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Restaurants Line Up Behind Last Minute-Gift Idea: Gift Cards

Outback Steakhouse is offering a drive-up concierge service specifically for gift card shoppers.
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Restaurants are pushing gift cards as last-minute holiday gifts -- coinciding with consumer demand.

Holiday gift card sales are forecasted to increase 19% over 2019 -- buoyed by a surge in digital gifting in response to COVID-19, according to a report from Blackhawk Network.  

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.


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.


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