Restaurants to benefit from gift card popularity

Staff Writer
Restaurants to benefit from gift card popularity

Untapped demand for restaurant gift cards will result from an imbalance between givers and recipients this holiday season, according to the National Restaurant Association.

About one in five people, or 26 percent, plan to give a restaurant gift card this year, according to an Association survey of more than a thousand American adults about their holiday dining and restaurant gift card plans conducted from Dec. 8–11. However, nearly twice as many people, or 59 percent, said they would like to receive a restaurant gift card, suggesting a potential gift card deficit nationwide.

“Restaurant gift cards are high on the list of gifts consumers wish to receive this holiday season,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of the NRA’s research and knowledge group.

Additionally, recent National Retail Federation research that found that more than a third of all surveyed gift card shoppers, or 33.8 percent, plan to give restaurant gift cards, ranking them second in popularity behind department store cards, which will be given by 38.7 percent of those shoppers.

Eight in 10 shoppers anticipate buying gift cards of all types this holiday season and said they expected to spend an average of $155.43 on gift cards, the highest amount since 2007 and increase of 6.7 percent from $145.61 last year, according to the Federation’s 2011 Holiday Consumer Intentions and Actions survey. This holiday season, total spending on gift cards will reach $27.8 billion, according to the retail trade group’s research.

Much of the increase in gift card sales stems from the growing number of purchasing and delivery options, according to the Federation’s research and some card vendors. Restaurant gift cards are available at major retail locations and e-gift cards can be purchased online and delivered instantly via e-mail or text message.