Why Your Restaurant Needs to Start a Gift Card Program

By: Mark Miller

2 Minute Read

Apr 04, 2016

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Restaurant Gift Card

Gift cards may be the most powerful restaurant marketing product ever invented. Don't believe me? Here are a few statistics from this infographic:

  • 54% of consumers expect to purchase a gift card to a restaurant or a coffee shop.
  • Gift cards are the most #1 most requested gift eight years in a row.
  • 8.7 in 10 consumers expect to purchase more than one gift card, with an average of 3.6 cards.

Need more convincing? Check out these reasons why many restaurants start a gift card program:

1. Gift cards are a guerilla-marketing powerhouse.

Here's the absolute coolest thing about a gift card program: a customer pays you money for a plastic or digital gift card to give to someone else.

That means they are giving you an advance on a product or service to be delivered in the future to a new customer. Your customer is paying you to bring you more business. What a brilliant restaurant marketing strategy.

2. A gift card sale is a cash advance.

When you sell a gift card, you take in revenue with next to zero cost of goods sold (COGS).

You don’t realize the costs until your customer returns to redeem the card, which may be months later. Also, consumers almost always spend more than the value of the card when they make purchases with gift cards.

3. Gift cards are reusable.

Unlike paper gift certificates, a plastic or digital gift card can be loaded, redeemed, and reloaded multiple times. Reselling and reloading significantly brings down the cost of cards. It’s cut in half each time it is reused!

4. Gift cards are billboards in a wallet.

Gift Cards should be printed with your logo and branding. Each time a consumer sees the card in their wallet or on their phone, you’ve just sent them a mini advertisement. It happens over and over again until the card is finally redeemed and is a great reminder that they need to visit your store.

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