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  • Writer's pictureMaya

Can Gift Cards Save Your Restaurant?

With restaurants shutting down most of their operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some have found creative ways to keep business moving. Since dine-in services came to a halt, many restaurants worry about staying open through the end of this pandemic. In fact, some speculate that by the time these quarantine measures get lifted, 30% of restaurants will have to permanently close their doors.

Although many restaurants have decided to stay open for delivery, which functions as a good continued revenue stream, others have begun exploring other methods, like selling groceries along with their usual dishes, converting their restaurant into a marketplace instead, offering discounts for pick-up orders and more. One way to generate business has gotten more popular as the shutdown continues: Gift cards.

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To try and combat the negative impact that widespread self-isolation has on their bottom line, some restaurants have decided to sell gift cards. These impact restaurants in several positive ways:

  1. Generate Profit From Dine-in Services Though restaurants can’t open their doors for people to stay and eat with them, at least for the time being, they can still make some money from those services. Restaurants rely heavily on dine-in services, and when you consider how they operate off of such thin profit margins, they become even more crucial.

  2. Stay at the Forefront of People’s Attention In the midst of so many independent restaurants closing their doors, generating content or coming up with other great ideas to keep business moving, gift cards are a great way to stand out. They remind customers to look forward to the day you finally reopen. They also guarantee those buyers’ business, which could lead to repeat sales and loyal customers.

  3. Encourage Future Spending When people finally use their gift cards, you can up-sell other items during their visit. Customization helps: If you let customers put however much they want on the card, servers can simply offer more dishes which will encourage guests to spend more than what they put on there.

You can also get creative with this by selling cards that cover particular items or courses. For example, if someone purchases an appetizer on their gift card, you can encourage them to spend more on dessert. If someone gets a card for a free drink, sell them refills when they come in.

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Are Gift Cards the Answer?

Yes, but not on their own. Though they definitely generate profit in the interim, you should implement other measures to make sure you still have a steady stream of revenue coming in during this pandemic. Take part in delivery if you don’t already. Sell merchandise that customers can wear to show off their favorite eateries, and enjoy the free advertising on top of the extra cash.

Gift cards will give you the boost you need to stay afloat. When delivery and pick-up services aren’t enough, consider opening yourself up to the community’s assistance. We all need to take care of each other through this difficult time.


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