On Black Friday consumers snapped up gift cards from fine dining restaurants in greater numbers than Paytronix Systems Inc. has seen since it started reporting Black Friday gift card sales in 2018. When quick service and fast casual brands are considered, gift card sales are up as compared with 2020, but still off their 2019 highs.
Gift Cards Rebound
Overall, restaurants sold 22.6% more individual gift cards in 2021 as compared with 2020. When it comes to dollars loaded on those cards, the industry saw a 43% increase across all cards, which translates to an average increase of 16.6% in dollars loaded per card. When compared to pre-pandemic numbers, restaurants this year sold 22.3% fewer cards than in 2019 and loaded 19.1% less in funds.
[75% of consumers prefer to order delivery direct from the restaurant, according to HT's 2021 Customer Engagement Technology Study.]
The hunger for fine dining gift cards aligns with research released by the National Restaurant Association, which found that 62% of consumers hoped to receive a restaurant gift card this holiday season. When asked when they plan to use the cards, 24% said they would use them as soon as possible; 38% said they would use theirs within a few weeks; another 38% said they would save it for a special occasion.
Paytronix analyzed the anonymous aggregate gift card sales for 163 brands from Friday, November 26 2021, through Sunday, November 28, 2021. Paytronix identified the following changes in 2021 Black Friday gift card sales when compared to those for previous years:
- Fine dining customers bought 89.1% more cards this year and 72.8% increase in amount loaded over last year with an average load of $145 per card.
- QSR card sales declined 15% when compared with the same weekend last year and 7.9% less loaded on cards overall, but people spent $19.68 on average per card, up $1 from 2020.
- Fast casual restaurants saw a 27.9% lift in overall card sales and a 32.3% increase in funds loaded with the average card coming in at $27.96, slightly less than $1 more from the previous year.
This Black Friday gift card sales analysis is the first stage of a larger holiday gift card data analysis that will publish soon.