Restaurant Workers Prepare for Busiest Day of the Year

busiest day restaraunt It's the most wonderful time of the year for restaurant owners, as well as food service workers who receive tips. An estimated 70 million Americans will celebrate Valentine's Day at a restaurant this year, according to the National Restaurant Association. That's almost one-third of all American consumers (31 percent) who say they will dine out on Feb. 14.

That means restaurant workers will have their busiest Monday since, well, since last time Valentine's Day fell on a Monday. Most agree that the extra cash they earn on the busy Monday shift will make up for the fact that they're probably not going to be spending the evening with that special someone -- unless they work together.

Unfortunately, it's the younger adults (who are not traditionally the most generous tippers) who are more likely to enjoy a special Valentine's Day meal at a restaurant. Thirty-three percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, and 39 percent of 35- to 44-year-olds say they plan to dine out for a Valentine's Day meal, compared with 27 percent of those 55 and older. Sheer numbers should compensate for the tip gap, however.

Just to make sure that their tables are full and the extra staff they bring on will keep busy, restaurant owners are offering all sorts of special promotions: 63 percent are offering special menu items, 45 percent are going with a prix fixe menu, 34 percent will have celebratory beverages or desserts, 28 percent will offer flowers/candy and only 13 percent will feature entertainment/music. And all those extras put even more people to work -- it's not just the greeting card industry that flourishes on Feb. 14.

Previous research by the association shows that Valentine's Day is the second most popular holiday to dine out, after Mother's Day. But there are those who beg to differ. Not all restaurants are open on Sunday, when Mother's Day is celebrated.

All in all, about 13 million employees at 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets will be at your service on Valentine's Day. Don't forget to tip your waiter.

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