Unique Valentine’s Day Restaurant Promotions

New data from CAKE suggests a cultural shift toward having a more “low key” Valentine’s Day and restaurants saw a decrease in average revenue last year: 

  • Average Revenue on February 14, 2015: $3,059.87
  • Average Revenue on February 14, 2016: $3,285.25
  • Average Revenue on February 14, 2017: $2,478.94 

Customers are also spending less on lavish meals:

  • Average bill size on February 14, 2015: $23.98
  • Average bill size on February 14, 2016: $26.18 
  • Average bill size on February 14, 2017: $22.97 

Last year, Valentine’s Day fell on a Tuesday, but most couples who did go out chose to celebrate that weekend, rather than day of:

  • Average Revenue on Tuesday, February 14: $2,478.94
  • Average Revenue on Friday, February 17: $2,515.79
  • Average Revenue on Saturday, February 18: $3,023.78

 **Average data pulled from more than 2200 CAKE restaurants.

IBISWorld estimates holiday spending to grow 1.7 percent to $20.1 billion in 2018, topping its historical record. Driven by high levels of per capita disposable income, consumers are more likely to splurge a little more on gifts for their special someone. The average shopper is expected to spend $151.98 on holiday indulgences. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), a larger share of the U.S. adult population will celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, with an expected 54.7 percent participation rate, up from 53.9 percent in 2017.

With the holiday falling in the middle of the week, fewer consumers will have the time to celebrate with a date night, contributing to a 0.3 percent contraction in spending on a celebratory night out. Fewer big dates this Valentine’s Day will contribute to an expected 0.8 percent decline in revenue for buffet restaurant sin 2018, as well as slow 1.1 percent growth in demand for premium steak restaurants for the year.

Here’s a roundup of some unique restaurant promotions for Valentine’s Day.

KFC’s Scratch ‘n’ Sniff

KFC wants you to show your loved ones how much you care by giving them a fried chicken scratch ‘n’ sniff Valentine’s Day card featuring its iconic founder, Colonel Harland Sanders. Available in participating KFC U.S. restaurants, KFC’s set of four retro-inspired valentines romantically combine tender love lines with the intoxicating scent of fried chicken. When paired with a $10 Chicken Share, perfect for two, KFC is America’s one-stop shop for Valentine’s Day.

“Some years you have to search high and low for the perfect gift for your Valentine,” said Andrea Zahumensky, KFC U.S. CMO. “This year, we decided to make things easy. Skip the candy and go straight for the fried chicken! Grab dinner and some scratch ‘n’ sniff Valentine’s Day cards, and share your love of fried chicken with your valentine.” 

KFC’s valentines come in four different intoxicating designs, each with a fried chicken scratch ‘n’ sniff patch, so your valentine can indulge in the heavenly aroma of the Colonel’s 11 herbs and spices. Each valentine features Colonel Sanders with some of his favorite KFC menu items, accompanied by various sappy love lines like:

“You have the secret recipe to my heart.” 

“I fell in love the first moment I slaw you.” 

“We’re two peas in a chicken pot pie.” 

“I’d be with you all the time if only I could. You make me feel so finger lickin’ good.”

For those who are more digitally inclined, KFC has partnered with Tenor, the largest mobile GIF search engine, to create a series of animated KFC valentines for sharing with friends and family in messaging apps. KFC’s limited-edition valentines are free, while supplies last with the purchase of a $10 Chicken Share.

KFC Ringing in the Holiday

KFC in Poland surprises its fans with its latest release, a specially designed engagment ring in light of Valentines Day celebrations. The food supply chain claims that if fans met at a KFC restaurant, went there for a first date, or perhaps were brought together by a fierce passion for “juicy fried chicken” then the occasion deserves an unusual celebration.

This loveful ring will consist of two parts: first, the external layer made of gold with a fineness of 750, which will make fans think of a crunchy coating. Like the original KFC coating, which covers pieces of juicy chicken, its golden copy will boast some truly ‘exceptional’ elements. Inside is an engagement ring, platinum with a fineness of 950, set with nearly 150 small diamonds. That’s not all, as the whole is crowned with a 0.7 carat diamond.

The global food chain says the special piece of jewellery is not to be missed by KFC fans who want to show their love to their significant other. KFC are yet to confirm any details ahead of the big release and the conditions for receiving the ring. According to KFC, couples who decide to tie the knot with the engagement ring can expect a special wedding surprise from the restaurant chain.

Sister Brands Share the Love

Auntie Anne’s, McAlister’s and Schlotzsky’s are FOCUS “sister brands” so they bundled up their Valentine’s Day offerings 

Keep things with your loved ones extra hot by baking up Spicy Brownies with Schlotzsky’s ultimate brownie recipe. In fact, guests who spend $7 at Schlotzsky’s on Valentine’s Day will receive a free bottle of Schlotzsky’s hot sauce (at participating Schlotzsky’s stores)

Spicy Brownies
3 ounces (1 small bottle) Schlotzsky’s hot sauce
1 box of brownie mix
Vegetable oil (follow manufacturer’s recipe on box)
Eggs (follow manufacturer’s recipe on box)
Heart shaped cookie cutters (optional)
Marshmallow cream
Sprinkles / crushed candy (optional)
Prepare brownie mix according to manufacturer’s recipe on package and substitute water for
Schlotzsky’s hot sauce. Bake according to instructions on box.
Let it cool. Cut into heart shape and top
with mars
hmallows, sprinkles and/or your favorite candy.
If a spicier brownie is desired:
Using a fork, pinch the brownies once they are cooled.
Brush more Schlotzsky’s hot sauce over

Original and Cinnamon Sugar Heart-Shaped Pretzels will be available at Auntie Anne’s nationwide on February 14  To help further spread the love, Auntie Anne’s is offering a Heart-Shaped Pretzel Buy One, Get One (BOGO) promotion for all My Pretzel Perks members.

McAlister’s is offering free kids meals for each adult meal purchased by you and your boo. On February 14, participating McAlister’s locations are offering up to two complimentary kids meals with the purchase of an adult entrée for all guests that dine in. Guests can also keep an eye out for a complimentary surprise treat available for all loyalty members.

Beef Box Bouquet

Beef Jerky Outlet has debuted the Beef Box Bouquet just in time for Valentine’s Day. Each bouquet is presented in a unique beer can shaped glass with a special red koozie wrap. The bouquet is made up of Beef Jerky Outlet’s Original Flavor Snack Sticks topped with heart-shaped Original Recipe jerky “petals” and one in the shape of the iconic Beef Jerky Outlet Bull. The finishing touch is that it all comes packaged in a beautiful wooden “Keeper of Drinks Remembered” cap and cork catcher that lets a couple save mementoes of their special memories together.

“We are excited to offer our customers a fun, new option for a Valentine’s Day present,” says Paul Lyons, President of Beef Jerky Outlet. “Our tasty Beef Box Bouquet is a unique way to show the meat-lover in your life that you care. Not to mention, jerky is a much healthier option than many of the traditional Valentine’s Day treats.”

For the Love of Donuts
Trejo’s Coffee and Donuts, 6785 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, California, is now featuring special Valentine’s Donuts that includes: 
                  Kisses- Raised donut/ white chocolate and sprinkles  
                  Black Velvet- Chocolate Cake donut/ Cream Cheese Frosting 
                  Be Mine- Strawberry Milk Cream Filled, Strawberry Glaze and Freeze Dried  Strawberry             

Wingstop Restaurants Inc. opened the phone lines of a limited time, Valentine’s Day toll-free hotline designed to help those looking to step up their romance game (and cure their hunger pains). Whether you want to keep yourself out of the doghouse or have simply “been there, done that” with teddy bears and roses, celebrate the day of LUV with Wingstop on your lips and call 1-844-WING-LUV (or 1-844-946-4588) now.

The Wingstop WING LUV hotline offers five romantic options to take your wing fling to the next level, including:

Valentine’s night pro tips, Press 1. 

A vocal warm up routine, Press 2. 

Wing presentation advice, Press 3. 

Exclusive access to the Valentine’s mixtape, Press 4. 

Just listen to your hotline rep talk saucy to you for a while, Press 5.

When callers are overcome with craving, they simply Press 0 for information on pre-ordering their WING LUV kit. Each kit contains a heart-shaped wing box (chocolate is overrated) and all the romantic essentials necessary to make the perfect wing bouquet: skewers for wing “roses,” decorative cellophane, tissue paper, ribbon and DIY instructions. Plus, no kit would be complete without a $25Wingstop gift card and gift card holder, and four unique Valentine’s Day cards to help bring the sweet heat on February 14.

“At Wingstop, we can’t stop believing in the power of love, and nothing says ‘you’re the lemon to my pepper’ quite like combining our mouth-watering wings with the savory romantic advice from the WING LUV hotline,” said Flynn Dekker, Chief Marketing Officer of Wingstop. “Whatever your relationship status, we want you to forget about those fancy dinner reservations or pounds of chocolate and just focus on giving your Valentine the gift they truly want and need – a heart-shaped box or bouquet of wings. Drop Wingstop a line, and let us do all the work for you before the big day.”

A Year Crafted with Love

Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant is giving couples a lot to toast and celebrate this Valentine’s Day. Guests can purchase “A Year Crafted with Love” certificate books featuring a year’s worth of dates for a special price of $75. The book includes 52 vouchers for guests to enjoy a “date night” at Gordon Biersch with one starter dish and 2 glasses of wine or beer every week in 2018.

To celebrate the brewery restaurant’s 30th anniversary and love for craft beer, now through February 25, guests can also enjoy Gordon Biersch’s house-brewed beer for only $2.50—the same price they sold for when the restaurant first opened in 1988.

In addition to the Year of Love certificate book, guests can celebrate their love all of Valentine’s week with a Valentine’s Prix Fixe Menu for Two at Gordon Biersch locations. Priced at just $49.99, the menu is available Monday, February 12 – Sunday, February 18 and includes:

Choice of Two Beverages

Gordon Biersch Beer


Non-alcoholic beverage

Choice of One Brewery Starter

Coconut Shrimp – crispy fried coconut shrimp served with grilled pineapple & mango salsa & drizzled with sweet Thai chili sauce.

Cheese Curds (Taster size) – white cheddar cheese curds lightly fried & topped with candied bacon. Served with a creamy bacon dip.

Asian Chicken Bites (Taster size) – crispy chicken tossed in teriyaki sauce with chilies & green onions. Served with a lemon glaze.

Choice of Two Entrees

Lobster & Shrimp Mac n Cheese – lobster, shrimp & farfalle pasta tossed in Asiago-Parmesan-havarti sauce with tomatoes & green onions. Served with a garlic cheese crostini

Woodford Reserve Bourbon® Grill – your choice of Chicken or Salmon with Woodford Reserve Bourbon® sauce, quinoa-kale salad & choice of side.

Char Grilled USDA Choice Top Sirloin – your choice of 7oz & 10oz & two sides. Top with your choice of sauce: mushroom beer, red wine reduction or Gorgonzola garlic.

Choice of One Dessert

Warm Apple Bread Pudding – housemade, traditional bread pudding topped with pecans, vanilla ice cream & whiskey sauce

Triple Chocolate Brownie – served with vanilla ice cream & drizzled with warm fudge & caramel sauce

Apple Crostata – baked apple tart topped with vanilla ice cream, drizzled with salted caramel sauce & topped with housemade candied apple chips

Find Your Queso Bae

Moe’s Southwest Grill® announces its latest menu innovation: three mouthwateringly delicious, brand new queso flavors, available at all locations nationwide. The Southwest-inspired menu items include Chili Con Queso, Black Bean Queso and Spicy Queso. 

Each queso flavor is created in-house by adding fresh ingredients to Moe’s Famous Queso – it’s like adding diamonds to liquid gold. 

Chili Con Queso: ground beef, fresh jalapenos and pico 

Black Bean Queso: black beans, corn pico and cilantro 

Spicy Queso: pork carnitas, Hard Rock ‘N’ Roll hot sauce and fresh jalapenos

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Moe’s created a quiz for our fans to find their true match – their Queso Bae. By visiting Moe’s Facebook page, fans can spice up their love lives by answering a few short and fun questions designed to uncover their soulmate: will it be Chili Con Queso, Black Bean Queso or Spicy Queso?

“We know that Moe’s fans are extremely passionate about our famous queso and bold flavor combinations, so we’ve worked with our culinary team to create three southwestern queso flavors,” says Bruce Schroder, President, Moe’s Southwest Grill. “Whether you’re looking for a vegetarian queso, a spicy queso that brings the heat or even the original familiar liquid gold – we have you covered at any of our 700 locations.”

Heart-Shaped Bagels

Einstein Bros.® Bagels is inviting guests to delight those they love with a box of heart-shaped bagels. They are available in  flavors of Chocolate Chip, Cranberry and Plain. For last-minute purchases on Valentine’s Day, the company will offer heart-shaped bagels in the popular Chocolate Chip flavor for drop-in purchase.

“Across thousands of conversations with our guests, we repeatedly hear echoes of the joy shared by people coming together over bagels,” said Kerry Coyne, Einstein Bros.® Bagels SVP of Marketing, Product, and R&D. “Our bakers like to say all they knead is love, and this Valentine’s Day we are taking that fun approach literally – by crafting our fresh-baked and beloved bagels into hearts that convey the love with which they are made and given.  They are the perfect, unique gift for delighting those you cherish this Valentine’s Day.”

My Pocky Valentine

Sparks will be flying this Valentine’s Day, thanks to a love connection between TGI Fridays and Pocky. The casual dining chain has collaborated with candy snack company Ezaki Glico USA to introduce Red Velvet Sparkler Cake, a decadent dessert creation that recently debuted on TGI Fridays’ menu. This is the first time Ezaki Glico USA has collaborated with a major national restaurant chain since expanding to the United States in 2003. 

“We’re big fans of Fridays, and welcomed the opportunity for Pocky to be featured in this innovative, new dessert,” said Akitoshi Oku, President, Ezaki Glico USA. “Based on the social response from our fans and theirs, we’re already experiencing the synergistic benefits.”

The new dessert features red velvet cake, layered with cream cheese frosting and topped with red and white sprinkles. It’s served in a bowl of strawberry fizz candy clusters and a scoop of vanilla ice cream, and topped off with Strawberry Pocky. Served tableside with sparklers, the Red Velvet Cake adds sizzle to any occasion, including Valentine’s Day, birthdays, July 4th, graduations, and any day of the week that ends in “y.”

“Our guests that have tried this dessert absolutely love it. We have seen amazing engagement from our team members at Fridays restaurants and strong engagement in our social media circles,” said David Spirito, Senior Director of Culinary Innovation. “The Red Velvet Sparkler will undoubtedly be featured on our menu for a while.” 

The Red Velvet Sparkler Cake is available at all TGI Fridays locations nationwide. It’s based priced at $7.99 but prices may vary by location. 

A Bejeweled Menu

Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar is partnering with a jeweler to provide a one-of-a-kind Valentine’s Day experience. Guests can indulge and celebrate their love with dinner for two, a bottle of premium champagne and an exquisite pendant. 

A special four-course prix fixe Valentine’s Day menu, available through February 18, that will satisfy any palate includes: 

  • An amuse-bouche of Prosciutto wrapped scallops 
  • Roasted beet and goat cheese salad 
  • Choice of filet mignon or barbecue salmon, paired with succulent colossal king crab legs or shrimp 
  • Chocolate covered madeleine cookies and strawberries

For guests looking to elevate their evening and spoil their Valentine’s with an extravagant surprise, Fleming’s is offering a $500 package that includes the prix fixe dinner for two, a bottle of Veuve Clicquot served tableside, and a memorable gift to take home — a stunning pendant from a luxury Fifth Avenue jeweler. 

“We’re offering an unforgettable Valentine’s Day celebration with an exceptional, all-inclusive evening that guests won’t soon forget,” said Beth Scott, President of Fleming’s. 

The four-course Valentine’s Day menu is available at Fleming’s 69 locations  starting at $75.00 per person (prices vary by locations)

Dutch Luv

On Feb. 14, all Dutch Bros locations will celebrate Valentine’s Day with their annual Dutch Luv campaign, which involves nearly 300 locations across seven states donating $1 from every drink sold that day to a local food bank. 

On average, a $1 donation allows the food banks to purchase seven pounds of healthy and nutritious food that highly benefits local families and individuals. 

“Every year we continue to be amazed by the support and outpouring of love that our communities provide to those in need,” said Travis Boersma, Co-Founder of Dutch Bros Coffee. “We are proud to partner with these local organizations that are so committed to ending hunger.”

In 2017 alone, Dutch Bros raised $251,671 for their Dutch Luv campaign. This allowed local organizations to purchase up to 1,761,697 pounds of food, or 1.4 million meals for hungry members of their communities. 

$2.14 Deal

Maui Wowi® Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies is bringing back its Valentine’s Day deal, offering its fruit smoothies for only $2.14 that day, available at participating retail locations. 

With the brand’s average small smoothie price coming in at $3.99, treating yourself to a small smoothie will be nearly half off. All Maui Wowi smoothies are naturally gluten-free and packed with deliciously healthy ingredients like bananas and live-cultured, probiotic yogurt. Customers can order traditional smoothies like Strawberry, Mango Orange or Piña Colada or choose from a list of other specialty blends like the Hawaiian Dreamsicle, Tropical Sunset, and Wistful Waikiki, which combine two classic flavors for a refreshing new taste. 

“Whether you’re celebrating with your significant other, your friends or yourself, Maui Wowi wants to make Valentine’s Day as sweet as possible for everyone,” said Mike Weinberger, brand president of Maui Wowi.  “Our $2.14 smoothie special has become a beloved tradition for singles and couples alike. Regardless of whether you’re sharing a straw with a Valentine or not, a Maui Wowi smoothie is the perfect better-for-you option.”

Galentine’s Day Festivities

Originally known only to fans of the TV show “Parks and Recreation,” Galentine’s  Day, the day before Valentine’s Day where ladies celebrate ladies, has become an annual cultural event. Since it falls this year on a Tuesday, Taco Tuesday, a number of restaurants are hosting promotions.

El Torito decided to celebrate it as only they can. $2.99 Tacos. Choose from Steak, Chicken, Carnitas and Fish Tacos made with handmade guajillo chile tortillas. Select from a variety of salsas, nopalitos salad, cabbage/lettuce mix and cheese.  Also available are complimentary Frijoles de la olla, potatoes and El Torito’s signature Sweet Corn Cake. This will be served from 3p.m. to close in the Cantina at all locations.

All nine  locations of Acapulco Restaurant and Cantina will offer $3 Tacos from 3 p.m. to close. Choose from Al Pastor, Shrimp, Chicken and Carne Asada made with handmade tortillas. Select from a variety of salsas, cabbage/lettuce mix and cheeses. Also enjoy a Beer and a shot for just $4.

Pink Taco is celebrating from 4 p.m. to close at 8225 Sunset Blvd., West Hollywood, California.