What is in this article?:
- How to win the gift card wars
- More offers
Restaurants fine-tune incentives, restrictions for holiday gift card buyers.
Buffets Inc. is among the restaurant companies getting in on the gift-card game.
Don’t take our word for it that gift cards are one of the best holiday season cash flow-boosters your restaurant can offer. Instead, take a look at how aggressively some savvy operators are going after gift card business this year, even while adding restrictions to better control how card purchaser bonus rewards can redeemed.
Let’s start with a quick review of why gift cards are such a good deal for restaurants.
In addition to delivering their face value in cash up front, gift cards literally are the gift that keeps on giving to those who sell them. Card redemption brings new customers into your restaurant, and card industry figures show that 61 percent of card recipients spend more than the face value of their card. How much more? A lot—60 percent more is typical. Factor in the large number of cards that go unredeemed or partially unredeemed and it’s no wonder restaurant operators have long been eager to sell more cards.
Even better, operators continue to figure out how to further leverage gift card sales into additional business via assorted bonuses given to the people who buy the cards as gifts. A look at the fine print on some of this year’s card offers show that limits on how and when bonuses can be redeemed have been rewritten to give operators necessary controls and encourage usage during traditionally slow times of the year.
And best of all, gift cards work for operators in every segment, from QSRs and buffets up to and including fine dining.
Quaker Steak & Lube got a jumpstart on the competition with a pre-Black Friday gift-card “blowout sale” that ran from Nov 19-21. Customers who bought a gift card during this period could buy a second card for half off, with the caveat that the second card couldn’t be used until after Dec. 26, 2012. Those who missed this early sale could still get a 20 percent use-later bonus on their gift card purchase. So, a customer who purchases, for example, a $25 gift card between now and Christmas gets a $5 card for his or her personal use. Again, that bonus can’t be used until after Christmas.