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February 14, 2022

10 ways to sell more gifts cards in your restaurant

Explore 10 ways to promote gift cards and see how your restaurant can use them to increase profits.
February 14, 2022

Product expansion is the key to your restaurant’s continued success, and gift cards are an easy solution that work well for both new and established businesses.

Check out 10 ways to promote your gift cards and see how your restaurant can use them to increase revenue below.

1. Sell your restaurant gift cards online

Digital gift card sales are projected to pass $698 billion in 2024. With that in mind, your restaurant must have a system that meets your guests where they are – online, 24/7.

The main advantage of digital gift cards, compared to paper gift certificates, is that they’re difficult to replicate and are less likely to be lost. That means that you’re less likely to have to deal with fakes and potentially lose revenue.

Update your social media, newsletters and ads to let your audience know that gift cards are available and for what (special menus, wine tastings, etc). Then, create a link that allows guests to buy gift cards with a simple click.

The most important part is that you have the technology to actually sell gift cards online. It has to be a smooth experience for the giver and easy to use for the recipient.

Pro tip: Choose a guest management platform that allows you to create a shareable gift card link. It makes it much easier for you and your team to embed the link on social media channels, newsletters and your website.

2. Sell gift cards all year

Gift cards aren’t just for under the Christmas tree. According to statistics, 3 out of every 4 birthday gifts in the USA were gift cards. And out of all of the gift cards sold (year round), restaurant gift cards were the most purchased type.

3. Make it mobile-friendly

It’s one thing to think of the customer buying the gift card, but it’s another to consider the recipient’s experience.

With Superb’s GXM platform, you can let your guests select between giving an amount or preselecting a menu. The giftee will receive a beautifully designed email or printout with a unique code, making it easy for them to access on their smartphone and easy for you to find the gift card when they book a table.

4. Sell experiences – not just food

Selling gift cards doesn't have to be a boring last resource; you can make it interesting for you and your guests!

Create gift cards with different tasting menus. Or add specific bonuses to some of them, like offering dessert or creating a pack with two tasting menus and wine.

This is the time to look at your menu and play with options that captivate your guests. If you have a reservation system that facilitates selling gift cards, put it to use and customise it according to your preferences. You might want the guest to select between a certain amount or preselect menus. The options are endless, and technology is on your side.

5. Promote your gift cards in the restaurant

This might be a no-brainer, but you’re missing out on revenue if you don't promote your gift card in your restaurant or bistro. It can be as simple as a small sign at the entrance or having the servers mention them at the end of the meal.

6. Market your gift cards online

Offering a gift card to your restaurant is one thing… letting your customers know about them is another.

Do you have a mailing list? Is your business on Instagram? Do you have a website? Use these channels to promote and market your gift cards. Devote a post on your IG feed to how easy it is to buy a gift card, or run a story about what it includes.

7. Take advantage of the holidays

The gift card market is projected to keep growing – worldwide. But when does the majority of that spending take place? The winter holiday season from late October to December.

While gift cards are important all year (see point #2 again), they’re extremely popular during the holidays. Now’s your chance to focus on point #6 (marketing your gift cards online) and set up special promotions to let your guests know that gift cards are here!

8. Offer a free gift with a gift card purchase

If you’re new to restaurant gift cards, get the ball rolling by offering an incentive with every gift card sold. Maybe it’s a complimentary glass of wine or a discount coupon for 10% off their next appetizer.

This idea works well during the holidays (like Black Friday) when everyone is looking for a promotion. It also gives you another way to market your gift cards and drive revenue.

9. Offer gift cards for referrals

Here’s a twist on gift cards. Instead of having someone purchase one for a friend or loved one as a gift – give a gift card to your guests as a, well, gift.

Encourage your customers to bring new people to your bistro or restaurant by offering a small gift card when they refer new guests.

10. Sell gift cards without an expiration date

Unlike coupons, gift cards are the same as cash. When it was purchased, you were essentially paid in advance.

The gift card should still be honoured even if the recipient comes in a year later to enjoy your restaurant. It’s good business, and it makes for a much better guest experience.

Do restaurants make money from gift cards?

Restaurant gift cards let you generate revenue immediately. The purchaser buys the card – meaning you get paid upfront. Even if the giftee never uses the card, you were paid.

With a gift card strategy in place, your restaurant can increase repeat customers, boost visits, enhance customer loyalty and increase profits.

Here are the top 2 reasons why your restaurant should start using gift cards.

1. Gift cards increase revenue

When a gift card is sold, your profit margin is increased. It’s that simple.

Remember that guests usually spend more or less than the amount on their gift cards. That means that if their bill comes to more than what is on the card, they’ll pay out of pocket to cover the rest. If they spend less than what’s on the card, they’re more likely to return so they don’t waste the remaining balance.

Either way, it’s more revenue for your restaurant.

2. Gift cards are free advertising

A customised gift card, designed with your branding is the perfect way to advertise and promote your restaurant.

Even handing or sending someone a gift card is a form of marketing that will ultimately bring new guests through your door.

If the idea of gift cards is new to your restaurant, check out Superb’s Guest Experience Management platform (GXM). It helps you set up gift cards with no extra hardware or POS purchase required.

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