Gift Cards are an excellent way to generate revenue for your restaurant and help get more people in the door. Does your establishment currently have Gift Cards available to your customers?
1. Sell your Gift Cards Year-Round
Gift Cards aren’t just for stockings. Last year, the Retail Gift Card Association (RGCA) surveyed a number of people around America, and nearly 70% of those shoppers said they would be purchasing Gift Cards in the Spring and Summer seasons, particularly for Father’s Day, graduations, birthdays, and weddings. Of that 70%, half of those shoppers said that they plan to purchase restaurant gift cards.
2. Give your customers the option of a Mobile-friendly eGift Card
With the technology native generation growing older, eGift Cards are slowly but surely growing in popularity. Redeemable codes and the mobile-friendly gift card market is steadily expanding, last year by 5%. An estimated $141 billion dollars will be spent in Mobile Transactions in 2016, according to CEB Global. Make your gift card mobile-friendly and allow people to download the gift card to their phones for higher revenue.
3. Make Gift Cards available for purchase online
Online purchasing is convenient for both the purchaser and the spender. The RGCA 2015 survey reported that 32% of eGift Card buyers purchase online gift cards for the convenience and speed that instant online purchases offers. Also, online purchases are popular for last-minute gifts and for giving to recipients far from the sender.
4. Market your Gift Cards In-Store
Put up a poster in the window, make a small insert for your menu, have your servers and hosts/hostesses wear buttons, and put your cards on display at the host/hostess stand. These are all awesome in-house techniques that will get your gift cards more exposure and remind people that you have gift cards for sale at your restaurants. After all, people who don’t know you have gift cards will be much less likely to request gift cards, much less purchase them.
5. Market your Gift Cards Virtually
Do you have a mailing list? Is your business present on social media? Does your restaurant have a website? These are all excellent locations to market your gift cards. Online gift card purchases are definitively growing because more people are gifting from far away while other purchasers enjoy avoiding seasonal crowds. Additionally, social media provides an exponential amount of exposure, expanding your restaurant’s target market from a 10 miles radius to potentially country-wide.
6. Incentivize Gift Card Sales to your Staff
Make the sale fun! Run a contest amongst the staff for the highest gift cards sales during a given shift on a busy night. Offering free dinner to the waiter/waitress/host/hostess with the highest gift cards sales is an inexpensive way to boost gift card sales and generate a fun working environment for your staff. Or, run if you have a seasonal promotion, run a contest for the highest amount of gift card sales each week, and put the winner of each week into a drawing for a larger prize.
7. Offer a free gift with purchase of X amount or more
Incentivizing the purchase for the buyer makes the deal that much sweeter. A free $10 gift card with the purchase of $100 or more rewards the customer for purchasing. Harry’s Seafood Bar and Grill in Florida offers $20 off $100 of more in peak seasons, and $10 off $100 or more regularly. No need to worry about losing money, the CEB Global 2014 Gift Card State of the Union reports that 65% of gift card users spend nearly 40% more than what their gift card was worth, which means you’ll make more than the $10 or $20 back from the promotion.
8. Offer a Loyalty Program
Rewards points, reloadable gift cards, and redeemable rewards are all great ways to drive foot traffic back to your restaurant. First Data’s 2014 Prepaid Consumer Insight Study reported that 40% of consumer purchased more than they planned when an incentive was offered, while the average consumer purchased about two gift cards during the year because the retailer was offering loyalty points. In the end, loyalty programs help retain existing customers, while generating new foot traffic.
Gift Cards are Important to Your Business
According to CEB Global, roughly $140 billion dollars will be spent on Gift Cards in the year 2016. What does this mean for restaurants? Gift cards are a fantastic way to retain existing customers, generate new customers, and grow your establishment’s foot traffic. With the demand slowly but steadily growing for eGift Cards and Mobile transactions, gift cards are an easy way to connect with new and existing consumers, build loyalty, and generate more money.
Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.
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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today.