My parents met while working at a restaurant, and my dad is a chef, so naturally I grew up in restaurants. I would spend days in the kitchen with my dad or running around the dining room when the restaurant wasn’t in service. Some days I’d help de-foot scallops or peel vegetables. Once I was old enough to legally work, I became a part of the guest services team at my dad’s restaurant. After my first Valentine’s Day working at the restaurant, I swore I’d never go out to a restaurant on Valentine’s Day and here’s why.
Valentine’s Day is already a day that many have high expectations for. They want a perfect day full of romance, flowers, and chocolate. However, when everyone wants to come in at 6 p.m. or there are multiple booth requests, it’s impossible for everyone to get what they want.
Any decent restaurant is going to be booked up on Valentine’s. The dining room is going to be full and that means it’s going to be loud. Furthermore, people aren’t aware of other people having reservations too and will sit over their estimated time. This means you’re going to have to wait in the crowded waiting area while staff rushes by. Nothing ruins the evening’s ambiance like having to yell at your partner in the waiting area or across the table. Also, it’s not a day you’re guaranteed optimal service. Employees are going to be running around all night trying to accommodate the never-ending flow of guests.
Valentine’s Day is a commercial-driven holiday designed for people to spend money on cards, flowers, stuffed animals, chocolates and more. Add a dinner and tip to all the gifts you’ve already bought and that’s one very expensive day. To have a nice Valentine’s Day, you don’t have to spend lots of money on expensive food and gifts, you can simply enjoy the company of your significant other.
The holiday always attracts people who don’t normally go out and that only adds to the craziness. It also attracts people who want the excuse to have a little too much fun. For example, one Valentine’s Day I was working at the host stand and saw a table of giggling guests get up. As they walked past me I saw each of them carrying the rose centerpieces, followed by the last person holding a giant vase filled with fake roses. I had to stop the last person as they walked past, ask for the vase, and watch them quickly give it back before dashing out the door. That is something that I’ve only had happen on Valentine’s Day when guests are in a chaotic mood after filling up on champagne and chocolate.
What You Should Do Instead
While dinner at a restaurant might sound like a good idea…it’s not. Here are some alternative options:
- Have a picnic
- Make dinner at home (or have your partner make it for you)
- Go to an art museum
- Make Valentine themed treats
- Make Valentines
- Go to a comedy show
- Find a food truck
- Go hiking
- Create paintings
- Go stargazing
Overall, it’s important to remember that Valentine’s Day is about showing those important to you that you care about them! You don’t need to go out for a fancy dinner to have an amazing Valentine’s Day!