Paytronix Systems Inc. examined Black Friday Restaurant Gift Card Sales and found that while they were down across the full-service sector, quick service and fast casual restaurants either held steady their 2019 sales or saw an increase in spend over last year. December purchases typically account for upwards of 50% of annual gift card sales and the first weekend traditionally acts as a barometer of upcoming trends throughout the holiday season.
Paytronix analyzed the anonymous aggregate gift card sales for more than 175 brands between Friday, November 27, and Sunday, November 29, 2020. Paytronix identified the following changes in 2020 Black Friday gift card sales when compared to those for 2019:
- The number of cards sold declined by 30.1% across all restaurant sectors.
- QSR card sales declined by 3.6% on Black Friday, but the amount loaded onto those cards increased by 4.6% Over the rest of the weekend, the number of cards sold increased by 0.7%, while the overall spend decreased by 1.8%.
- Fast casual sales were mixed, with some concepts showing big declines in card sales, while others tripled sales thanks to rich bonus offers.
The small gains over 2019 in quick service sales appeared to be related to e-gift and bonus promotions, though overall e-gift sales declined.
"The more upscale the restaurant, the greater the decline we saw in gift card sales during the Black Friday shopping weekend,” said Paytronix Head of Data Insights Lee Barnes. “This likely means that fewer people will be giving restaurant gift cards as a gift, almost certainly because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, shoppers seem to be focusing on those cards that have bonus cash promotions, possibly as a gift to themselves.”
This trend indicates that restaurants may see a much lighter gift card season than in years past.
“Restaurants should consider alternative ways of driving guests back to make up for the loss in gift card sales,” said Paytronix President and CEO Andrew Robbins. “Subscriptions represent a novel form of recurring revenue that gives guests a reason to come back for repeat visits, much like a gift card. The difference is that subscriptions present opportunity for renewal and to invite the guest to build a relationship with the brand on an ongoing basis.”
This Black Friday gift card sales analysis is the first stage of a larger holiday gift card data analysis that will publish later this month. This research will supplement the Paytronix Annual Gift Card Sales Report: 2020, which surveys over 200 brands about their annual gift card sales over the course of the year. Paytronix offers an in-depth look into holiday gift card sales, sales by channel and service type, anticipated redemption and new insights on eGift cards. With the online ordering industry expanding, the Report also examines the impact of gift cards redeemed online.
Following trends in closed-loop restaurant gift card sales, the Paytronix Black Friday Gift Card Sales Research includes data from gift card sales on November 27, 2020, and includes 182 brands. The majority of the brands are full-service restaurants.