How to drive additional restaurant revenue with gift cards

How To Boost Revenue With Gift Cards

There's a dirty little secret that makes gift card sales more profitable than you might think. That... plus 9 additional tips on how to attract new customers, drive more revenue, and even pay less for services with gift cards... 


Turn Restaurant Gift Cards Into Cash

Gift cards put upfront revenue in your pocket - right now, that gets spent over time. 

Better yet, (and this is the dirty little secret) about 15% of gift card value is never used. That means that for every $1,000 in gift cards sold, customers will only redeem about $850 at your restaurant. 

That's like getting a $150 in free money for every $1,000 in gift card sales. Cha, Ching!

Here's 9 Tips to Make $$$ With Gift Cards

(plus a bonus tip at the end)

1) Sell Discounted Gift Cards To Loyalty Members

This can be one of the main perks of your customer rewards program. Your best customers will love it because they’re basically buying gifts at a discount. Plus, you’ll get a steady stream of new customers.

2) Fundraisers

Marketing your gift cards to fundraisers and charities can pay dividends on many levels.

You not only profit from the card sales, you also generate positive word-of-mouth throughout your community.

The program is simple – You sell gift cards to the organization at a discount ($25 cards for $15).

Then, the organization sells the cards at face value and keeps the difference.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… that discount seems like a lot. But remember, 15-20% of the card balance will never be redeemed… and the other cards… people will spend MORE because they can’t stand to have a nickel sitting on there - they haven’t spent.

Either way…you come out a winner.

3) Drive Local Business Traffic With $5 Gift Cards

This opportunity is about going door to door and passing out gift cards, with a small balance loaded on them, and inviting people to come visit your restaurant.

This can be particularly effective for businesses that just opened in your area. Think of it as a “Welcome to the Neighborhood” gift.

4) Offer Bonus Points For Gift Card Purchases

As part of your customer loyalty program – offer bonus points every time members purchase gift cards or reload their own card.

5) Hand Out $10 Gift Cards To HR Departments

This a true Win – Win – Win promotion.

Approach the HR departments of local companies. Explain that you have a program that will allow them to give employees a special gift for the holidays or on birthdays without spending a single dime. How can they say no? YOU are going to pay for THEIR employee’s holiday and birthday gifts!

6) Winner Take-All Staff Promotion

This promotion can really drive some gift card sales…FAST.    Here’s how it works.  Announce an in-store promotion to see who can sell the most gift cards over a 30-day period.

Explain - there will only be one winner - but the prize is worth fighting for…

The lone winner will receive a CASH PRIZE worth 10% of the total face value of the gift cards they sold. (Remember… 15% will go unredeemed so the prize costs you nothing).

7) Use Your Gift Cards As Trade Cards

Why pay cash when you can pay with gift cards?

You know the statistics on breakage. Plus, paying cash doesn’t bring customers into your store. It’s like turning regular expenses into marketing opportunities. So look for the opportunities to pay with gift cards.

I traded for: Radio Advertising… TV ads…  Print Ads…  Equipment Repair… Landscaping… a car stereo… Auto repair (they constantly called asking if I needed anything worked on). 

Pizza is a great currency… easy to trade.

8) Holiday Gift Card Promotion

This is a popular promotion among retail and restaurant chains, especially between October and December.

Offer discounted gift cards - $25 card for $20. Buy a $50 card and get a $10 card free. 

And… as a way to encourage customers to join your loyalty program - reserve this offer for loyalty members only. That way, customers join your loyalty program to get the discounted cards. 

Confession: I bought $1,000 in gift cards to one of my favorite local restaurants when they offered a free $25 gift card for every $100 in cards. 

So they got $1,000 up front, and I get $250 in free meals.

9) eGift Cards: Sell these puppies online!

W/COVID-19 eGift Card sales are surging… people EXPECT to buy gift cards online as an easy gift.

If you don't offer these... they'll get'em from your competitors who do.

Go here to see how this works.

If your gift card provider doesn't offer this - we'll hook you up (it's super cheap too). Just contact us to see if this is a fit for you...


Sell Local Restaurant Gift Cards in Costco

Costco… They’ll put huge gift card displays for local merchants right up front. Many of our clients do this now... and you can too. 

Gonna take some effort though. Contact your local Costco manager and initiate a conversation.

You have nothing to lose... but HUGE exposure if you pull it off.


And remember, if you need a serious restaurant marketing platform to attract customers and grow sales on auto-pilot... 

Schedule Time to Talk

Be well my friend...

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