Yes, you’re going to be busy this season. Employees will be maxed out, customers stressed out and many shifts will feel like a drive-by attack, instead of an opportunity to thank guests for their support. But there are ways that you can offer guests extra perks while building sales and improving service. Gift cards—with promotions that pamper guests—can bring you additional sales when you need them (after the holidays). Here are a few ideas to maximize gift card sales this season:
- Free appetizer right now – Offer guests a free appetizer or a dessert with their purchase of a gift card. Use signage in your operation and on your website and coach your sales team to remind guests of this promotion as they’re taking orders.
- Party perks – Large groups are captive audiences and if you offer 5 or 10 percent off an entire order (with the purchase of gift cards that can only be used at a future date), you’ll motivate them to buy cards that at least equal your discounts. Before you call it a “wash,” consider your absence of advertising costs and the opportunity to reach additional (even new) customers. Remember that gift card users are more likely to purchase additions (appetizers, sides, desserts, premium drinks, etc.) than those who aren’t using gift cards, bringing in more profits down the road.
Other ways to show appreciation and boost sales include:
- Free coffee all month – Your guests will appreciate the sentiment and you’ll provide servers with the sales opportunity to suggestively sell desserts.
- Wine while you wait – As the line grows, your tired customers may opt to skip the 45 minutes of standing and head home (or somewhere else). A bottle of house wine (or even a jug) can make the wait seem worthwhile. A tray of appetizers that you pass around also spreads good cheer, while boosting sales when guests are seated.
- “Our gift to you” – Be sure to acknowledge regular guests with freebies when you see them (desserts to take home, gift cards to use later, free appetizers tonight). It’s a great way to reward their loyalty, boost their word-of-mouth advertising and, hey, it is the season for giving, right?
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