Restaurant Gift Cards: Your Guide to Offering & Managing

Restaurant Gift Cards: Your Guide to Offering & Managing

Everyone loves a chance to eat out, and they love it even more when it comes freely at a time of their choosing. Jump onto the rising trend of restaurant gift cards now and reap the benefits of this flexible payment option today!

If you are unsure of how to implement gift card sales at your business, do not worry. Not only will we discuss the benefits associated with selling gift cards, but also answer all your pressing questions on how to incorporate it into your business.

Benefits to start selling gift cards

While you may think gift cards are exclusive to chain businesses or a catering association, even the smallest restaurant can provide their own personal gift card service. There are numerous benefits to introducing this service, including:

  • The chance to gain new customers
  • Rewarding loyal customers
  • Improving your cash flow
  • Partnering with a corporation
  • Creating brand awareness

Gain new customers

A gift card provides the opportunity for people to try new cuisine, especially as statistics show 35% of the customers redeem gift cards within a week, while 21% of them do so within a month. Many of these customers will be new to your restaurant, and with your excellent food and services, they are sure to become loyal patrons.

Reward loyal customers

For those who are already dedicated to your services, gift cards are a great way to reward their loyalty. While providing gift cards can allow their loved ones the chance to purchase an easy present, you can also find other ways of rewarding loyalty through your cards.

For example, if you provide a weekly competition or trivia with dinner, you can gift a voucher to the winners. These vouchers can be a type of gift card with a limited redeeming window, encouraging your customers to frequently return.

Improve cash flow

Issuing a gift card means an immediate boost to your cash flow as the customer buys a card upfront. It doesn't even matter if the card is redeemed in the future or not, as you have already secured this revenue.

Corporation partnership

While you do not need an official partner in a corporation, it can be beneficial to mimic those that already have a successful gift card system. Many corporations will have loyalty programs that offer gift cards as a potential prize along the way. Having a similar incentive will encourage customers to spend more in pursuit of such rewards.

Things to look out for gift card sales

If you are interested in beginning to offer restaurant gift cards for your business, there are specific factors to keep in mind before proceeding. These include:

  • Marketing your gift card program
  • Starting your own program or using an existing one
  • Hidden costs
  • POS functionality
  • Gift card design
  • Online vs Offline Gifts cards (or both)

Many of the choices you make when it comes to these factors will depend on your business model or your own personal preferences. It is important to have a plan in mind before rolling out a restaurant gift card to your customers.

Marketing your gift card program

When implementing a restaurant gift card service, it should be easily discovered by the general populace, not just your customers. That is, digital gift cards should be easily located on your website or app; you can even promote them on your main page.

In contrast, in store marketing should showcase your restaurant gift card at the cash register; as it is a point of sale, all customers will see your new promotion.

Starting your own program or using an existing one

You need to determine how you are going to create and track gift card usage before you start selling them. If your POS system offers features to monitor gift card transactions, you can choose to go with this existing program. Otherwise, you can offer gift cards in partnership with card companies like Visa or MasterCard.

ResDiary offers a voucher add-on service that allows you to sell gift vouchers directly from your website, or on our booking platform Dish Cult. It is a free add-on when you get a 3-month trial with ResDiary!

Hidden costs

If you are choosing to use another provider for your gift cards, they may come with additional costs; both as an activation and an inactivity fee. If you are programming your own restaurant gift cards, however, there is generally no hidden costs.

POS functionality

ResDiary’s gift cards can be created, sold, promoted and redeemed through their integrated POS software. It also provides reports on voucher activity to track your success and how you may continue to improve.

If your POS system does not come with integrated gift card functionality, you not only need to find and secure one, but you will also need to ensure it functions with your POS software. This may mean needing to add additional POS software or hardware to process the gift card transactions.

Gift card design

When making restaurant gift cards, you need to consider the design they will have. It is important to demonstrate your brand, making them recognisable with your logo and restaurant colour scheme.

Online vs Offline Gifts cards (or both)

You need to choose whether or not your restaurant gift card will be physical or digital; or both. An offline gift card can be available for purchase in store, while you will have to host a digital gift card online at your website.

Restaurant gift card ideas

When creating your gift card, you need to decide on what idea will best suit your restaurant. That is, what type of card is most accessible to your customer base and easiest for you to redeem?

Common gift card ideas include:

  • Physical cards
  • Virtual e-gift cards
  • Coupons
  • Discount codes
  • Redeemable loyalty cards

How to make restaurant gift cards

For most people, it is easiest to create a restaurant gift card through a specialised service. There are plenty of companies that offer you the chance to customise your own gift cards for distribution, both physically and digitally.

Additionally, some POS systems, especially those made for restaurants, offer a gift card feature. You can print out these gift cards through your receipt printer, or integrate them online through your website or app.

Gift card industry statistics

In Australia, the gift card industry continues to grow, projected to hit a compound annual growth rate of 8% by 2027. This is thought to be due to the pandemic affecting in-person sales, as people rely more on online transactions; hence the rise in digital gift card sales.

However, it is also potentially due to the flexibility that comes with digital payment types. With around 37% of Australians using digital wallets as their main form of payment, it is understandable why they may have an inclination towards also using digital gift cards. This is further supported by the rising trend of banks forming collaborations with gift card companies, seeking to simplify the shopping experience with physical and digital bank gift cards alike.

Unused gift card statistics

Even with the increase of gift card usage in Australia, there are bound to still be recipients who do not utilise their monetary gift. In fact, according to the research conducted by comparison website Finder, "33% of Australians have wasted money on store gift cards they did not use. That's the equivalent of 6.4 million people who have let the dollars on their plastic go to waste".

So while the majority of Australia are successfully using their Christmas or birthday gift cards to pay for goods, there is still a national outlay of $1.8 billion going to waste. It is likely that many of these Australians simply forgot about their card or lost it, but this loss of digital cash does not make a difference to merchants; after all, the gift card has already been bought from their business.

ResDiary has a voucher add-on or integrate your existing VoucherCart

From as little as $20/month, you can integrate the ResDiary gift card add-on into your current business model. ResDiary removes the hassle of finding POS compatible software, instead offering the means to not only sell and redeem gift vouchers at your venue, but also create your own design and promote it.

Book a demo of ResDiary today

You and your restaurants don't have to settle for a lacklustre table management system. With ResDiary's effortless reservation system and seamless integration process, managing your business has never been easier!

Book a demo with us today to get a free personalised insight into how you can increase your bookings and revenue. Our gift card add-on feature not only allows you to sell and redeem gift cards, but also provides you with reports on your increasing revenue successes.

Don't just entertain your guests, provide them with a hospitality experience they won't forget!

Book a demo