Thursday 14 February 2008

Valentines Day - The worst day of the year to eat in a restaurant?

I think it is the same all around the world. Almost every restaurant, small as big, offers special 'value' set menus for Valentine's. Get three dishes for £19.95 or something similar.

I think that Valentine's is one of the biggest nights for restaurants these days. Judging by what I've seen the last couple of years they do seem to squeeze every last penny out of the poor customers. There can't be any other night on the restaurant calendar where they try to get people in and out of the restaurant in the shortest possible amount of time. It doesn't do much for the romance of the evening when you're told that you got something like 45 minutes to eat.

You start your meal knowing that you will be pushed out of the door within a certain amount of time. That way the evening starts on a bit of a downer, and that's even before you've had the chance to sample the food.

What normally happens is that they know that 95% of their customers will go for the cut-rate set menus. Knowing this they start preparing these dishes earlier in the day just to save time and effort closer to service. So when your meal is on the table, it will have been sitting in a nearly-ready state for quite some time. We all know how quickly food degenerates when it is sat waiting.

I guess you might be getting my point now. They try to push as many people through the restaurant as possible and try to do it with as much profit as possible by quite often using inferior ingredients and preparing everything too far ahead just to save time.

A couple of years ago we were sitting down our local and could observe many of our friends heading off for their Valentine's meal. Most of them were heading off to the same restaurant, a Curry restaurant that I rate very highly. It was quite funny because we could time them almost down to the second. They headed off and within 50 minutes they were back in the pub for their post meal drinks. The thing that all of these couples had in common was that they were all unhappy with the quality of their meal. There was a fair few of these couples that had gone there on the recommendation of others.

This restaurant managed to lose future customers by trying to push too many people through there and at the same time serving food that was below their normal standards. People who normally would rave about the quality of food there felt very let down during this visit. You know yourself how much you hate it when you recommend something to someone and they don't have a good experience.

I don't think that I'd ever book a table for a Valentine's dinner. I'd much rather cook something for me and my better half myself and then maybe go out for drinks afterwards. If that's not an option I'd rather go a week before or after the actual date. But that's just me.

I've noticed that quite a few of the Supermarket chains here have special pre-made Valentine's meal. All prepared for you, just chuck it in the oven to add the finishing touch. Then you hide the empty cartons and try to pass it off as your own creation. Talk about cheating. You might as well go for that romantic extra fat, extra large bucket from KFC.

This year? No Valentine's for me.

Besides, I'm more of a March 14th man. If you haven't heard of March 14th, or Steak and BJ day as it's more known - read more here. Please note that this link might not be suitable for minor viewers or work related environments. :)

Since I got a month until that date I thought I might round up some applications from willing participants. Send me your picture, cv and other vital information. :) Remember, I prefer my steak blue - the rest I leave up to you and your imagination. :) Also, you need to be a woman and you should have been born as a woman too. And please, no mentalists.

It would be interesting to read your comments to this. Do you agree or disagree with my view on Valentine's meals?


  1. I am not a mentalist you cheeky bugger! ;)
    I want an exemption from that group please.
    Go on...

  2. Ok, Bubba is not a mentalist!

    Happy now? ;)

  3. Yes, yes i am happy now. :)


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// Mike