Musgrave MarketPlace has revealed that while a romantic dinner on Valentine's Day is on every couple's priority list, over half (58%) will instead celebrate either on the 13th February or the 15th February to avoid busy restaurants.
The survey was carried out by the leading wholesaler among 116 consumers and 173 restaurant and bar owners ahead of Valentine’s Day. While over half of diners will avoid going out on the day itself, 71% plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day and 46% say they plan to go out for a romantic dinner for two.
Just under half (46%) of those surveyed plan to spend €100-€150 on a Valentine’s meal. When it comes to making a restaurant reservation, around 20% of people will book a table two weeks in advance - however, over a third (38%) are much more last minute, only booking a table one week before.
Over a third (34%) of restaurants and bars surveyed say that a lot of their business is group bookings on 14th February.
Perhaps not known as a traditional aphrodisiac, lamb is the dish 29% of people polled would most like to see on a Valentine’s Day menu, while steak is the plat du jour for a fifth. Only 8% say they want to see oysters on the menu - despite their label as the food of love.
The Musgrave MarketPlace research finds that when it comes to dessert, chocolate cake is the pudding we would most like to share with a partner (29%) while 20% would like to split a cheesecake. It seems romance in general is more sweet than savoury, with only 4% saying they would like to share a cheeseboard with their other half when dining out.
Given Valentine’s Day is such a big dining occasion, 58% of restaurants and bars polled plan to create a special menu for the day and 27% of Musgrave MarketPlace customers say it’s one of their busiest days of the year.
Reflecting what consumers want on the menu, 59% say they will be stocking up on chocolate desserts for the day followed by steak (48%) and champagne (43%). Although restaurants and bars plan to stock up on champagne, it seems that diners want a slightly cheaper alternative. Only 4% of people polled say they will order champagne. A third say they will drink Prosecco, 20% will order gin & tonics and 17% plan to drink wine.
Commenting on the findings, Desi Derby, Marketing Director, Musgrave MarketPlace, said: “As restaurants and bars prepare for Valentine’s Day, we have seen an increase in sales for a number of items including an 8% year-on-year increase in chocolate dessert sales.
“While Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest dining occasions of the year it’s interesting to see that people are also opting to celebrate the day before or after. This should be good news for restaurants and bars as it allows them to extend the occasion out further and drive more footfall to their premises. And of course it’s great to see that 46% of people plan to eat out, providing our customers with their first seasonal boast after the Christmas period.”