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Restaurant Dining Trends on Valentine's Day [Infographic]

Posted by Allie Tetreault on 2/7/19 5:00 PM in Industry News & Trends

3 minute read Print

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Valentine's Day is just around the corner. Is your restaurant ready for the influx of diners? 

According to the National Retail Federation, Americans plan to spend an average of $27.72 per person on an "evening out" this year, second only to planned spending on expensive jewelry. In 2018, 32% of Americans planned to spend their money on a restaurant visit according to Statista

Your restaurant may be offering prix fixe menus, discounts, and other restaurant specials for Valentine's Day, filling every table with lovey-dovey couples — or parties celebrating Anti-Valentine's Day. 

Whatever your plan, Toast and OpenTable are here to help. We're digging in to exclusive data on restaurant sales, online ordering, reservations, and more this Valentine's Day so you can know what to expect — and how to staff up. Check it out in the moving infographic below! 

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Known for gifts, chocolate, and fancy restaurant dates, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. Let’s take a look at U.S. restaurant sales and reservations trends on February 14, 2018 compared to the year before to help you prepare for the big day.

Staff Up for an Increase in Restaurant Sales

On Valentine’s Day, online and in-store restaurant sales increased and service remained excellent with high tips, so make sure you’re staffed up and ready to go.  

Overall sales increased 32% compared to other Wednesdays in February. 

Online ordering sales increased 7% compared to other Wednesdays in February. 

The average tip on Valentine's Day is 20%. 

In a Larger Metro? Prepare for More Visitors

Larger metros see a lot of Valentine’s Day visitors! New York City, Chicago, and Boston were the cities with the highest growth in sales. Massachusetts, California, and New York were the states with the highest sales overall.

  • New York City: 22% increase

  • Chicago: 28% increase

  • Boston: 36% increase

When it comes to making reservations, couples in New York City, Baltimore, California, and Missouri saw the highest increases in seated reservations:

  • Of all US Cities, New York City had the highest absolute increase in seated reservations.

  • Of the top 25 US Cities (by Valentine's Day Reservations), Baltimore had the highest percentage increase .

  • Of all US States, California had the highest absolute increase in seated reservations.

  • Of the top 25 US States (by Valentine's Day Reservations), Missouri had the highest percentage increase.

Make the Date Special

Many Valentine’s Day diners seek an elevated experience. Of all restaurant types, fine dining restaurants saw the largest increase in restaurant sales.

On Valentine’s Day, we saw 105% of the average fine dining sales.

Optimize for All Types of Reservations

Overall, reservations significantly increase on love day. Make sure your restaurant availability is optimized to bring in both planners and last-minute bookers.

Restaurant reservations increased 433% compared to the average number of reservations made for the same day in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

Many couples make reservations the week of Valentine’s Day. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 52% of Valentine’s day reservations are made between February 7-14

  • 19% of Valentine’s day reservations are made between January 30 and February 6

  • 11% of Valentine’s day reservations are made between January 22 and January 29

  • 18% of reservations are made January 21 or earlier

Give All Parties the Best Experience

Valentine’s Day celebrations come in all shapes and sizes! Of course, parties of two increase on Valentine’s Day, but so do parties of four, three, six, and five, compared to the average party size in the weeks surrounding Valentine’s Day.

  • Table for 2: 764% increase

  • Table for 4: 123% increase

  • Table for 3: 79% increase

  • Table for 6: 46% increase

  • Table for 5: 35% increase

How Are You Preparing Your Restaurant for Valentine’s Day?

How will you staff your restaurant — and prepare your menu — for Valentine’s Day this year? Whether you’re offering a prix fixe menu or delighting couples with free champagne at the end of the night, it’s never too late to start thinking about your Valentine’s Day restaurant strategy. 

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toast restaurant management blog

Written by: Allie Tetreault

Allie Tetreault is the Content Strategist for Toast. When she's not managing the Toast Restaurant Management blog and creating valuable resources for restaurateurs, she's belting in an a cappella group and toiling over new recipes in the kitchen. Her favorite foods are sushi and pasta -- but not together!


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