Valentine’s Day fails to shine but good service wins through

The romance of Valentine’s failed to shine this year as over a quarter (26.5%) of people revealed they were not out to celebrate the big day.

Feed It Back asked over 36,000 consumers from its client base for their views between 10th to 15th February to discover how customers were behaving in relation to celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.

Of those that responded to particular questions on eating out the results revealed that the majority of consumers were not engaged with the idea of going out for a set meal to celebrate the romantic day and were more interested in eating off the main menu.

It would seem that the day of operators offering high GP margin set menus at a premium price point has stalled in the current climate. Of those surveyed 45% preferred to order off the main menu and an additional 45% wanted to order off the main menu with Valentine’s specials. Only the remaining minority were interested specifically in the set menu option.  However, interest in a set menu was higher among the detractors, who are customers that have had a negative experience previously, at 15%.

The good news is that high service levels reaped the rewards for operators as almost a fifth of those surveyed (19.3%) said they had chosen the venue because they had enjoyed a previous visit while 10% admitted it was down to it being recommended by friends or family. 

Décor was a key theme in the comments from guests when asked if their Valentine’s experience could have been more special.

One customer commented: “The restaurant decor didn’t feel very Valentine’s, even Valentine’s special menu didn’t stand out on the table. Wouldn’t expect anything gaudy to put up but there were no flowers or anything that separated it from how the restaurant normally looked.”

Promoters, who are typically loyal and enthusiastic customers, revealed they would have been impressed with more Valentine décor but many felt that the strong service levels made it the perfect experience.

One of these customers said: “It was really nice, maybe a few more Valentine’s decors in the restaurant area.”

It is not clear what has driven less enthusiasm for celebrating Valentines but the continuing situation with Covid, the rising cost of living and uncertainty over the future could be contributory factors.

Our key takeaways:

  • Over a quarter of guests eating out were not out for Valentine’s in the week 10th to 15th February.
  • Almost a fifth of those surveyed (19.3%) said they had chosen the venue for Valentine’s because they had enjoyed a previous visit.
  • 10% admitted they chose a venue to eat out for Valentine’s because it was recommended by friends or family.
  • 7% chose a venue based on location while 7% said they chose a particular venue because they were looking for something different.
  • 8% chose a venue for the menu selection while an additional 8% revealed they were attracted to the Valentines menu or specials.
  • Only 0.2% were prompted to visit a venue for a meal because they had been targeted by an emailer, 0.5% because they had seen local marketing and only 1.4% because of the Valentine’s package price.