Feb 14, 2020 - Economy & Business

Valentine's Day doesn't pay as much as you might think

Photo: Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Friday night's expensive — and hopefully romantic — prix fixe dinner for two isn't as lucrative for the restaurant industry as you might think.

Why it matters: Valentine's Day "ranked 94th in the year for consumer spending at local places nationwide" in 2019, Bloomberg reports, lower than Cinco de Mayo and a bunch of regular Saturdays.

  • The "turnover is slower as couples linger longer than on an average night. And it’s hard to orchestrate an entire evening of tables for two, says Hakan Swahn, owner of Manhattan’s two-Michelin-starred Aquavit."

Between the lines: Last year's slow V-Day could be partially due to the day of the week, a Thursday.

  • "Of the top 50 days of the year for customer spending at local restaurants in 2019, 30 were Saturdays and 19 were Fridays; the only exception was Mother’s Day."

What's next: If you're going out, prepare to pay up.

  • "Restaurant prices climbed 3.1% in January from a year earlier, matching the fastest annual increase for that month since 2009," the WSJ reports.

Go deeper: Axios' deep dive on dating, published last Valentine's Day

Go deeper

In photos: How countries struck by coronavirus celebrated Valentine's Day

A Hong Kong flower shop on Valentine's Day. There are 56 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Hong Kong as of Feb. 14. Photo: Miguel Candela/Echoes Wire/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Across China and other countries with some of the highest confirmed cases of the coronavirus, people celebrated Valentine's Day as they would any other year: buying flowers and other gifts, attending weddings and spending time with loved ones.

Where it stands: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,527 people and in mainland China infected nearly 66,497 people, a number the CDC believes is underreported. There are more than 500 cases in 27 other countries and territories.

Go deeperArrowFeb 15, 2020 - Health

Deep Dive: The gamification of courtship

Editor's note: This deep dive was originally published on Valentine's Day, 2019.

The gamification of courtship has gone global, from viral matchmaker shows in China to Tinder users who don't stop swiping even after finding love.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 14, 2020 - Technology

California bill targets food delivery companies amid gig economy pressure

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The California lawmaker behind the controversial law making it harder to classify workers as contractors has proposed a new bill to prevent food delivery companies from offering drop-offs from restaurants that have not signed up and requires they share customer data with restaurants that do sign up.

Why it matters: State governments are turning up the heat on gig economy companies.