Brands are adapting for a socially distant Valentine’s Day at home with delivery promotions and partnerships

  • Food brands are emphasising delivery options on Valentine’s Day specials this year.
  • Delivery has seen huge growth for groceries, takeout, and even flowers.
  • Brands like Krispy Kreme are encouraging customers to send treats to loved ones.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Valentine’s Day stereotypically evokes the idea of dinner reservations or a special date, but thanks to COVID-19 most plans are different this year. Brands are embracing a Valentine’s Day celebration at home with a push for delivery on kitschy deals.

Ice cream chain Baskin-Robbins is promoting two Valentine’s Day specials: an ice cream cake shaped like a box of chocolates, and February flavour of the month Love Potion #31. Though both can be ordered and picked up in person, Baskin-Robbins emphasises options for curbside pickup and delivery through Uber Eats and DoorDash, somewhat unusually for an ice cream brand.

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Krispy Kreme is working on the same general idea, with “dough-notes” that customers can order for delivery to a loved one. Heart-shaped doughnuts come in four flavours with pink and red decorations. While they’re available in stores, the doughnut chain’s marketing emphasises sending them as a gift, because they are the “perfect way to share all your love.” Krispy Kreme partnered with DoorDash to streamline no contact deliveries right from its own website.


Krispy Kreme allows customers to contact drivers and add a tip without ever leaving the doughnut chain’s website. Some users could even complete the order without realising they were going through a third party service.

Dunkin’ is also using Valentine’s day to sell doughnuts, along with coffee and other breakfast foods. As usual, February means pink velvet macchiatos and Cupid’s choice doughnuts, but this year delivery is also key. Dunkin’ is partnered with GrubHub, DoorDash, and Uber Eats, casting a wide net of potential delivery zones.

The pandemic has been hard on restaurants and small businesses, but delivery has acted as a sort of lifeline keeping some afloat. This partially explains why delivery staples like pizza and wings were huge winners of the past year, as they were already set up to accommodate delivery. Casual sit-down restaurants including Chilli’s and Applebees even launched ghost kitchen wing restaurants on delivery apps to make up for declining in-person customers.

Flower delivery services also did well early after COVID-19 started spreading in the US. 1-800-Flowers reported a stunning 60% increase in 2020, and industry experts cited a need for social connection and celebration, Insider’s Madeline Stone reported.

Grocery delivery’s acceleration throughout 2020 showed that people were able to accommodate COVID-19 habits into their normal lives. Experts believe that the pandemic moved online ordering forward several years as it became an increasingly convenient and safe option. “It’s going to accelerate a trend that was already ongoing. We have seen online and digital impact every category at a different point in time and grocery had not reached its maturity,” Jack O’Leary, a senior analyst at Edge by Ascential, told Insider in March.

Now some retailers are pushing delivery deals and online ordering to stay relevant through consumer holidays.


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