How Restaurants Create More Than Their Fair Share of the 2021 Holiday Gift Card Boom

2021 sets up to be the ultimate “Gift Card Christmas.”

Why? Supply chain issues, container ships sitting in the Pacific Ocean, and a shortage of computer chips, and truck drivers.

If you do not already have a robust gift card program in place for the holiday season, put down whatever device you’re using to read this post and start work on that.

The Initiative with No Downside

One of the beautiful things about gift card programs is how they bond guests to your brand.

When people give gift cards for your restaurants, they are making a choice – to give the gift of your hospitality even though they could choose any other restaurant.

They give that gift to someone they really care about, who either already counts themselves as a fan of your restaurant (this validates their fandom), or identifies as a non-user about to give you a chance to take your rightful place in their dining rotation.

Oh yeah, and they make you money, and instant cash flow, and some of it stays in your bank account when gift cards end up in the recipient’s sock drawer or glove compartment.

Make sure you get more than your fair share of those guest relationships (and that revenue).

Five Key Components of Your GOAT Holiday Gift Card Program

  1. Education program that reminds staff how gift cards connect people with the brand, and brings in not only regular guests but also lapsed or non-users – giving your people a chance to win them over and turn them into regulars.
  2. Bonus of 20% of face value to go to the recipient or purchaser.
  3. Specific goals for sales by location, well in excess of last year or 2019.
  4. Constant tracking of those goals, and healthy competition between units.
  5. Rewards for stores that excel – holiday parties, activities, or even gift cards you trade for.

Another bonus: Every accomplished initiative serves as an opportunity for your team to learn about its power, and build confidence and capability.

Once your team has triumphed with gift cards, they can apply that teamwork to the next initiative in the pipeline, like improved PPA, cost management, recruiting, or guest satisfaction.

That is the biggest gift – one that won’t fit under a tree – you can give yourself.

Top operators will have way beyond record-breaking gift cards sales this holiday season, and build guest loyalty and frequency – confirming your group’s amazing capability, and adding to cash flow and profit.
Over to you. How have you set yourself up to have maximum results in the 2021 holiday gift card gold rush?