Consumer Trends

Inflation won't dampen diners' Valentine's Day plans

A majority of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount or more this year vs. last year, according to a survey by Popmenu.
Romantic dinner
Half of Americans celebrating Valentine's Day will do so at a restaurant. / Photograph: Shutterstock

Inflation is apparently no match for love.

Despite rising menu prices, a majority of consumers say they plan to spend the same amount or more on Valentine’s Day 2023 compared to last year.

That’s according to new data from tech provider Popmenu, which surveyed 1,000 people about their plans. 

Men in particular are prepared to up the ante on gifts and meals today: 27% said they’re going to spend more this year than last year, compared to 15% of women who said so. 

Forty-three percent of men and 47% of women, meanwhile, are budgeting the same amount as they did last year. But 25% of men and 30% of women expect to spend less. 

It comes as restaurant menu prices sit about 8% higher than a year ago, including 8.1% at full-service places and 6.7% at limited-service operations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. A year ago, food-away-from-home prices were up 6.4% vs. the prior year.

And while there has been some change in consumer spending habits, many of the largest restaurant chains have yet to see a significant impact on sales.

Indeed, many Americans appear primed to spend freely this Valentine’s Day, especially at restaurants. About half of those planning to celebrate the holiday will go out to eat, while another 25% will order takeout or delivery, according to Popmenu.

Not surprisingly, fine-dining and casual-dining places are poised to reap most of the benefits of that spending, although 10% of women prefer to go to a fast casual like Chipotle or Panera. That’s compared to 5% of men who said the same.

Men and women also differ on how much to budget for dinner for two. Half of men said $50-$100 is the right amount to spend compared to 58% of women. And 37% of men are prepared to drop $100 or more compared to 19% of women.

Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for restaurants. A number of concepts are courting couples today with special Valentine’s Day deals

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


The case for the (mostly) digital restaurant

Tech Check: Digitizing 100% of orders has become a North Star for some brands. But 90% might be the wiser goal.


Older brands try new tricks in their quest to stay relevant

Reality Check: A number of mature restaurant chains are out to prove that age is just a number.


At Papa Johns, delivery shifts from its own apps to aggregators

The Bottom Line: The pizza delivery chain’s business with companies like Uber Eats and DoorDash is thriving while its own delivery is slowing. But this isn’t the beginning of the end of self-delivery, CEO Rob Lynch says.


More from our partners