Easy Way to Increase Revenues for the Holidays

 In 1. David Scott Peters, Increase sales
By David Scott Peters

Gift CardMost independents don’t take advantage of gift cards like the major chains do. Any major restaurant chain — Applebee’s, Chili’s, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, etc. — does a big push to sell gift cards during the holidays. Their servers wear buttons, they put out table tents, posters are everywhere from entryways to restrooms, and they definitely hawk them in commercials.

Gift cards are a HUGE infusion of cash for your business. And cash pays the bills, not profits, right?

You can’t show the profit until the cards are cashed, but you can take advantage of the influx of cash while you have it. And the flip side is that approximately 16 percent of all gift cards are not cashed, giving you a nice boost in your bottom line. And that’s not the only additional cash you have the opportunity to score. The average recipient spends 20 percent more than their card’s initial value.

Let’s talk about a few things you can do to sell the heck out of them.

Tell your customers you have these gift cards (use cards, not paper gift certificates). Convince them that a gift card from your restaurant is what all their friends and family want for the holidays. In fact, they can give them as Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza gifts. And don’t forget New Year’s!

Your promotion can begin as early as right now and should include a selection or all of the tactics below:

  1. Point of sale signage
  2. Table tents
  3. Signs
  4. Posters
  5. Web site banners
  6. Newsletter, direct mailer
  7. Advertising such as on the radio, in the newspaper or on TV

You also need your servers on board. Put a contest in place that motivates them and shows them why they should bother to sell these things. Offer them $1 for every gift card sold, or a raffle ticket for each card sold that is then put in for a drawing. Make the prize something they want to win — anything with an “i” in front of the name is always popular. Or offer a bonus day off or free meals for a month to the person who sells the most cards by Dec. 31.

Give them language and scripts and train them how to sell the gift cards. If they’re prepared and see how to work it in at every table, they’re more likely to take action.

There is no better way to fill your coffers with usable cash now, build good will with your customers and drive people into your restaurant all next year. Once you put the program in place and train your servers, the system will practically take care of itself and you can only benefit.

David Scott Peters is a restaurant expert, speaker, coach and trainer for independent restaurant owners. He is the founder of TheRestaurantExpert.com and the developer of SMART Systems Pro,an online restaurant management software program helping the independent restaurant owner remain competitive and profitable in an industry boxed in by the big chain restaurants. He and a team of experienced and passionate coaches help restaurant owners solve their biggest financial and employee challenges so they can run successful and profitable businesses. Learn more atwww.TheRestaurantExpert.com.


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