While dining out remains a popular choice for Americans to celebrate Valentine's Day, new National Restaurant Association research shows that nearly one-third would also like to receive a restaurant gift card on February 14.

However, men show a much stronger preference for restaurant gift cards as a Valentine's Day gift than women do at nearly half. 

"Restaurant gift cards are popular gifts at any occasion, but we found that they are an especially good choice as a gift option for adult males this Valentine's Day," says Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the Research and Knowledge Group for the National Restaurant Association.

"Celebrating the occasion with a special meal will be on the menu for one-quarter of Americans this February 14, but those who opt to give restaurant gift cards as gifts will, in a sense, extend the holiday to have a special meal another day."

Given a list of six Valentine's Day gift options and asked which one they would most like to receive as a Valentine's Day gift, 31 percent of adults favored restaurant gift cards, followed by jewelry, clothing/apparel, flowers, chocolate, and perfume/cologne.

When broken down by gender, 46 percent of men favored restaurant gift cards over clothing/apparel at 16 percent, and chocolate at 12 percent. Women indicated that their preferred gifts are jewelry (37 percent) and flowers (23 percent), with restaurant gift cards coming in third at 13 percent.

The survey also showed that nearly half of American adults don't plan to celebrate Valentine's Day at all, or celebrate with things other than a special meal. One-quarter will celebrate Valentine's Day by dining in a restaurant. In addition, one-quarter plans to celebrate the occasion at home or someone else's home, and of those, 15 percent plan to order restaurant takeout or delivery.

Among those who plan to dine out on February 14, younger adults are slightly more likely to do so, as are individuals in two-person households compared with those in single-person households and households with three or more members.

The National Restaurant Association surveyed 1,007 American adults on February 2-5 about their dining plans for Valentine's Day. Previous research by the Association shows that Valentine's Day is the second most popular holiday to dine out, after Mother's Day.

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises 960,000 restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of nearly 13 million employees.

We represent the industry in Washington, D.C., and advocate on its behalf. We operate the industry's largest trade show (NRA Show May 5-8, 2012, in Chicago); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart, including the National ProStart Invitational April 27-29, 2012, in Baltimore, Md.); as well as the Kids LiveWell program promoting healthful kids' menu options. For more information, visit www.restaurant.org and find us on Twitter @WeRRestaurantsFacebook and YouTube.

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