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How to Increase Holiday Spending on Meals and Gift Cards

‘Tis the holiday season! The scramble is on to increase restaurant sales by taking advantage of holiday spending. There is no doubt that online ordering is the newest trend for young consumers.Online options are one of the primary reasons a restaurant is chosen by more than one third of the adult population and over 40% of millennials. According to the National Restaurant Association more than 60% of adults would take advantage of online ordering.

What are a restaurant’s advantages to online ordering? Well initially a customer will check out a restaurant’s website to find out more about it, and more importantly their menu. By giving customers ability to order online, you are giving more customers access to your menu. Online is the perfect platform to promote your establishment, spotlight daily deals, pricing and current menu changes, This convenience you give to your customers may just put you ahead of the local competitors. Most customers would agree that it speeds up service and increases order accuracy. More interesting, most say that the option causes them to order takeout more often and that the interaction online is fun. New services such as GrubHub, coupled with online convenience are also proving to increase sales. As of this year the service has 44,000 restaurant partners in over 1,000 cities,

Online ordering also makes you more efficient. Less mistakes are made by restaurants.Ordering online nearly eliminates errors that can be made when taking a call. Also, a call takes time. Studies have shown that 75%  percent of phone order calls take more than a minute and 30% can take three minutes or longer. Giving mobile access to your customers keep you as close as their pocket. When an order is made online you can find out information about the customer. Information such as address, what they order and also what they spend can be used, directly affecting your future marketing strategies.

Another consideration for your online ordering would be to enable your customers to pay at the website. This step would add to the convenience for the customer. They could pay directly from their computer or phone. All they would need to do is to stop in and pick up their order.

Once you join the online community you make your restaurant available to thousands of prospective new customers. Along with a website, your establishment can be linked to Facebook and Twitter that will draw customers directly to you. The idea is to keep you fresh in your customer’s minds, which means they will be return customers. A great place to offer a seasonal menu is online. Seasonal menus excite customers and entice them to keep returning.

Studies have shown that the average ticket price is 30% larger when done online. Another 95% of those that order online return again to that restaurant. The idea is to grow profit without having to bring additional customers to your restaurant. So your restaurant can grow without growing staff or building size.

Online is also a perfect platform to promote special offers for the holidays. The most popular offer is of course the gift card. Gift cards are not the biggest gift under the tree but last year 80% of consumers were giving gift cards and 58% of holiday consumers stated that they wanted to receive one. Sales of gift cards were up nearly 55% from previous years and they contributed to nearly 20% of holiday gifts.

Without even taking the numbers into consideration, gift cards are a key component to increasing your sales. Here are seven points to take into consideration:

  1. Unlike the coupon, a gift card makes the customer feel they have more money to spend. The customer is also more likely to return to use the entire card.
  2. Gift cards encourage the customer to spend more. On average they will spend more than 40% of the gift card value.
  3. Your establishment gets paid upfront.
  4. Cheap advertising. Every time the customer sees the card in their wallet, they are reminded of your restaurant.
  5. Gift cards are more convenient than coupons. As previously stated, online purchasing is easy. Cards are durable and can be kept easily in a wallet.
  6. Additional advertising is possible, such as mobile conversion or cash back rewards. Some business even offer reloadable cards.  These cards can support customer loyalty and encourage customers to return.
  7. Ultimately, gift cards have a longer impact than traditional advertising. Again the cards stay in your wallet and give the customer a constant reminder of your restaurant.

Gift cards are one of the most cost efficient ways to promote your business this holiday season. Along with an online presence, you will easily be able to compete for the dollars that will be spent by holiday consumers. Contact us to see how we can help you get busy promoting those holiday specials and make this season a profitable one.