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How to Create a Unique Valentine’s Day Restaurant Promotion Guests Will Fall in Love With

How to Create a Unique Valentine’s Day Restaurant Promotion Guests Will Fall in Love With

Every restaurant in town runs a special Valentine’s Day promotion—so what can you do to stand out? 

Lightspeed pulled the numbers on Valentine’s Day’s most ordered items, ticket sales and more to help you better prepare for this restaurant-centric holiday. 

Understanding what guests are looking for in a Valentine’s Day experience will help you craft the perfect menu, bring in more guests and make them fall in love with your business.

Where do the numbers come from?

Lightspeed analyzed transactions from thousands of hospitality businesses across the United States powered by Lightspeed Restaurant. 

With Advanced Insights built directly into the Lightspeed Restaurant platform, we can examine vast quantities of data to transform insight into action. 

Our analysis included different business categories like bars, casual dining, upscale, fine dining venues and fast-casual businesses. Our team compared sales trends and menu items’ popularity between Tuesday, February 7 2023 and Tuesday, February 14 2023. In other words, we compared what sold on a regular Tuesday in February last year with what sold on Valentine’s day in 2023.

Here’s what we found.

Going out on a weeknight? Oh là là! 

In 2023, Valentine’s Day landed on a Tuesday, when many restaurants are closed. About 8% of establishments that typically close made an exception last year. Over a quarter (29%) of the fine dining restaurants in our data pool opened on Valentine’s Day. 

And no wonder: the average check size increased by 14% on Valentine’s Day, which can make a big difference during winter months.  

Serving luxury

Tasting menus offer something extra special on a night out. Units sold increased by 483% compared to the previous Tuesday.  

Unlike Thanksgiving or New Year’s Eve, Valentine’s Day brings a spike in wine rather than liquor-based drinks. 

Sparkling wine is especially popular, with a surge of 163%. Red wine is a big hit with its 68% uptake and white wine orders went up by 58%. Cocktails are still popular—their orders saw a 96% uptick—whereas liquor orders only increased by 22%.  

Illustration of different drink types and their popularity on Valentine's Day.

Stay ready

As the rise in sales suggests, it’s still important to be prepared for a rush even if you’re not open for dine-in and only offer takeout specials. 

Here are a few ideas to help you stand out on next Valentine’s Day. 

5 Valentine’s Day ideas for your restaurant

What can you do to set your business apart on this romantic occasion? 

We’ve got a few ideas to get the ball rolling.

1. Offer a proposal package

Valentine’s Day remains the most popular day for marriage proposals

Cater to those who are looking to pop the question with a proposal package. It can include a prix fixe meal for two, a complimentary bouquet of flowers and a bottle of bubbles or wine. 

This is great for both to-go and in-house guests alike.

2. Expand your revenue with special takeout options

What if you’re a couple of introverts who still want to celebrate? 

Our data shows that takeout orders on February 14 are still popular, with a 72% increase.  

Make the most of the special occasion with specials like buy-one-get-one entrees, a free dessert with two entrées ordered, or a special pre-packaged three-course meal.

3. Remember to include the single folks

Single people want to celebrate, too! Have some fun by offering an anti-Valentine’s Day menu full of items most people wouldn’t want to eat on a first date—think super sauced-up wings, peel-and-eat shrimp, and lots and lots of garlic. 

This is also an opportunity to have fun with the names of your cocktail specials. Love Potion’s Antidote, anyone? 

4. Use reservation data to make guests feel special.

By using the analytics from your restaurant POS and online reservation system, you can see who your most frequent guests are and what they love to order. Surprise those VIPs with a complimentary glass of their favorite wine or most-ordered dessert for a personalized touch. You can also offer additional perks to guests who book their reservations at least a week in advance.

5. As always: promote, promote, promote

No one will know about your specials if you don’t tell them. 

Be sure to share your Valentine’s Day plans on your restaurant’s social media pages and in-house via table tents, sidewalk chalkboards and other signage.

Is data your one true love?

Here are a few more facts and figures.

What do consumers buy the most for Valentine’s Day?

Drumroll, please: it’s candy. Approximately 57% of consumers expect to buy it for Valentine’s Day. (No data yet about the folks who wait to make their purchases of deeply discounted candy on February 15th.)  

In second place, we have greeting cards. About 145 million are exchanged annually. Extra points to everyone who doesn’t use AI to write a romantic message this year. 

Let’s not forget about flowers. Valentine’s Day is the busiest day for florists. Jewelry is another popular choice, with consumers spending a whopping $6.2 billion on jewelry last year​​.

What food sells the most during Valentines Day?

Our numbers show that steak, truffle, chocolate, caviar, and dessert orders almost all doubled their sales quantity on V-day.  

Which businesses profit the most on Valentine’s Day?

Our numbers show that steak, truffle, chocolate, caviar, and dessert orders almost all doubled their sales quantity on V-day.  

Aside from florists, businesses that offer popular items—like jewelry, candy and cards—are popular on Valentine’s Day.

When should you start promoting Valentine’s Day?

Start about six weeks early if you can. This timing caters to early birds and last-minute shoppers. Aim for an omnichannel strategy that lets you promote to audiences online and in person. 

Want to learn more about how technology can help improve your restaurant level up? Talk to one of our experts now.

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