaces

The surface on which the dish is placed when taking the image is also very important. Aim for clean and smooth surfaces like marble or for rustic dark wooden ones.

When it comes to your dishes, make sure they are properly styled, with coloured ingredients that will make them look delicious. As they say an image is worth a thousand words - there’s so much you can say through a picture if you just follow the above few simple steps! No need to think of the perfect copy to attract your customers!

Your Ultimate London Christmas Drinking Guide

Epicure Digital Marketing's Favourite Yuletide Drinking Spots

Any pub can heat some wine and put up a bit of tinsel, but transforming your gin joint into a winter wonderland or coming up with fresh, festive takes on a cocktail? That takes real skill. This week we have rounded up the most creative Christmas offerings from some of London’s best bars and cosiest pubs for the ultimate Yuletide drinking experience.

If you are on the search for some Christmas magic with your eggnog, you will be spoilt for choice this year. Bars across the city have been taking festive decorating to a new, immersive level, becoming ideal examples of what we covered in our last blog. It was hard to choose but we have managed to narrow it down to our top three.

1)      Scottish Winter Terrace at the Rib Room

This Knightsbridge restaurant has transformed its terrace bar into a Caledonian haven, complete with a forest of pine branches, tartan blankets and (what else) whisky flights curated by William Grant & Son. There will be live music on Fridays and Saturdays, Scottish-inspired bar snacks, and Christmassy whiskey cocktails such as the delightful Cinnamon Sour (12-year Glenfiddich, sloe gin, pomegranate liqueur, sage syrup, Angostura bitters). Open until January 25th, you be hard-pressed to find a better place to sing Auld Lang Syne to welcome in the New Year.

Scotch Whisky

2)      Hot Gin Terrace, Rosewood London

Holborn Hotel Rosewood London have paired up with Sipsmith gin this winter in a celebration of the beverage which has been warming Londoners for centuries. Inspired by the frost fairs of the 1700s, when the frozen Thames would become a winter playground – Rosewood have launched a menu of historical hot toddies. Including the delectable Hot Winter Julep (with peppermint tea and crème de cacao) and the Hot Mulled Sloe (sloe gin and warm apple juice) this is the perfect way to celebrate Christmas like a true Londoner.

3)      Cortina d’Ampezzo Winter Terrace, Sartoria

From London to the Italian Alps, this Savile Row favourite has created a festive experience inspired by Italy’s favourite ski resort in the Dolomites. Pairing up with Campari (who else), Sartoria’s Libare bar is offering a number of festive twists on Italian classics, including a range of seasonal Negronis.

Campari

Christmas Pubs

But a truly British Christmas would not be complete without a trip to a cosy pub and London is chock-full of them. For the ultimate festive experience, opt for one with an open fire and homey seating – need a little help knowing where to start? Give one of these a try.

1)      The Antelope – Tooting

A local favourite, The Antelope may attract a younger crowd, but it still has some of that old London feel. Featuring wood panelling, stained glass windows, mismatched comfy chairs and the requisite fireplace, this is the perfect pub in which to while away a wintery afternoon.

2)      The George Inn – London Bridge

This historic venue is the only pub to be owned by the National Trust. London’s oldest surviving coach house, it is tucked down an alley way by London Bridge, but is beautifully signposted with its name arching over the alley’s entrance in gold. This 17th-century watering hole still has its original beams and gallery and is worth a visit in its own right – after all, it is basically a historical location!

Can't beat a mulled cider... 

3)      Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – Fleet Street

Another one of London’s historical pubs, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is also one of its oldest, dating back to the 16th century. A favourite with the likes of Dickens, Tennyson and Conan Doyle, it too boasts an open fire and is deceptively large.

And – just in case you are still thirsty – there’s more! We have barely mentioned mulled wine or hot chocolate, without which no Christmas is completely, so here is a final quick guide of where to head for the very best examples of each.

Mulled wine and Cider

Bavarian Brewhouse

  • Opt for proper German Glühwein or winter apple Schnapps, served by a ‘Santa Fräulein’…

Santa Baby!

  • With singalong Christmas songs and a 1950s American living room setting, you can get both red AND white mulled wine at this pop-up!

Southbank Christmas market

  • London’s answer to the Weinachtsmarkt, do your Christmas shopping and your Christmas drinking at the same time on London’s lovely South bank.
Mulled Wine

Christmas cocktails

Spaniards Inn – Festive Bliss

  • Chambord, spice syrup and Prosecco

The Lodge, Clapham – King’s Tipple

  • Hot apple juice, King’s Ginger Liqueur, dark rum and fresh mint

Dalloway Terrace – Bourbon Brittle

  • Old Spot-infused Makers Mark, praline vodka, and hot chocolate

 

Hot chocolate

Fortnum and Mason - Chocolossus

  • Go for dark or milk chocolate and add giant raspberry, vanilla, or salted caramel marshmallows
Hot Chocolate

Veneta

  • Head to St. James’s Market and ask for a shot of orange and grappa syrup in your Venezuelan bitter hot chocolate with cinnamon-infused milk

Rabot 1745

  • Borough Market’s “cacao-concept-restaurant” does hot chocolate to die for. Get yours infused with nutmeg, gingerbread, or even a shot of rum!

Cheers to Christmas drinking! Get in touch over Facebook or Twitter and let us know where and what you will be sipping this Yuletide, or tag us in your Christmas drinking pictures on Instagram @epicuredigitalmarketing. 

A Delicious American Myth

Epicure Founder Chris O'Leary Deconstructs Authentic American BBQ

A recent visit to the fabulous and delicious Shotgun – an American BBQ restaurant in London’s Carnaby area– taught me an important lesson about what it is to be American:

There is American and then there is mythically American.

BBQ Sauces at Shotgun London

I – Chris O’Leary – am American. To break this down linguistically, there is the concept, or identity of being American (the signified), then there is me (the signifier) who exists as a biological entity. When the American identity and I interact – which we do rather well given that I am American born, have an American accent, have lived in America for most of my life; etc. – the sign for Chris O’Leary as American is born.

What is crucial to the understanding of the sign Chris O’Leary as American is that it is full of meaning and that it is not a message to be communicated to and digested by a particular audience. When I say full of meaning, I am referring to the fact that my status as an American is not transient, thin or capricious, but the consequence of a wide and complicated history that has affected my own existence. As a result, my being is decorated with a range of codes and signs that implicitly signify my American-ness. And yet, these codes and signs do not seek out an audience to be recognised as an American since this national status, and all its rich meaning, persists with or without somebody naming it American.

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup at Shotgun

Broccoli and Cheddar Soup at Shotgun

This is what I expected upon arriving at Shotgun – two full, rich and complete signs of American-ness staring at each other, myself and Shotgun. This is not at all what happened. In the place of the effusive sign for American-ness I encountered a pleasantly dim mahogany interior, a menu that exuded super-quality meat dishes put together with an attentive, skillful and imaginative hand and a drinks list with plenty of nice wines – some American – and cocktails that jumped off the menu as a range of delectable elixirs.

Glass of beer at Shotgun London

At first glance Shotgun was the opposite of what I expected, and yet, myth is not the opposite of a meaningful sign – myth is a sign that has been emptied of its meaning and history and replaced with something else entirely, always a message intended for a specific audience. The relationship between a sign and a myth is far more complicated and interesting, as the latter is the shell of the former filled with an essence that forever changes its integrity and purpose.

As the ambiance, food and drink at Shotgun do not come together to present a meaningful sign of American-ness, for it to be considered American, it must rely on its customers naming it so. This is the way myth works – it is not a statement of fact; i.e. the indicative – it is a supplication; i.e. the imperative. It is not Shotgun serves American BBQ; it is Hey! Over Here! Label everything you see at Shotgun ‘authentic American BBQ’!

Shotgun London

As Shotgun’s status as American is so utterly reliant on its customers naming it so, it has created a sophisticated narrative that unequivocally proclaims the fact that it serves Authentic American BBQ. This story – that includes frequently naming its cuisine ‘Southern American BBQ’ or ‘Authentic American BBQ’, the fascinating and esoteric origin of its namesake, the Mississippi heritage of its executive chef and its ‘New Orleans-style’ bar – infiltrates and informs all aspects of its marketing and branding so that anyone who encounters Shotgun is requested to name it American despite it clearly not being a full, rich and complete sign of American-ness.

As the authentic American BBQ proposed by Shotgun is myth, its undoubted quality notwithstanding, it has been emptied of the rich history, determinations and contingencies that have organically produced the celebrated American BBQ culinary genre and its associated culture. At Shotgun, authentic BBQ has been reduced to a menu of exciting dishes and drinks that is, at best, inspired by American BBQ, whose definition morphs and evolves not according to the cannon of American BBQ but to the whims of Shotgun’s chefs.

 

Baby Back Ribs for 2 at Shotgun

Baby Back Ribs for 2 at Shotgun

The menu – which includes items like Point-End Brisket and Jacobs Ladder – exudes a niche expertise and superlative quality that massively transcends what the average American enjoys at a BBQ, which is generally burgers, hot dogs and ribs. Therefore at Shotgun we are not dealing with the everyday American BBQ.

So are we dealing with a precise manifestation of Memphis or Kansas City BBQ? If so, there is no mention anywhere to let us know – which would be essential given the particular way in which each style’s pork ribs, for instance, are prepared and served. And despite being happy to admit that there may just be a place in America where Americans enjoy the Shotgun menu as it is presented here in London, I cannot imagine that the more traditional BBQ options are enjoyed alongside duck or porcini rubbed ox cheek, that both make the occasional appearance, nor could I with a sweet potato fondant or baked potato purée.

Sweet Potato Fondant & BBQ Baked Beans

Sweet Potato Fondant & BBQ Baked Beans

The cocktails at Shotgun are worth a visit in their own right, and yet neither do they promote the ‘Authentic American BBQ’ experience. No Pabst Blue Ribbon… no bourbon offered by the glass (or bottle)… No Bud Lite; i.e. modern redneck. In their place we have truly excellent cocktails made from a range of spirits from cognac to mezcal, but there is little that evokes a dive bar in Texas. Incidentally, New Orleans does have a vibrant and sophisticated cocktail culture not dissimilar to Shotgun’s offering – but are New Orleans-style cocktails regarded as classic beverage to enjoy with ‘Authentic American BBQ? Not really.

Mezcal Extra Cocktail

Mezcal Extra Cocktail

The presence of myth is usually a hallmark of a woefully inadequate product – Shotgun is different because it uses myth to its advantage. Shotgun is operating against the cultural context of the British BBQ, which – despite its more-or-less rigid menu involving burgers and sausages – is a phenomenon that is less about a precise culinary genre and more about celebrating the fleeting moments of warm, beautiful summer in Britain. Ultimately the notion of the ‘British BBQ’ does not give the British a particular good opportunity to come to grips with authentic American (or Australian, for that matter) BBQ. This puts Shotgun in the ideal position to channel the full extent of its creativity and ingenuity to make the definition of ‘BBQ’ whatever it wants it to be, with its savvy London customers making only two requests – the food and drink be exceptional and that they be at least suggestive of the authentic American BBQ that has clearly served as one of the restaurant’s key inspirations.

Pecan Brownie

Pecan Brownie

Shotgun is not a sign of being American – it is an American myth, and a damn tasty one.

 

Here is what I enjoyed during my meal at Shotgun.

To drink – Mezcal Extra Cocktail x 3

Starter - Broccoli and Cheddar Soup

Main – Baby Back Ribs for 2

Sides – Sweet Potato Fondant & BBQ Baked Beans

Dessert – Pecan Brownie

Total Cost: £75.37 (including service)

 

 

Savour Simplicity - Making Your Restaurant Great.

Some of the Best, If Simplest, Restaurants in London

“Nothing is more simple than greatness; indeed, to be simple is to be great.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

In our last post we talked about what it takes to write great copy, and the same rules apply to having a great restaurant – define your brand, make it simple and appealing, and convey that brand identity without sacrificing substance in the interest of style. We have found that restaurants with a clear message and a simple brand can often be the most successful. Take Tortellini Cup, for example, consistently in Trip Advisor’s top 10, it serves only six dishes – two types of pasta, two types of bread, a salad, and a dessert – all of which are authentic to the brand’s home town of Modena. Another good example might be MeatLiquor in Soho – which went from street food van to a chain of restaurants people queue to get into – all because of its famously first-rate burgers.

  Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecôte

 Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecôte

People like choice, it’s true, but with over 16 thousand restaurants in London it can all be a little overwhelming - even TimeOut can’t limit its Best Restaurants list to fewer than 100! Keeping it simple will help you stand out and helps customers know exactly what to expect. Fewer items on your menu also means you have time to perfect those dishes and achieve that ideal balance of substance and style. This week I’ve chosen three of my favourite places to eat in London who hit this nail on the head.

Zeret Kitchen - £ - Casual dining

This little restaurant in a – frankly – slightly dodgy-looking part of Camberwell has become a firm favourite with London-dwellers, and not just those from south of the river. Serving delicious, authentic food, as well as having some of the friendliest customer service I have experienced, Zeret Kitchen’s offering is simple – traditional Ethiopian food and a warm welcome. The menu is a good length (enough choice but not overwhelming) and caters for both vegetarians and meat-eaters, there are some excellent beer choices, and you can enjoy the traditional Ethiopian coffee ceremony, complete with frankincense and popcorn, at the end of your meal.

Zeret Kitchen -  Vegetarian Selection

Zeret Kitchen - Vegetarian Selection

Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecôte - ££ - Smart dining

A restaurant which only serves one dish is pretty much the definition of simplicity. And, I have to say, for me it pays off. One of the London branches of this French favourite, Le Relais de Venise serves only steak and chips and both are delicious. The steak is served with the restaurant’s secret sauce and you also get a starter salad with mustard vinaigrette. There is a good, short wine list and a nice selection of French desserts and that’s it! The décor is nothing to write home about but there is still a queue out of the door most nights – why? Because they focus on making the perfect steak frites. Simplicity at its best.

  Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecôte -  Steak frites.

 Le Relais de Venise, L’Entrecôte - Steak frites.

Indigo at One Aldwych - £££ - Fine dining

On the surface, Indigo at One Aldwych looks like your standard, fine-dining joint. You know the sort, simple but elegant, shines a light on ‘seasonal British produce’, yadda yadda… but there’s a catch – everything is entirely gluten- and dairy-free. Not that you can tell – banish ideas of grainy sauces and cardboard cake, the main selling point for Indigo was that it went totally gluten- and dairy-free and – at least according to the Evening Standard – “no one noticed”. It also caters for both vegetarians and meat eaters. From a marketing perspective, this is excellent. Fancy a fancy meal but you’re coeliac or lactose-intolerant? One quick Google (say “dairy free fine dining restaurant London”) and Indigo pops up. It has a strong, simple USP and hasn’t sacrificed the quality for it.

Indigo at One Aldwych -  Pan-fried pigeon with celeriac pur é e, parsnip crisps, and a Madeira jus.

Indigo at One Aldwych - Pan-fried pigeon with celeriac purée, parsnip crisps, and a Madeira jus.

Indigo at One Aldwych -  Dairy-free chocolate mousse, with honeycomb crumb and c rème fraîche ice cream.

Indigo at One Aldwych - Dairy-free chocolate mousse, with honeycomb crumb and crème fraîche ice cream.

Keeping it simple doesn’t have to mean only serving one dish or one cuisine – it means finding something that makes your restaurant unique, investing in that wholeheartedly, and making sure that it’s the best it can be. Not sure where to start? We know some people who could help you out…

It's Complicated - Britain's Love Affair with Indian Food.

Epicure Digital Marketing Interviews Chef Cyrus Todiwala

The UK’s love affair with Indian food goes back several hundred years and, although the two countries have had a complicated history, Indian cuisine’s beneficial effect on British food is undeniable. The same cannot necessarily be said on our part. Britain has shamelessly borrowed, manhandled, and misunderstood Indian food almost for as long as it has loved it but, with the world of food shifting and changing all the time – are we starting to give Indian cuisine the respect it deserves? We sat down with Chef Cyrus Todiwala to find out.

Epicure Found Chris O'Leary and Chef Cyrus Todiwala of Café Spice Namasté

Epicure Found Chris O'Leary and Chef Cyrus Todiwala of Café Spice Namasté

In 1600, the East India Trading Company was founded to open trade routes with the Indian subcontinent, ushering in a whole new food era. Brits returning from their travels had acquired a taste for the flavourful dishes they had been eating abroad, and new recipes sprung up in their homeland to accommodate them. The first English curry recipes can be found in Hannah Glasse’s The Art of Cookery, as early as 1747, and 1809 saw the first ever Indian restaurant open in the UK. Although Britain’s passion for Indian cuisine declined in the later years of the Raj, the influx of Indians and Bangladeshis into the UK in the 20th century saw it come back with a vengeance.

But we have always insisted on doing it our way. Early English curries were extremely mild and nowadays the food we consider “Indian” often bears little resemblance to what you can actually find in the country itself, as Todiwala points out. “If people come to Indian restaurants in the UK, everything is not all dark and smelly like it is in India. Everything is deep-fried and full of colour - in India we don’t use a lot of colour in our food, whereas here we use it rampantly”.  

Epicure Digital Marketing Dines at Café Spice Namasté

For Chef Todiwala, Indian cuisine in the UK has not followed the same trajectory as that of, say, French cuisine, attaining a high profile and a “fine dining” stamp of approval. On the contrary, the majority of Indian restaurants are treated as day-to-day British dining, a perception, Todiwala remarks, which has prevented the Indian food industry from growing and developing.

“To the bulk of the British public, Indian restaurants are still “curry”, because they haven’t identified what curry really means, and what Indian cuisine really stands for.” Rather than a complex and profound gastronomy, most of us still think of Indian food as a Friday night takeaway or post-pub sustenance. Now, don't get me wrong, I love a typical Indian takeaway as much as the next person (and I must admit, I'm a sucker for a sweet, mild korma) it is great, tasty food, and, as Todiwala himself points out, "you can't say it is poor quality, it isn't necessarily. It is simply that these restaurants are providing a service for people who demand that kind of quality, product, and service." It is simply that our view of this particular style of cooking is often applied to all Indian food, regardless of quality. 

Café Spice Namasté in London

And it is exactly this perception that restaurants like Todiwala’s own Café Spice Namaste are trying to root out. To begin with, says Todiwala, it was out with the dim lighting, flock wallpaper, and musty carpets, and in with the bold colours “India is a very very colourful country, unfortunately the restaurants within Britain did not represent that”.

Epicure Digital Marketing at Café Spice Namasté

Secondly, if you are looking for your standard Jalfrezi, think again. The Indian subcontinent is bursting with regional cuisines, each as exciting as the last, but in Britain there are very few opportunities to try anything but the well-worn options you can find at your local curry house.

But this is changing, with restaurants like Michelin-starred Trishna offering options such as a Kerala-inspired tasting menu. At Café Spice Namaste, Parsi food is the order of the day – a cuisine found in India’s Western Gujarat area which is closer to Persian food than it is to a Brick Lane Balti – alongside Goan-inspired seafood dishes and much more. “We always try to educate our public, so those who have not had our cuisine before will have the opportunity to dine on different forms of cooking.

Samosas at Café Spice Namasté

And it turns out that we Britons are increasingly willing to be educated. Our love of food TV is at an all-time high – I myself am a MasterChef obsessive – which means it has never been simpler for us to learn how to cook these dishes ourselves. Instead of relying on a curry recipe from a cookbook, you can watch Chef Todiwala make it himself on Saturday Kitchen. It is also easier than ever before to travel to India and try the food first-hand. And this, according to Todiwala, is what is making a real difference. Once people have tried real Indian food, our pale British imitation simply will not cut it.

There is this amazing growth in the palates and the refinement of the taste buds of British people today, who demand more in terms of quality, in terms of consistency, and in terms of variety”, remarks Todiwala. Not only are we beginning to create superlative, informed eaters (or foodie hipsters, whatever you want to call them), we are also producing superlative raw materials, which many UK Indian chefs are using in their cooking.

In fact, Todiwala only uses British produce in his kitchen, taking great pains to source the finest meat, fish, and vegetables from all over the country. When we visited, there was a trout on the specials which can only be found in the chalk streams of Hampshire, where some of the purest water in Britain can be found. “I buy British, and I’m proud to buy British, that’s what we do.” So here it is – with our long-delayed appreciation for more complex and “authentic” Indian cuisine comes an opportunity to contribute something worthwhile ourselves in the form of our world-class local produce.

Epicure Digital Marketing Feast at Café Spice Namasté

A new era of British-Indian food, authentic to us, celebrating the best of both countries is about to begin, and it’s going to be delicious. Want to get involved? Café Spice Namaste might be a good place to start.

Passionified Roses - Are You Full or Empty this Valentine’s Day?

What is the key to being fully booked this Valentine’s Day?

Better yet, how can a restaurant fully leverage this holiday all February? It’s all about the roses, but perhaps not in the way you are thinking.

I’m not suggesting that you put all other plans on hold and ring a super-quality florist to make sure that each couple is given only the most luscious of roses upon arrival –though that certainly would not hurt! What I am actually referring to is the example of ‘passionified roses’ given to us by 20th-Century French philosopher Roland Barthes.

Valentine's Day Roses

Independent of its associations with love and Valentine’s Day, roses have another, more basic meaning. They are just flowers – thorny, crimson, and generally considered to be beautiful. They have existed since the dinosaurs and therefore concepts passion and love have zero inherent associations with them.

In Western culture we choose to signify our passion (the signified) to our lover with roses (the signifier). When roses are combined with passion – that is the signifier and signified respectively, they produce what we know as Valentine’s Day roses, which are an undisputed sign of one’s passion and love for another.

What is demonstrated above is that the term rose can exist with two rather different meanings. Rose the signifier, or a rose that is a flower of a certain genus that has nothing inherent about it to do with Valentine’s Day. And rose the sign that so utterly means love, passion and Valentine’s Day that it is almost a cliché to give a dozen of them as a gift to one’s partner on special occasions.

Valentine's Day Roses

Restaurateur, if you are serious about filling up your restaurant with customers this Valentine’s Day consider how this is deeply relevant to you and your marketing.

Objects and words can be entirely empty of meaning (the signifier) or can be entirely full (the sign).  Your job – or your marketer’s – is to communicate why people should choose your restaurant over the other ten thousand plus ones that exist in London… To have any hope of doing so effectively, your Valentine’s Day marketing message must be full to the brim!

For a successful and lucrative Valentine’s Day, it will take more than a half-hearted email marketing template that makes use of the colour pink, hearts and – of course – roses. It will take more than a rushed Valentine’s Day menu that is treated as an afterthought that may or may not include a glass of cheap ‘bubbly’. By doing this you will be falling in the trap of proposing a random collage of empty signifiers to your customers.

Valentine's Day Roses

Empty signifiers – though technically meaningless – in the context of Valentine’s Day marketing are actually rather meaningful. They broadly flag to your customers that your restaurant is proposing an incoherent and therefore unappealing message and that your restaurant simply cannot be bothered to produce a worthwhile Valentine’s Day experience. Empty signifiers will mean that your marketing message will be passed up in favour of a restaurant’s whose Valentine’s Day marketing message is full.

Valentine’s Day customers are not looking for a deal or discount. They want the full force of the meaning of Valentine’s Day oozing out of your marketing – email and social media, content, website and menu. Beyond this, what they really want to see is how your restaurant’s version of Valentine’s Day is particularly worthwhile and unique.

So think about it… What does Valentine’s Day mean to you and/or your restaurant? Are you a fancy French restaurant and is Champagne your romantic beverage of choice? Make a Champagne tasting menu and allow your marketing to fully convey the reasons why for your restaurant Champagne and passion are inextricably linked…

Are you a simple but authentic Italian restaurant whose customers are not willing to spend upwards of £25 per person? No problem – full meaning does not have to be expensive! Why not dedicate your Valentine’s Day experience to the romantic city Roma with a menu centred on its famous pasta dishes (if you are spending more than £2 for the ingredients for a portion of cacio e pepe, you are making it incorrectly!)? The charms of Rome are an endless source inspiration for the most impactful and meaningful of marketing content, provided your message conveys why you love Rome without falling back on empty clichés.

Above everything else, it is crucial that you weigh the particular Valentine’s Day experience at your restaurant with your own passion to make each meal a veritable sign that your restaurant loves its customers and cares deeply about their satisfaction!