Restaurants are pushing gift cards as last-minute holiday gifts -- coinciding with consumer demand.
For restaurants, gift cards represent immediate revenue and future business, and for customers, they remain a thoughtful and convenient gift to give and receive -- and a sign of optimism that normalcy is on the horizon.
A new National Restaurant Association survey of 1,000 adult consumers found that this year, despite the pandemic, 42% said they planned to give a restaurant gift card to someone during the holidays, and 62% said they’d like to receive gift cards as a holiday present. Of that group, 63% indicated they’d like the gift card to be to their favorite restaurant.
Share it on Social
To help drive awareness, the National Restaurant Association launched #StepUptoTheTable to help restaurants still struggling during the pandemic. Using #StepUpToTheTable, guests are asked to record short videos or post pictures of themselves on social media buying restaurant gift cards and tagging someone to the do the same. The campaign is ready to share through this social media toolkit.
It’s a campaign that restaurants of all sizes can leverage.
Among the restaurant brands touting their gift cards.
- Through Dec. 24, Outback Steakhouse is offering a drive-up concierge service specifically for gift card shoppers.
- The Cheesecake Factory is offering two eSlice of Joy Cards for every $25 in gift cards or eGift cards purchased online at shop.thecheesecakefactory.com from through Christmas. Each eSlice of Joy Card is redeemable for one complimentary slice of The Cheesecake Factory's cheesecake beginning January 1, 2021 through March 31, 2021.
- Now through December 31, -O’Charley’s Restaurant + Bar is offering a $15 discount on every $50 gift card purchased online at ocharleys.com/gift-card/.
- Red Lobster is relaunching its popular "Give a Gift, Get a Gift" gift card promotion for 2020. Though the end of December, for every $50 spent on Red Lobster gift cards purchased in-restaurant or online, guests will receive two coupons for a future visit.
- Chipotle Mexican Grill is among the brands promoting e-gift cards that can be ordered online and are delivered electronically.
- The American Egg Board also has a gift card marketing promotion designed specifically to help restaurants boost business. The Gift of Eggs campaign encourages people to help bring breakfast back by giving friends and loved ones gift cards to their favorite local restaurants. The board is promoting it on social media and using Google Maps technology to suggest nearby restaurants for breakfast or brunch gift-card giving. The message is that gift cards offer a great alternative for those who need a break from cooking during the hectic holiday season.
Restaurant Gift Cards Are In Style
“Restaurant gift cards have always been an important component driving sales over the holiday period and beyond,” said Hudson Riehle, the association’s senior vice president of research. “Right now, they’re even more critical to operators, because of the pandemic. Consumers have always welcomed them, and their availability can nudge diners into the decision to not only seek a restaurant meal solution, but also to patronize a specific brand or operation.”
Don’t Forget the Prepared Foods
The association continues its campaign encouraging customers to Let Restaurants Do the Cooking this holiday season. Gift cards are a perfect prompt to get customers to order full meals, sides, appetizers or desserts from their favorite restaurants, supplementing home dining over the holidays.