Increasing Sales at Your Restaurant this Valentine’s Day

Tips and Tricks to Increase Revenue on Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is big business. Everybody in the restaurant business knows this. But the actual numbers are still eye-popping: according to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an estimated $25.9 billion for Valentine’s Day in 2023.

And 32% of consumers will be dining out on Valentine’s Day this year.

Restaurant Technology News has reported that restaurant sales increase 65% on Valentine’s Day.

Increasing your sales on Valentine's Day can sometimes be more art than science, but there are some standard steps you should take – and may have taken in the past – to ensure a successful holiday.

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Success: Optimizing Operations, Maximizing Profits, and Building a Loyal Customer Base

🔓 Unlock the secrets to restaurant success with actionable strategies for optimizing operations, maximizing profits, and building a loyal customer base.

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Differentiating Your Restaurant from the Crowd

Restaurant promotion and marketing can sometimes be a complex and serious business. And often, successful efforts at leveraging a special day on the calendar can play out in completely unexpected ways.

Valentine’s Day is the first big romantic and revenue-producing – for restaurants – event after the busy December holiday season. And after Mother’s Day, usually the most popular and profitable single day of the year for most restaurants.

Taking advantage of the popularity of Valentine’s Day as a night out can take a little effort to differentiate your restaurant from the competition.


Here’s one story of wild differentiation… White Castle and romance might be considered a very unlikely pairing, but some innovative thinkers at the ​​Columbus, Ohio-based fast-food chain decided to leverage a long-running in-house Valentine’s Day joke and convert their restaurants into romantic, reservation-only, high-end destinations. And for 29 years revenue results on Valentine’s Day at White Castle have traditionally produced record-shattering results.

Recently restaurants have attempted to expand their Valentine’s Day audience by adding singles and families to their marketing and promotion efforts.

Dallas-based Wingstop last year ran a decidedly PG-13-rated promotion aimed at singles, going so far as to advertise on the dating app Tinder. The chain promoted the concept that wing-loving romantics seeking love can “swipe right on flavor.”

Family-themed promotions have become popular in recent years. Offering a box of candy, free meals from your kids’ menu, or adding children’s table activities themed for Valentine’s Day are easy but memorable mods that families will appreciate.

The Practical Steps Towards Increased Revenue on Valentine’s Day

Increasing revenue at Valentine’s Day is a topic that at its foundation covers what makes any restaurant successful, but here are some tips and tricks successful operators implement:

  • Menu: Offering a romantic themed menu is a great first step. The menu should offer a selection of elegant and indulgent dishes, with a range of options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. The traditional romantic menu includes oysters, lobster, filet mignon, chocolate fondue, champagne, wine, and of course “punny” cocktails aimed at creating a smile. Restaurant veterans know that presentation and restaurant ambiance are almost as important as the food. Prix fixe has become popular on Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget your best customers might want a romantic evening at home – creating takeout specials can be lucrative.
  • Promotion: Email, social media, your website, and even snail mail can be useful in the run-up to the big day. Here’s a great article on upping your newsletter game to help promote special days or events to your regulars. Over-advertising on your specially prepared events is key. Use your customer database and contact details of your best customers to alert them of special days. Use social media to alert the region! By the way, TikTok is now the fastest-growing and arguably the stickiest of the big social networks, so be sure to add this to your efforts if you have not already. Think about adding a Valentine’s Day landing page on your website, detailing your promotional efforts and special offers. (While you're at it, don't forget Mother’s Day.) Go old school: send special discounts or info about packages for couples via the postal service. Additionally, advertising through local newspapers may be useful as well. Treat high-traffic days like a project, and plan and prep your team well in advance accordingly.

  • Ambience: The atmosphere should be intimate and cozy, with soft lighting, candles, and romantic decorations. Some restaurants opt for live music, a photographer, a string quartet, or other special touches to make the evening more romantic and memorable. Create an ambiance that can be a romantic celebration and offers a memorable dining experience on Valentine's Day. The service should be attentive, yet unobtrusive, to allow for a relaxed and intimate dining experience. The presentation of the food should be beautiful and eye-catching, making the meal an event in itself. A romantic restaurant should offer some privacy, with comfortable seating and enough space between tables to allow for intimacy. Soft background music or live music can help set the mood for a romantic evening. Restaurants can offer special touches such as roses, chocolates, or other gifts to add a memorable touch to the evening.
  • Partnerships: Innovative restaurateurs partner with florists, chocolatiers, or other local businesses to offer combined packages that are romantic and offer a memorable, unexpected customer experience.
  • Pivot: Some operators like to completely change it up and offer a new, unexpected customer experience. Live music, tasting menus, wine tasting, or a romantic cooking class in-restaurant offer paths to change it up and engage customers to offer an experience that’s unique and memorable.

Ultimately, it’s about the customer experience.

And as every restaurant is unique, there is no single formula that guarantees success and increased revenue. Successful restaurateurs often “zag” when all their competitors “zig”. Experimentation is key, but Valentine’s Day is one of those celebrations where the tried and true of romance and tradition often win the day and create the best results. One perspective discussing the “Restauraneur’s Challenge” is this paper from Deloitte about the challenge of evolving customer tastes and the elements of serving up a great restaurant customer experience.

Happy (and lucrative) Valentine’s Day folks!

Increasing Sales at Your Restaurant this Valentine’s Day

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Tips and Tricks to Increase Revenue on Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is big business. Everybody in the restaurant business knows this. But the actual numbers are still eye-popping: according to the National Retail Federation, consumers plan to spend an estimated $25.9 billion for Valentine’s Day in 2023.

And 32% of consumers will be dining out on Valentine’s Day this year.

Restaurant Technology News has reported that restaurant sales increase 65% on Valentine’s Day.

Increasing your sales on Valentine's Day can sometimes be more art than science, but there are some standard steps you should take – and may have taken in the past – to ensure a successful holiday.

The Ultimate Guide to Restaurant Success: Optimizing Operations, Maximizing Profits, and Building a Loyal Customer Base

🔓 Unlock the secrets to restaurant success with actionable strategies for optimizing operations, maximizing profits, and building a loyal customer base.

Download Resource

Differentiating Your Restaurant from the Crowd

Restaurant promotion and marketing can sometimes be a complex and serious business. And often, successful efforts at leveraging a special day on the calendar can play out in completely unexpected ways.

Valentine’s Day is the first big romantic and revenue-producing – for restaurants – event after the busy December holiday season. And after Mother’s Day, usually the most popular and profitable single day of the year for most restaurants.

Taking advantage of the popularity of Valentine’s Day as a night out can take a little effort to differentiate your restaurant from the competition.


Here’s one story of wild differentiation… White Castle and romance might be considered a very unlikely pairing, but some innovative thinkers at the ​​Columbus, Ohio-based fast-food chain decided to leverage a long-running in-house Valentine’s Day joke and convert their restaurants into romantic, reservation-only, high-end destinations. And for 29 years revenue results on Valentine’s Day at White Castle have traditionally produced record-shattering results.

Recently restaurants have attempted to expand their Valentine’s Day audience by adding singles and families to their marketing and promotion efforts.

Dallas-based Wingstop last year ran a decidedly PG-13-rated promotion aimed at singles, going so far as to advertise on the dating app Tinder. The chain promoted the concept that wing-loving romantics seeking love can “swipe right on flavor.”

Family-themed promotions have become popular in recent years. Offering a box of candy, free meals from your kids’ menu, or adding children’s table activities themed for Valentine’s Day are easy but memorable mods that families will appreciate.

The Practical Steps Towards Increased Revenue on Valentine’s Day

Increasing revenue at Valentine’s Day is a topic that at its foundation covers what makes any restaurant successful, but here are some tips and tricks successful operators implement:

  • Menu: Offering a romantic themed menu is a great first step. The menu should offer a selection of elegant and indulgent dishes, with a range of options for both meat-eaters and vegetarians. The traditional romantic menu includes oysters, lobster, filet mignon, chocolate fondue, champagne, wine, and of course “punny” cocktails aimed at creating a smile. Restaurant veterans know that presentation and restaurant ambiance are almost as important as the food. Prix fixe has become popular on Valentine’s Day. And don’t forget your best customers might want a romantic evening at home – creating takeout specials can be lucrative.
  • Promotion: Email, social media, your website, and even snail mail can be useful in the run-up to the big day. Here’s a great article on upping your newsletter game to help promote special days or events to your regulars. Over-advertising on your specially prepared events is key. Use your customer database and contact details of your best customers to alert them of special days. Use social media to alert the region! By the way, TikTok is now the fastest-growing and arguably the stickiest of the big social networks, so be sure to add this to your efforts if you have not already. Think about adding a Valentine’s Day landing page on your website, detailing your promotional efforts and special offers. (While you're at it, don't forget Mother’s Day.) Go old school: send special discounts or info about packages for couples via the postal service. Additionally, advertising through local newspapers may be useful as well. Treat high-traffic days like a project, and plan and prep your team well in advance accordingly.

  • Ambience: The atmosphere should be intimate and cozy, with soft lighting, candles, and romantic decorations. Some restaurants opt for live music, a photographer, a string quartet, or other special touches to make the evening more romantic and memorable. Create an ambiance that can be a romantic celebration and offers a memorable dining experience on Valentine's Day. The service should be attentive, yet unobtrusive, to allow for a relaxed and intimate dining experience. The presentation of the food should be beautiful and eye-catching, making the meal an event in itself. A romantic restaurant should offer some privacy, with comfortable seating and enough space between tables to allow for intimacy. Soft background music or live music can help set the mood for a romantic evening. Restaurants can offer special touches such as roses, chocolates, or other gifts to add a memorable touch to the evening.
  • Partnerships: Innovative restaurateurs partner with florists, chocolatiers, or other local businesses to offer combined packages that are romantic and offer a memorable, unexpected customer experience.
  • Pivot: Some operators like to completely change it up and offer a new, unexpected customer experience. Live music, tasting menus, wine tasting, or a romantic cooking class in-restaurant offer paths to change it up and engage customers to offer an experience that’s unique and memorable.

Ultimately, it’s about the customer experience.

And as every restaurant is unique, there is no single formula that guarantees success and increased revenue. Successful restaurateurs often “zag” when all their competitors “zig”. Experimentation is key, but Valentine’s Day is one of those celebrations where the tried and true of romance and tradition often win the day and create the best results. One perspective discussing the “Restauraneur’s Challenge” is this paper from Deloitte about the challenge of evolving customer tastes and the elements of serving up a great restaurant customer experience.

Happy (and lucrative) Valentine’s Day folks!

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