What is in this article?:
- Restaurants try to tap consumer wallets for Valentineâ€™s Day
- Making a weekend out of it
Spending is expected to increase modestly this year, surveys find
Hooters will offer a special of two 10-piece chicken wing orders for $14.
Restaurants’ prospects for capitalizing on Valentine’s Day, one of the biggest annual dining-out occasions in the United States, are expected to increase modestly this year, according to two consumer surveys.
Los Angeles-based market research firm IBISWorld anticipates a 3.7-percent increase in Valentine’s Day spending this year, and predicted that restaurants would benefit from a long weekend of Feb. 14 falling on a Friday and President’s Day occurring the following Monday, Feb. 17.
IBISWorld projected the average per-person expenditure for Valentine’s Day to inch up to $135.10, from $134.28 last year.
According to a 2014 Valentine’s Day spending survey conducted by Prosper Insights & Analytics for the National Retail Federation, 54 percent of Americans plan to celebrate the day with loved ones this year, compared with 60 percent in 2013. However, the average expenditure on candy, cards, flowers, gifts and dinner is expected to rise slightly, to $133.91 per person from $130.97 last year.
The NRF forecasts total Valentine’s Day spending of $17.3 billion this year.
The survey found that restaurant meals are relatively low in the hierarchy of Valentine’s Day gifts, as 37 percent of survey respondents said they would celebrate with an evening out. By comparison, 51 percent of consumers said they would celebrate with cards, 49 percent will buy candy, and 37 percent will buy their loved ones flowers.
“While fewer are planning to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, millions of shoppers will still make room in their discretionary budgets to send cards and gifts to loved ones or enjoy a special evening,” Pam Goodfellow, Prosper Insights & Analytics’ director, said in a statement. “Consumers can expect promotions on everything from flowers to date-night dinner packages in the coming days, leaving plenty of ideas for those looking to spoil their Valentines.”
Love is in the air
Such promotions for Valentine’s Day abound in the restaurant industry this year, often with love-themed offers to advertise new products or special deals running all weekend long.
Qdoba Mexican Grill is reprising its popular Queso for a Kiss promotion at all its locations on Feb. 14. Any two guests who pucker up at the cash register with a significant other, friend or willing stranger will receive a free entrée with the purchase of a queso entrée. The promotional materials for the offer will call out the fast-casual chain’s two new flavors of queso: Queso Diablo and Queso Verde.
Coffee and treat chains often take advantage of Valentine’s Day by developing themed snacks and desserts.
Carvel is offering a heart-shaped Chocolate Decadence cake, while Baskin-Robbins will sell Conversation Heart Cakes in two sizes. Baskin-Robbins also made Love Potion #31 its “flavor of the month” for February. The ice cream variety mixes dark chocolate and raspberry flavors with raspberry-filled white chocolate hearts and a raspberry-flavored ribbon throughout.
Krispy Kreme Doughnuts and Dunkin’ Donuts also have entered the Valentine’s Day game with specially shaped doughnuts. Krispy Kreme’s “Hugs and Kisses” doughnuts — which are shaped like X’s and O’s, with white icing and strawberry topping — join sprinkled-heart doughnuts and chocolate-iced heart doughnuts on the lineup.
This year, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering two new flavors of its heart-shaped doughnuts: Cookie Dough and Brownie Batter. The chain also developed a Brown Sugar Cinnamon Coffee and Latte. All items are available through the end of February.
Starbucks Coffee is looking to set the mood for Valentine’s Day in a different way, offering a compilation of popular love songs covered by musicians like Beck, Fiona Apple and Vampire Weekend. The album, Starbucks’ fifth Valentine’s Day compilation, is available at the iTunes Music Store and at StarbucksStore.com.