Restaurant marketing promotions for Valentine’s Day have become fairly predictable, from the classic heart-shaped pizzas and biscuits, to special romantic date night deals from sometimes unexpected places, like White Castle’s returning upscale feast on Feb. 14th. But this year, multiple foodservice brands are capitalizing on the darker underbelly of the sweethearts’ holiday: heartbreak.
Pizza Hut announced on Feb. 6th a new Valentine’s Day offering called “Goodbye Pies” where customers can enter to win a chance to send a breakup pizza to their significant other. Pizza Hut is taking this opportunity to promote the brand’s new hot honey pizzas, so that the unlucky recipient of the “sweet but spicy” news will receive a free hot honey pizza as a consolation prize.
This is technically more of a contest than a promotion, but Pizza Hut fans can enter to win via select locations in New York City, Chicago, and Miami through GoodbyePies.com. For those unlucky in love and in Pizza Hut promotion locations, entrants in other cities can use the website to enter to win a Pizza Hut-themed breakup text and a gift card for your soon-to-be ex significant other to redeem a free hot honey pizza.
P.F. Chang’s meanwhile, announced a deal for ex-lovers on the other side of the breakup. Starting Feb. 7, the Asian-American restaurant chain is offering free DUMPlings for anyone that has been broken up with via text, through Feb. 21 (which is apparently National Breakup Day). All you have to do is text CHANGSDUMPLINGS to 855-697-6181, along with a recount of their breakup story or screenshots of proof to receive instructions for cashing in their six-pack of shrimp or pork dumplings either in restaurant or for first-party delivery, with a minimum $1 purchase required to redeem the deal.
Insomnia Cookies is offering this Valentine’s Day season a breakup box of cookies called the “It’s not you, it’s me” pack. This customizable 12-pack of cookies allows the heartbreaker to pick from one of four messages to send to their soon-to-be ex-sweetheart, ranging from “It’s not me, it’s you” to “I have the hots for your roommate,” and the creatively cookie-themed “you’re sweet but not my flavor.” Customers can choose to stuff the box with classic Insomnia Cookies or go with the Valentine’s Day-themed ‘Red Velvet Cookies n’ Cream Brookie’ for an upcharge.
So, why the onslaught of heartbreak-themed marketing promotions this Valentine’s Day? Likely, all three brands wanted to stand out from the crowd of red-and-pink-themed items and appeal to the more cynical anti-Valentine’s Day crowd. Plus, the promotions are creative, memorable, and two out of the three involve free food, which is more likely to turn heads than a heart-shaped LTO that you have to pay for.
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