Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and graduation season are all past and the holiday season is months away, so are your restaurant’s gift cards sitting on a shelf collecting dust? Most of your gift card sales will probably always come in 4th quarter, but there are ways, and good reasons, to sell gift cards all year.
The value of gift cards
Gift cards can help raise awareness, encourage trial, and create repeat purchases by helping you leverage your existing customers to attract new business. Studies show that 41% of consumers have visited a retail store, hotel or restaurant they had never been to before because they received a gift card for it and 72% of those first-time customers went back to the business at least once afterward.”
Gift cards can also increase average spend. A survey conducted by Integrated Solutions for Retailers found that more than half of gift card recipients spend more than the value of their gift card when they redeem it.
So, knowing how gift cards can increase your sales and draw in new business, what can you do to sell them outside of 4th quarter?
Tips for using gift cards year round
Here are six ideas for using and promoting your gift cards outside of the traditional season:
1. Offer a short term incentive: Offer a limited time deal over the summer when gift card sales are slow; such as $20 bonus card for every $100 gift card purchase or a free dessert with any gift card purchase. This rewards regulars for spreading the word about you and both cards will likely be applied to a meal that costs more than the card’s face value.
2. Run an employee contest: Sometimes asking for the sale is all it takes. Run an employee contest to see who can sell the most gift cards to encourage staff to suggest gift cards to your customers.
3. Sell Online: according to restaurantreport.com “Restaurant Gift Cards are the most popular type of gift card that consumers will be shopping for online.” Give customers easy access to gift cards with an online presence.
4. Make your gift cards visible: Especially in a quick service environment, make sure guests can see your gift cards at the counter to spark people’s interest. Seeing the card may remind people of an upcoming birthday, event, or someone they would like to treat to a meal.
5. Offer a variety of gift card looks: Another way to help customers recall their gift giving needs. Birthdays, anniversaries, thank you gifts, all these come up year round and gift card themes can remind your customers of good reasons to buy.
6. Use small gift cards as giveaways or donations: Distribute $5 gift cards to local sports teams as prizes, give them as gifts to neighboring business, or offer them for charity raffles. Not only will this drive new business to your restaurant but all those new customers will know that your restaurant offers gift cards.