Restaurants Love Valentine’s Day

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WASHINGTON—The nation’s restaurants will be feeling the Valentine’s Day love this year, as more than 70 million Americans will celebrate the love holiday by dining out, according to results of a new survey by the National Restaurant Association.

When choosing a restaurant for Valentine’s Day, consumers’ top three deciding factors are the familiarity of a favorite eatery, a romantic setting and special menu offerings. Younger adults are more likely to enjoy a special Valentine’s Day meal at a restaurant than older adults; 33 percent of 18- to 34-year olds, and 39 percent of 35- to 44-year olds plan to dine out for a Valentine’s Day meal, compared with 27 percent of those 55 and older.

When it comes to factors involved in choosing where to dine out for Valentine’s Day, 42 percent of consumers pick their favorite restaurant or their companion’s favorite restaurant for their special meal; 21 percent select a restaurant with a romantic atmosphere; 12 percent choose restaurants that offer special menus or promotions; 12 percent let their companions pick the venue; and 11 percent choose a restaurant where they haven’t dined.

Thirty-nine percent of 18- to 34-year olds said a romantic atmosphere is important versus only 8 percent of those 65 and older.

The association also surveyed member restaurants on what type of promotions they would offer around Valentine’s Day. The most common responses included special menu items (63 percent), prix fixe menu (45 percent), celebratory beverages or desserts (34 percent), flower/candy (28 percent), and entertainment/music (13 percent). Interestingly, 63 percent considered Valentine’s Day falling on a Monday—a typically slower day of the week—an advantage.

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