All Articles Food Food and dining are at the heart of Valentine's Day celebrations

Food and dining are at the heart of Valentine’s Day celebrations

3 min read


Not everyone greets Valentine’s Day with romantic plans, but the lucky in love and the die-hard romantics plan to spend more on the holiday this year than they have since the National Retail Federation began compiling such statistics a decade ago. In addition to flowers, candy and other gifts, nearly half will celebrate with an evening out.

About half of Americans don’t plan to celebrate, but those who do will honor loved ones with some kind of food, including a meal prepared lovingly at home, takeout ordered just as lovingly or a romantic restaurant meal. About 25% of Americans plan to celebrate by dining out, and 15% will order takeout or delivery, according to the National Restaurant Association.

The level of celebration might vary year to year, depending on budget or relationship status, but trappings tend toward the traditional, albeit often with a twist. Any popular food that can be created in the shape of a heart will be, including doughnuts at Dunkin’ Donuts and Krispy Kreme and biscuits at Bojangles’ and Chick-fil-A, according to a roundup by QSRweb.

Heart-shaped pizza, once a novelty, has soared in popularity in recent years. Papa John’s sold more than 60,000 last year and expects to serve about 75,000 this year, CNNMoney reported. Chicago’s Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria began shipping a frozen version in 1991; orders increased 10% last year and are expected to rise another 10% this year, said Marketing Manager Maggie Eck.

Rather than going with a heart-shaped pie, Pizza Hut is celebrating Valentine’s Day by offering a $10,010 package to those looking to propose. The package comes with a limo ride, fireworks, a ruby-red ring and a few other bells and whistles, including a $10 dinner box. The deal is refundable if a prospective groom backs out by March 31.

Maggiano’s Little Italy’s promotion isn’t strictly tied to Valentine’s Day, but it clearly hopes to capture the romance of the season. The chain is promoting its popularity as a place for rehearsal dinners, bridal showers and wedding receptions with the “Bliss List” contest, which lets couples post photos and essays describing the top five things they want to experience together during their marriage. The couple with the most votes will win a stay at a Sandals Resorts hotel in the Caribbean.

It’s not only restaurants that have been heavily promoting Valentine’s Day meals. OpenTable’s blog has been chock full of romance-related posts, including an interview with Vail, Colo., chef Kelly Liken, who said pretty much every food can be prepared and served as part of a romantic meal — except maybe meatloaf. The dining-reservation website is also promoting holiday dining out with “My Foodie Valentine,” a dinner-for-two giveaway.

Does your restaurant have a Valentine’s Day tradition, or are you trying something new this year? Tell us in the comments.

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