Making dough with Diane: 8 Valentine’s Day promos to spread some love

Diane Chiasson
January 06, 2011
Valentine’s Day is one of the busiest days of the year for food service. Not all pizzerias are at the top of the list when it comes to romantic meals, but there are still several ways for all savvy operators to take advantage of this busy day. Since Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday this year, the idea of ordering pizza may be more appealing than heading out for a fancy meal at the start of the school or work week.

Spread the love and reap the business on Valentine’s Day by promoting your own heart-shaped pizza.  
Here are eight great ways you can increase your sales and bring in more customers this Valentine’s Day.
Heart-shaped pizza
Start your Valentine’s Day promotions by offering a heart-shaped pizza. For an added touch, you can also cut all your pepperoni slices into heart shapes. Create a romantic pizza using ingredients such as artichoke hearts, cherry tomatoes, Asiago cheese and asparagus.

Send pizza, not flowers
Most women would like their husbands or boyfriends to send flowers and chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But what can women send back in return? Men might appreciate a surprise lunch delivery in the form of a heart-shaped pizza. Advertise a special delivery promotion on Valentine’s Day and target your female customers. Allow them to include a personal message that will be printed onto a special Valentine’s Day card included in the delivery. Finally, make sure you include a few coupons for your pizzeria in the card!

Make it charitable
For each of the heart-shaped pizzas you sell, donate a dollar or two to the Heart & Stroke Foundation, or another charity of your choice. This is a great way to pay the Valentine’s Day love forward.

Package wine, chocolates and flowers
If you operate a dine-in restaurant, offer a prix-fixe dinner special that includes a bottle of wine, chocolates and flowers. Help save time and money for husbands and boyfriends by including the gifts in the meal! Dim the lights in your restaurant, put some candles on the tables, and hire a singer or a band to play some live romantic music while your customers dine. Make it a fun night!
Include the kids

Run a contest and invite kids to design a Valentine’s Day card. Children dining in the restaurant can create the card during their visit and submit their entry in person. If the pizza is delivered, provide a self-addressed, postage paid envelope so they can mail in their design. Offer the winner(s) a free pizza party, or gift certificates for free meals.

Pizza and a movie
Many people dislike dealing with crowded restaurants and heading out in the cold weather, especially on a Monday night. Instead, couples may prefer to stay in and snuggle up on the couch with pizza and a movie. Hold a special delivery promotion that includes a copy of a classic romantic flick. Allow customers to choose from a list of titles when ordering their pizza.

Advertise your promotions
As with any other promotion you run, you must tell your customers about it! Beginning a month before the big day, display the appropriate POS materials and signage in your pizzeria. Hang posters on your walls and windows, leave brochures and flyers on your countertops, send direct mail and update your website. Make sure you include a flyer or brochure with every pizza you deliver leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Promote to students
Most students are on a budget, so they are a perfect group to target for celebrating Valentine’s Day with a pizza. Offer a student special for your heart-shaped pizza, or liaise with your local college or university and create a promotion that lets students in the dormitories send Pizza-grams to each other. The Pizza-gram could be a mini heart-shaped pizza delivered with a special greeting or other prepared message.

With a little creativity, you can help share the love this Valentine’s Day and show your bottom line a little lovin’ too!

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for more than 25 years. She provides innovative food and retail merchandising programs, interior design, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit

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