8 Great Gift Card Marketing Ideas for Restaurants

Part 2

Gift card marketing is a valuable way to diversify your revenue stream, while increasing customer volume – two factors that are essential to business recovery in 2021-22. Gift cards provide restaurants with an immediate source of revenue – cash that can be incredibly valuable in the early months of recovery.


8 Great Restaurant Gift Card Marketing Ideas

1. Increase In-Store Visibility
Whether you’re fully open for dine-in or you’re still focused on takeout and delivery, it’s important to increase in-store signage for gift cards. If possible, create an eye-catching display to draw attention to the fact that gift cards are readily available from your restaurant. 

Of course, not every restaurant has the means to whip something up in Photoshop on a moment’s notice. If your design skills are limited, you can always use your words. Let customers know that gift cards are an easy way to support the independent restaurants they love and that purchasing a gift card will help your business continue serving the community.

2. Motivate Staff to Promote Gift Cards

If your order volume is still below pre-COVID levels, it’s vital that staff make the most of every interaction with customers – even if it’s over the phone, email, or social media. Make sure that staff are reminding customers that gift cards are a great way to support your restaurant right now and ensure they explain exactly how your gift cards can be purchased.

While motivating staff to promote gift cards is important, stay away from mandatory quotas or creating competition among staff. Keep in mind that this is still a trying time for your team, so aim to keep things as positive as possible.

3. Go Digital

With social distancing still the norm and fewer opportunities to interact with customers, digital gift cards are increasingly valuable for restaurants. As mentioned above, digital gift cards allow customers to immediately support your business – without the need to set foot in your store – making them a safe and convenient option for customers.

Of course, your customers can’t purchase digital gift cards if they don’t know that it’s an option. If you already have a gift card integration on your website, add a promotional gift card banner to your homepage to make sure that it’s the first thing customers see when they visit your site.

4. Use Email Campaigns

Many venues have relied on restaurant email marketing to stay in touch with customers throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. If you already have a solid email list, this is the perfect marketing channel to advertise your gift cards. Just make sure that any emails you send clearly explain how customers can purchase gift cards from you – whether it’s digitally or in-store.

5. Leverage Social Media

Customers don’t always go directly to a restaurant’s website, which is why it’s important to promote gift cards across all your channels, including social media. On Instagram, Facebook, and any other social media platforms you use, highlight your gift cards to make sure customers know their options. And don’t forget to explain how customers can purchase gifts cards in your post – whether it’s online, through your dedicated app, over the phone, or even by email.

6. Promote Self-Gifting

Traditionally, restaurant gift cards have been a great gift option for the holidays or other special occasions – hence the name, gift cards. However, sometimes no special occasion is necessary. Remind your customers that self-gifting is also an option and can be a great way to treat themselves or their family to a delicious meal in the near future.

This is especially important as a growing number of consumers are looking for ways to support local businesses. If your customers are looking for opportunities to support your restaurant, remind them that they can simply buy a gift card (or other merchandise) for themselves and enjoy it at a later date.

7. Sweeten the Deal

Restaurants have long used the tactic of throwing in additional perks if customers purchase a gift card worth a certain amount. For instance, customers might receive an extra $10 gift card with the purchase of a $50 gift card. This can incentivize customers to purchase a larger gift card amount to receive the additional credit. Similarly, you might offer a bonus gift card, or a certain percentage off the face value of the gift card, if customers purchase on a particular day or at a specific time.

8. Bundle Your Gift Cards

For some restaurants, takeout and delivery operations have significantly ramped up (and stayed that way). If takeout and delivery are a big part of your business, you might want to consider bundling gift cards with certain orders. For instance, if a customer places a large order for takeout or meets a certain dollar amount for delivery, you could offer a gift card for a discounted fee.


Get Started Now with Customer Loyalty Accelerator
Clover merchants now have a terrific new option for cashing in on gift cards and spending-based loyalty rewards.  The Customer Loyalty Accelerator app combines all these features into one simple POS app.  CLA Gift Cards are both digital and physical. Even better, with CLA you get unlimited gift cards for one low monthly fee (only $10 more with the StarterPlus plan option).  See our Pricing page.


See Part 1:

Note:  This article has been adapted from one written by Katherine Pendrill,  the Content Marketing Manager at TouchBistro. https://www.touchbistro.com/