How Gift Card Marketing Can Boost Restaurant Sales

Bematech Blog - October 1, 2019

image002 (5)For the last several years, gift cards have been one of the most popular and requested gifts for both shoppers and recipients. Offering gift cards for your restaurant can be a great opportunity to increase revenue—not only during the holiday season, but year-round, as people give them for birthdays, thank-yous, Mother’s Day, and all sorts of occasions. Take a look at how leveraging gift card marketing can benefit your business:

Attract New Customers

Gift cards expand your marketing reach. They’re purchased by current customers, but may be given to customers that you might never been able to market to otherwise. A 2017 study from commerce-technology firm First Data showed that 44% of consumers visit a store that is new to them because they received a gift card, and 53% are likely to visit more often after receiving one.

This influx of new people will grow your customer database as you gather contact information for both buyers and recipients. You can have guests create an account to manage their cards, capturing critical data for future marketing and giving them an easy way to check their balance and even reload the card.

Gift card marketing also helps you build brand awareness, because gift cards are mini billboards that customers carry around for you. The more people see your cards in circulation, the more exposure your logo and name get. The cards might catch the eye of someone besides the recipient, bringing in an additional customer.

And speaking of exposure, make the availability of your gift cards as visible as possible. Besides having a display near the point of sale (POS) and having your servers mention them to guests, you can feature them on menus, table tents, and your website.

Reward Current Customers

Gift card marketing strategies go beyond simply selling cards to customers. You can use them effectively as a rewards tool or as part of your loyalty program offers. For example, you can incentivize customers by offering promotions, such as, “spend $100 or more and get a $15 gift card for a future purchase.”  Guests see these deals as a valuable reward, building brand loyalty. Plus, when they return, they’re likely to spend more than the value of the card: the First Data study showed that the average customer spends $38 more than the gift card amount (and that number was up $10 from the previous year).

If you find that certain areas of your marketing fall short, you can use gift cards to supplement them (and the increased customer spend will offset the cost):

  • Low social media following? Offer gift card giveaways or contests for following you on social media.
  • Low app purchases? Give gift card incentives for downloading your app or placing a digital order.
  • Trouble expanding your reach? Offer gift cards for referring a friend, or BOGO deals to share, to bring in new people.

Easy Integration

Your POS solution should make implementing and using gift cards easy. Ensure that your POS and card reader can activate gift cards when purchased and accept them as payment when they’re redeemed. Contact your POS provider for assistance on staying in compliance with federal and state regulations governing gift cards, such as transaction or non-use fees and the allowability of expiration dates.

Gift cards should also integrate seamlessly with your e-commerce platforms as well as your POS. Guests should be able to place orders online or in-app using gift cards just as they could within the restaurant. Consider offering digital e-gift cards as well as physical cards.

Additional Advantages

Shoppers love the convenience of giving gift cards (especially if you package them nicely, with at least a decorative envelope). And recipients love having “free money” to spend, especially as incentive to try something new. If you’re not taking advantage of gift card marketing, you stand to lose a lot of sales to competitors who do.

Bematech is an experienced provider of POS solutions and services, with more than thirty years of industry knowledge in the U.S. and a global presence in more than 37 countries. Request a demo today to learn more about how our solutions can increase your business efficiencies and grow your profits.