More Restaurants Marketing Through Gift Cards

During the holidays and other major gift-​giving occasions, consumers often struggle with what to buy for the restaurantgiftcardsfavorite people on their lists. This is especially true if the recipient has a house stuffed full of material goods. One way around this problem is to give a restaurant gift card.

Industry analysts note that restaurant gift cards are making a bigger appearance when it comes to exchanges between family members, friends and work colleagues. In 2013, consumers will purchase gift cards with the intent of giving them to:

  • Immediate family 59%
  • Friends 36%
  • Extended family 30%
  • Work colleagues 14%

At the holidays, the typical giver hands out about 3 restaurant gift cards and the average recipient receives 2 to 3 cards. Women tend to spend more on these gifts, $224.90 for 3 cards, while men spend $146.60 for 2.7 cards, on average.

Shoppers say the top reasons for giving a restaurant gift card are: knowing the restaurant is a favorite of the recipient (54%), convenience (46%), it’s a gift the giver would want (29%), and they could spend what they want (17%).

Restaurants should know they could increase gift card sales by allowing givers to include a personal message (45%), including an attractive box (34%), providing attractive designs/​graphics (24%), and offering cards dedicated to specific items (28%).

The findings of the American Express Market Briefing on this topic also point to another trend. In 39% of the gift-​card purchases, restaurants offered a reward or loyalty program. 55% of men reported that this bonus helped persuade them to purchase the card.

As holidays and milestone events come up in 2013, restaurants can improve their traffic by promoting the unique qualities of their gift card programs.

[Source: The Evolving World of Holiday Gift Cards. American Express Market Briefing. Feb. 2013. Web. 4 Mar. 2013] 
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.