Restaurants, Retailers Promote Seafood to Boost Valentine’s Day Sales


Mercedes Grandin, SeafoodSource contributing editor

Published on
February 5, 2009

Valentine’s Day is the third-most popular dining-out occasion, with 28 percent of consumers flocking to restaurants on 14 February, according to the National Restaurant Association. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, U.S. restaurant operators and retailers are gearing up with special seafood offers to attract customers and increase sales during challenging economic times.

Consumers plan to spend a per-person average of USD 102.50 (EUR 80) on Valentine’s gifts, down about USD 20 from last year, according to The National Retail Federation’s 2009 Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. Meanwhile, the National Restaurant Association’s comprehensive index of restaurant activity fell to another record low in December.

The Lobster Guy in Narragansett, R.I., is one such retailer with several special Valentine’s Day offers.

“Our biggest seller for Valentine’s Day is our ‘Romantic Dinner’ special, which includes two live Maine lobsters, shrimp, soups, chocolate, candle and candle holder for $159.99 [including shipping],” said owner Tim Handrigan. Another popular choice is the “February Special,” consisting of two 3-pound lobsters for $109.

The Lobster Guy has received between 30 and 40 Valentine’s Day orders thus far and expects to get more than 100 this year.

“We’ve started a more aggressive ad campaign recently. I don’t have the numbers in front of me, but we probably did about 50 orders last Valentine’s Day,” Handrigan said. The Lobster Guy shipped about 250 orders for Thanksgiving, 600 for Christmas and 300 for New Year’s.

Dirk’s Fish and Gourmet Shop in Chicago is promoting National Heart Month in February by offering heart-healthy seafood specials for Valentine’s Day and throughout February.

“Seafood can play a big part of a healthy diet. It’s a good lean protein, low in fat and low in cholesterol,” Dirk’s stated in its e-newsletter this week. Dirk’s is also hosting a class titled “The Art of Making Sushi” on 10 February, which the e-newsletter pointed out would make a great Valentine’s gift.

“I’m going to do long heart-shaped pieces of salmon and tuna nigiri and soy sheets in pink so we’ll have pink rolls, and I’m going to put some dye in the rice to make it pink,” said owner Dirk Fucik. “I also like to do custom heart-shaped salmon fillets and heart-shaped salmon cakes. You got to have fun with it.”

Legal Sea Foods is advertising a special mail-order Valentine’s Day dinner for two on its Web site, featuring two lobsters, a quart of New England clam chowder and two individual chocolate cakes with pink frosting for $89.


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