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White Castle Woos Valentine's Day Diners

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The hamburger joint goes reservations-only on February 14, rolling out table service, keepsake photos, and candles.

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White Castle doesn't want the fancy restaurants to have all the fun on Valentine's Day. The hamburger chain is trying to grab a portion of the estimated $3.5 billion spent by couples going out to eat on Feb. 14.

While it may seem far-fetched that couples would celebrate their romance at a fast-food restaurant, reservations "fill up fast," vice president Jamie Richardson said in a statement. Nearly 390 White Castle locations will be courting diners this Valentine's Day after a few regions started the tradition more than two decades ago, the company tells MSN Money.

Reservations? Yes, you won't be able to eat dinner at a "Love Castle" on Feb. 14 unless you've already booked ahead.

Other lowbrow restaurants have cottoned onto the idea. Last year, Waffle House also offered special romantic dinners on Valentine's Day, according to Time.com.

White Castle and Waffle House may be on to something: a desire for diners to spend less when they go out to eat.

Restaurant customers ordered fewer food items in 2012, according to a research from GuestMetrics. Some diners last year skipped out on pricey entrees and desserts, and instead ordered more appetizers, which tend to be lower priced, the study found.

The White Castle Valentine's meal will have no problem pleasing price-conscious Romeos and Juliets. The chain is offering a $10 "share-a-meal," which the company says is "perfect for a romantic evening with a special someone or a loving family."

"Love Castles" are decked out with plastic red tablecloths, flowers and candles, according to photographs of past Valentine's day celebrations.

White Castle says it also gives customers a complimentary digital photo, which will be posted on White Castle's Facebook page after March 1, and keepsake menus.

Participating restaurants range in location from Chicago to Nashville. White Castle, based in Columbus, Ohio, owns and operates about 400 restaurants.

Editor's Note: This story by Aimee Picchi was originally published on MSN moneyNOW.

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