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Melting Pot has turned Valentine's Day into a month of love-based promotions.

How Melting Pot won Valentine’s Day

The casual-dining restaurant has turned the entire month of February into a celebration

Melting Pot, a casual-dining restaurant that focuses on fondue, considers Valentine’s Day its Super Bowl. The chain sees high sales and reservation numbers year after year. And 2024 was no exception.

“We pretty much own this idea of romance, and therefore Valentine’s Day is super important for us,” said Ana Malmqvist, chief marketing officer of Melting Pot.

Despite lapping an impressive 2023, the Tampa, Fla.-based chain saw sales increase year-over-year on the day of love. Not only did the chain improve its 2023 sales, but almost every restaurant sold out reservations, with some locations opening earlier or staying open later to accommodate even more guests.

With this year’s Valentine’s Day falling on a Wednesday, the chain had to decide when guests would want to celebrate. Malmqvist said that guests celebrated over both weekends, as well as the actual day, bringing in revenue that Melting Pot didn’t see coming.

“So, our weekends were huge,” she said. “Huge over 2023.”

This is normal for Melting Pot, a brand that centers itself on the idea of an intimate experience. What’s not normal is the brand’s new strategy to expand the day of love throughout the entire month and even year.

“We're trying to carry that momentum on through the year,” she said.

Year-round, Melting Pot has a section of the restaurant called Lovers Lane where the booths are a bit more intimate than the others. This allows for customers to have unique experiences with the brand, both in the month of February and throughout the rest of the year.

“[Customers] might have come to us for dates as they were getting to know their boyfriend or girlfriend and falling in love,” she said. “People have come to us and gotten engaged because it does offer that privacy and that unique and very romantic experience to have an engagement.”

Not only has Melting Pot had many engagements, but it’s also hosted weddings. The chain’s promotion this year for Leap Day delves even deeper into that idea.

“Yes, [February] is Valentine’s Day, but it's so much more than Valentine’s Day, and it can be so much more,” Malmqvist said. “That’s what we always say there are many ways to celebrate love.”

Couples all over the country were given the chance to submit their love stories to Melting Pot. Four winners will be chosen to win a five-course meal at Melting Pot that ends with the person who submitted their story proposing to their significant other.

The winners will get a monthly date night at Melting Pot for free for the entire year to “plan their wedding.”

“The combination of the intimacy of the food experience and the physical space, I think have definitely made us very much a destination for romance in any way, shape, or form,” said Malmqvist.

When Melting Pot asked its guests what would bring them into the chain more often, Malmqvist said that guests wanted more date night opportunities.

So Melting Pot decided to introduce a weekly “Thursdate” in 2020 during the pandemic, during which guests were served a four-course dinner with rose petals strewn about on the table along with candles.

“I think we actually came out of COVID stronger than other brands or competitors in our space,” she said.

She believes that’s because the concept was already designed to be intimate, which meant that booths were enclosed and spaced out in a way that made it COVID-safe.

TAGS: Marketing
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