How restaurants can use gift cards to drive traffic and increase sales may seem complicated, but it’s a challenge that can be met simply, without additional marketing spend. Here are five tips to drive traffic with gift cards:
According to Megan Flanagan, Executive Director of the Retail Gift Card Association, “People purchase gift cards for friends and family with the intent for them to go out and treat themselves.” But restaurant gift cards offer a second opportunity, because people rarely go out to eat alone. Restaurants can consider offering buy-one-get-one deals when guests redeem a gift card that encourages card holders to bring along guests who end up paying their own tab.
Check the Calendar
Ramp up your gift card promotions during months around gift-giving holidays like Valentine’s Day, Mother’s & Father’s Day, graduations and of course, winter holidays. Planning gift card promotions around these key dates will reap future rewards by bringing patrons into the establishment.
Design your gift cards as a brand reminder to guests about who you are and what you’re known for. Include your website and make sure your logo is clearly visible.
Align with Shopping Holidays
Building gift card sales promotions around recognized shopping holidays like Black Friday are a good strategy. However, there’s a holiday specifically for using gift cards. National Use Your Gift Card Day, taking place on January 16, 2021, encourages consumers to use their gift cards before they end up unused in wallets, purses, or drawers.
Gather your staff and brainstorm exciting in-store and online deals to drive traffic in an innovative way that re-energizes your brand through gift card use. As uncertainty about the future continues, the advantage of using gift cards to drive traffic is a sure thing.
Tracy Tilson is the president and founder of Tilson PR, a full-service public relations agency. She is also the founder of Use Your Gift Card, LLC (www.useyourgiftcard.com), an online platform that serves consumers with reminders, tips and tactics for using and receiving the most out of their gift cards and National Use Your Gift Card Day which falls the third Saturday in January annually.