Gift cards aren’t a new concept in the restaurant industry. Before they were plastic cards, there were paper gift certificates.But While the gift card space overall has grown with all types of business, both bricks and mortar as well as digital platforms, we have seen a majority of restaurants still not utilizing them to grow their business or bring new people through their front door.

According to FSR Magazine, about 44% of customers said that a gift card would encourage them to visit a restaurant they wouldn’t have otherwise. This combined with the fact that restaurant delivery has been growing constantly since the pandemic, gift cards can be a great way to acquire new customers, and use it to increase your revenue at the same time. 

In this post, we will cover 4 reasons why every restaurant should utilize gift cards as a part of their offering and their overall growth strategy. 

Preparing for the Holiday Season:

The holiday season is the season of gifting. No wonder, all the major retail stores push more gift cards through that season as compared to any other time in the year. 

According to a survey, gift card sales grow by about 114% on average for retailers in the holiday season. 

With that being said, having a proper gift card strategy in place, restaurants can ride the wave, and ensure they have an offering in the market, and cash in on the opportunity. This enables restaurants to increase their revenue and provide value to their customers while offering products they might be interested in. 

While many full service restaurants provide gift cards at face value, many quick service brands provide bonuses for those who are purchasing to increase average basket size. For example, some sandwich shops offer a complimentary sandwich to the purchaser upon purchase of a gift card up to a certain amount. Or in other cases, bonus loyalty points are awarded to the purchaser. There are many different ways you can leverage the purchaser to drive a potential sale and increase in the amount of total dollars of the gift card

Increase Basket Size:

Another great advantage that gift cards bring to the table is by increasing the average basket size of your transactions. A little extra boost to a restaurant’s transactions can make a big impact in the overall bigger picture. 

The best part about gift cards is that users are 2.5 times more open to paying the full price for an item when utilizing them. For restaurants it means less discounts, and more profits. 

Smooth Commerce can help restaurants easily integrate gift cards with their ordering experience, and allow your customers to have a seamless experience when buying and redeeming gift cards. 

Read: 4 Tips to increase your Average Basket Size

Bringing New People to their Store-Front:

Since a majority of gift cards are utilized for gifting purposes, oftentimes than not, gift cards end up in the hands of people who have never tried a restaurant’s food – new customers.

This presents restaurants with the opportunity to draw new people in, and build them into long lasting customers through exceptional service and food. 

If a restaurant’s online ordering system allows for gift card redemption, gift cards can also increase user sign up, and provide opportunities to remarket and reach out to the new customer after they have placed an order for delivery or takeout.

Thus, having a proper gift card strategy in place, restaurants can not only bring new customers in, but also use it as a way to increase user adoption, and an opportunity to market to this new customer more effectively, increasing the chance drive recurring revenue.

Upfront Revenue and a Secure Sale in Future:

Since gift cards have no expiration date, it is easier to order large quantities of them, and store them without risking any damages. 

At the same time, when a restaurant sells a gift card, they’ve secured a purchase in future, but get rewarded for it instantly. 

According to a study, about 10% to 19% of the gift card balance is never redeemed, and about 6% of the entire gift cards are never even utilized. Coupling that with the fact that the gift card revenue for the last 10 years stands at $1trillion, the unutilized revenue can amount to a big number over time.

This way restaurants can use the excess cash flow to grow and improve operations, while not having to provide a service or food items right that instant. 

There are many benefits for restaurants by utilizing a gift card strategy in their marketing mix. What more ways do you think gift cards can help restaurants in growing their business?

Smooth Commerce’s gift card system that allows restaurants to sell, and manage gift cards using their digital platform. To learn more, reach out to us for a quick demo to learn how you can improve your bottom line utilizing gift cards.

About Smooth Commerce

Smooth Commerce is a digital ordering, customer marketing and loyalty platform for restaurants. We take ordering to the next level with personalized customer engagement, making your digital storefront the cornerstone of your brand. By solving more restaurant pain points in one digital platform than anyone else, we put you back in control of the customer’s experience with your brand to promote profitable sales growth.

If you would like to learn more or talk to a representative from Smooth Commerce about how our platform can help you meet your loyalty goals, contact us at