According to research by online reservation service OpenTable, more than 30% of couples will celebrate Valentine’s Day with a meal out. This romantic calendar event can see restaurant sales soar to new heights, but the effects are usually short lived.
Sadly, restaurant owners can’t magic more Valentine’s Days out of thin air… but they can use some strategic design tricks to make their venues a top choice for date nights. By introducing a few romantic features to their venues, restaurant owners can benefit from the power of love not only on Valentine’s Day, but all throughout the year.
Here are a few romantic ideas for a touch of inspiration:
Mood lighting does just that; it helps to set the mood and make restaurant spaces appear cosy, warm, and intimate. By switching from bright, overhead lights with cool white or daylight temperatures to wall lights or lamps with warm white temperatures between 2000K - 3000K, the ambiance and atmosphere instantly becomes more romantic. Fairy lights and dim lights work well, along with natural light emitted from fireplaces. The Alchemist, Nottingham also features hanging lanterns above the seating areas, and candles on the tables which give off just the slightest hint of warming glow.
Love is one of the most tactile of feelings, with physical contact and affection playing a significant role in building and maintaining relationships. So the sense of touch is a vital consideration when designing restaurant spaces that appeal to couples. Nantwich’s Romazzino restaurant is already incorporating the sense of touch into its design through the use of opulent materials that feel good on the skin. Seating areas are covered in rich velvet, creating a soft and physically-comforting space. Another option is to incorporate different textures into restaurant design which offer tactile experiences.
Psychologists have found that music is powerful enough to evoke emotional responses, which means that restaurants playing romantic tunes or love songs could easily make their venues more amorous simply through their playlists. Perhaps the best type of music to evoke passionate emotional responses is gentle music which isn’t too loud or fast, and creates a relaxing environment. However, it’s not all about music selection. It’s a good idea to make sure that the venue’s acoustics are just right so that music fills the background silence but isn’t so overwhelming that it prevents intimate discussions.
Flowers are often considered to be a classic and traditional Valentine’s Day gift, and that’s because they touch upon the inherent human love of nature. Restaurant owners wanting to create more romantic spaces should consider adding some natural touches to their venues to leverage the power of these built-in human instincts and responses. 14 Hills in London is known for surrounding its customers in all sorts of foliage, from flowing Ivy to banana plants, while Nantwich’s Residence Restaurant and Bar takes a slightly lower key approach with the addition of wall-mounted planters and floor-standing pots.
Clos Maggiore in London was once voted the most romantic restaurant in the world. So what design features does the restaurant have that make it such a charming venue? The obvious feature is its seating area, with small, intimate tables and comfortable chairs. This type of setup allows guests to eat, drink, and chat in close proximity, while still enabling the restaurant team to easily pass through to serve any needs. The Herd Steak House in Matlock offers a similar setup, with the redesigned old bank vault in the basement creating individual seating areas with snug corners and cosy alcoves.
Theme restaurants are hugely popular today, and while some are dedicated to specific cuisines, such as American BBQ joints, for example, others are focused on creating a feeling or emotion. In Los Angeles, The Little Door is carefully styled to bring a touch of Parisian passion to the west coast, while Singapore’s The White Rabbit is housed within a restored Ebenezer chapel… it doesn’t get much more romantic than that! A little closer to home, Baffito's restaurant in Warrington transports guests to the loved up Italian Riviera with olive leather seating areas and pizza ovens for an authentic experience.