Consumer Trends

Couples tend to splurge on Valentine's Day, spreading love to high-end restaurants

Check averages go up on and around Feb. 14, but while guests may open their wallets for a pricey dinner, tips take a dip.
couple dining out
Tasting menu orders and wine sales surge when couples dine out for Valentine's Day. | Photo: Shutterstock

Couples are generous about opening their wallets for pricey tasting menus and dinners on Valentine’s Day. But that generosity doesn’t extend to tipping.

According to recent data from POS platform Lightspeed, there’s a remarkable surge of interest in more costly tasting menus on and around Feb. 14—a 483% increase in order demand and 525% growth in dollars spent.

That’s good news for high-end restaurants that offer tasting menus and luxe food and drink items, but less good news for the staff that serves them.

Tips take a dip, Lightspeed reports, decreasing 1.5% overall. That’s despite the fact that guests’ willingness to splurge on big-ticket dinners results in an average 14% increase in checks.

Nevertheless, restaurants that create memorable, romantic dining experiences can win with couples this year. The National Retail Federation’s 2024 Spending Survey reports that 32% of consumers plan to celebrate the occasion with an evening out.

Tasting menus are not the only way to attract those guests, Lightspeed found:

• Extravagant and decadent ingredients are in. Orders for steak go up 136%, truffles surge 118%, caviar orders increase 100% and chocolate melts more hearts by 118%.

Wine sales increase overall by 86%, with the biggest increase seen in sparkling wine (163%), followed by red wine (68%) and then white (58%).

• Not all couples feel like celebrating with a night out. Restaurants also profit from homebodies on Valentine’s Day, when takeout meals spike 72% and fancier menu items such as charcuterie, pasta and seafoodare all in demand.

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