Fries, not flowers: Fast-food chains try to lure valentines

FILE - In this Friday, Jan. 31, 2014, file photo, a KFC sign hangs in Saugus, Mass. KFC says it wants to take a bigger bite out of the chicken sandwich market. The chain says it is switching from “freezer-to-fryer” filets in favor of filets breaded in stores, similar to how rivals Chick-fil-A and Popeye’s already prepare their chicken. The company says chicken sandwiches account for 40 percent of the fast-food industry’s chicken category, and that it is not a big enough player in that business. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, File)

NEW YORK (AP) – Is that love in the air or french fries? White Castle, KFC and other fast-food restaurants are trying to lure sweethearts for Valentine’s Day.

It’s an attempt to capture a bit of the $3.7 billion that the National Retail Federation expects Americans to spend on a night out for the holiday. Restaurant analyst John Gordon at Pacific Management Consulting Group says it appeals to people who don’t want to splurge on a pricier restaurant. And some customers enjoy it ironically.

White Castle, which has been offering Valentine’s Day reservations for nearly 30 years, expects to surpass the 28,000 people it served last year. KFC is handing out scratch-and-sniff Valentine’s Day cards that give off a fried chicken aroma.

Panera Bread wants couples to get engaged at its cafes; those who do can win food for their weddings from the soup and bread chain. And Wingstop sold out of its $25 Valentine’s Day kit, which came with a gift card and a heart-shaped box to fill with chicken wings.

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