Valentine’s Day has become an opportunity for fast food joints to tap into consumers’ love for each other – and the brands themselves.
It’s hard to one-up Vegas, but Taco Bell may have done just that. After opening its Las Vegas Cantina flagship restaurant in November – complete with 24-hour-a-day service, an eight-flavor freeze wall with alcohol add-ons and a dedicated space for DJs – the brand announced it is adding weddings to the menu at this particular location.
That’s right: Beginning this summer, lovebirds will be able to order Taco Bell’s Wedding Package, which includes a Taco Bell garter, bow tie, sauce packet wedding bouquet, “Just Married” t-shirts, Taco Bell champagne flutes and a Cinnabon Delights Wedding Cake. And because it’s a Taco Bell Wedding, the brand said couples will also get a Taco 12 Pack for their first meal as newlyweds.
The package rings in at $600 and includes a full ceremony and officiant in the restaurant’s wedding chapel. Wedding coordination and officiant services will be provided through a partnership with Flora Pop, which Taco Bell said specializes in “unique pop-up weddings and elopements.”
In a press release, Taco Bell said cookie-cutter weddings are a thing of the past for Millennials, who are putting new, personal spins on traditions. For couples who love Taco Bell, and each other, tying the knot at Taco Bell is a unique way to spend their big day, the brand added.
“I love that we are taking Taco Bell all the way to wedding bells,” said CMO Marisa Thalberg in a statement. “From sauce packet proposals to couples catering their wedding parties and after parties with Taco Bell, we have known for years that some of our most creative fans have been incorporating Taco Bell into this momentous occasion. Now…couples can come right in and order a wedding off of our menu. In a town known for pulling out all of the stops, we think this will be the most craveable matrimonial experience to ever hit Vegas."
And before weddings open to the public, Taco Bell is inviting couples to enter Taco Bell’s Love and Wedding Contest to win an all-expense paid trip to be the first couple to get married at the Taco Bell chapel.
Taco Bell’s Love and Wedding Contest opens February 14 and closes February 26. Couples can enter to win by sharing a photo or 30-second video of themselves and sharing their Taco Bell love story on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #LoveAndTacosContest. Voting will begin thereafter for America’s favorite couple and the winners will be announced March 16.
And in what the brand called “a uniquely Taco Bell twist,” fans that vote for their favorite couple will be entered to win the chance to be a guest at the winning couple’s wedding.
Domino’s Wedding Registry
But, believe it or not, this isn’t the first wedding-themed QSR news this month. Taco Bell follows the footsteps of pizza chain Domino’s, which recently announced its own wedding registry, which allows couples to register for pizza for a variety of wedding-related activities.
According to the brand, couples can choose gifts to enjoy before, during and after, including pizza for pre-wedding festivities like bachelorette parties with Domino’s Cater the Bachelorette Party package. Domino’s said registrants also have the option to treat guests to pizza at the end of the reception by adding Dancing with My Slice to their registries. And, after the newlyweds settle into their life together, Domino’s said they can enjoy a Low-Key Date Night or take advantage of An Excuse Not to Cook. All gifts will be delivered as eGift cards.
Once registrants select their gifts, they can share their wish lists with family and friends on social media or with a unique URL and guests can search for a given registry by using the names and wedding date of the soon-to-be newlyweds – just like real registries.
"We wanted to give recently engaged couples that are passionate about pizza the chance to register for something they both truly love as much as their partner," a Domino's spokesperson said in a statement. "Choosing wedding gifts can be a daunting process, especially if couples can't agree on what to register for. Our registry aims to bring couples together over their shared love of pizza."
To celebrate the launch of Domino's Wedding Registry, wedding-inspired pins have been added to the official Domino's Pinterest page, the brand added.
Burger King Adults Meal
And Burger King Israel announced a special meal for adults available after 6 PM on Valentine’s Day.
“Kids have got their Kids Meal. But what about grown-ups? Adults? Shouldn't they have their own meal too? At least on Valentines?” agency Leo Burnett asked in a release.
The Adult Meal includes two Whoppers, two fries, two beers and “a romantic adult toy.”
A White Castle tradition
But it’s hamburger chain White Castle that arguably inspired the love trend. That’s because the brand has used Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to class up the joint for 26 years and counting – and, no, that’s not a typo.
White Castle’s Valentine’s Day celebration includes reservations, hostess seating, tableside service and “fun cuisine of Sliders, Veggie Sliders, Chicken Rings, Gooey Butter Cake on a stick and other noteworthy menu items,” the brand said in a release.
"Valentine's Day is a longstanding tradition for us. Many couples have fond memories of first dates here, some even met for the first time at a White Castle – and then there's the few who shared their wedding vows among friends and family in our dining room," said Jamie Richardson, vice president of White Castle, in a statement. "This is a wonderful event for many of our guests who have shared memorable moments and family traditions at our restaurants over the years."
Scattered, smothered and covered
In a similar vein, Waffle House, which calls itself the world's leading server of waffles, T-bone steaks, hashbrowns, cheese 'n eggs, country ham, pork chops, grits and love, is offering candlelight, soft music, white tablecloths and what it calls a “chic atmosphere” at over 160 locations in 16 states for the tenth Valentine’s Day in a row.
"The Waffle House Nation is based on love, so it's no big surprise that reservations are coveted," said Pat Warner, Waffle House’s vice president of culture, in a statement. "Let's face it, what better way is there to say 'I love you' than holding hands across a candlelit table while sharing scattered, smothered and covered hashbrowns?"
According to the brand, the tradition began in 2008 at a restaurant in John's Creek, Georgia, which resulted in an influx of customers on Valentine's Day.
Like White Castle, Waffle House encourages reservations “so you don't miss out on this magical event.”
The brand also encourages consumers to share photos with the hashtag #WaffleHouseLoveStory.
Surf & Turf Valentine’s Dinner for Two
And then there’s Krystal, which calls itself the oldest quick service restaurant chain in the South and is offering a one-day Surf and Turf deal on Valentine’s Day.
For $9.99, the brand said couples can share eight classic Krystals, a dozen golden-fried shrimp, a Chili-Cheese or Junkyard fry and either two cherry Icee beverages or two chocolate chip cookies.
"On Valentine's Day, we celebrate perfect pairings – and there's no better pairing than classic Krystals and delicious fried shrimp," said Heather Schlesinger, director of calendar, programs and promotions for Krystal, in a release. "Whether you've been married fifty years or known each other fifty minutes, we want to be part of your holiday.”
And then there's KFC in Canada, which had a limited-time contest offering to send fans heart-shaped buckets of chicken with KFC-inspired poetry.
“This Valentine’s Day, be as romantic as the Colonel. Send a KFC ChickenGram to show your love’s eternal,” the brand said on YouTube.
The effort it not unlike the Doritos rose bouquet, which, funny enough, was also only available in Canada. Thankfully, a DIY guide remains for enterprising romantics.