How to Add Gift Cards to Your Bar or Restaurant Today

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As operators struggle to deal with severely limited traffic, stay-at-home and lockdown orders, and generating revenue, some are offering gift cards.

While it’s just one part of an overall survival strategy, adding gift cards to a business is a smart play, a move than can benefit a bar or restaurant today and in the near future.

But how simple is it to set up a bar or restaurant to offer and process gift cards?

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Toast

According to Toast, one of the most popular and feature-rich POS systems, 80 percent of guests spend more than the value of a gift card when they redeem it. On average, that amount is $59 over the gift card value.

The platform has also identified gift cards as the top guest loyalty driver. So, not only do gift cards provide an additional source of much-needed revenue, they’ll help drive loyalty when restaurants in many markets can offer more than takeout, delivery and drive-through food.

Currently, to help operators survive during the COVID-19 pandemic, the platform is offering Toast Now. There are three offers to choose from: digital ordering plus gift cards, digital ordering, and gift cards.

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A bar or restaurant doesn’t need to be a Toast POS customer to take advantage of these services, there are no upfront costs, there are no commissions, each offer comes with three months free (with terms and conditions applying), and there’s no hardware to install—all that’s needed is WiFi. Not only does Toast Now give operators the ability to offer digital gift cards, it can help them set up another revenue driver: delivery.

TouchBistro

Consistently ranked at the top of POS lists, it’s no surprise that TouchBistro offers gift card functionality for bars and restaurants. For this platform, gift cards fall under their TouchBistro Loyalty integrations.

Those who already use TouchBistro won’t need to purchase additional hardware unless they add Order Ahead, which requires a separate iPad to receive orders. There are three Loyalty plans to choose from: TouchBistro Loyalty (starting at $49 per month), TouchBistro Loyalty Plus (starting at $99 per month), and TouchBistro Loyalty Premium (starting at $189 per month).

With many restaurants and bars that sell food currently subject to orders prohibiting dine-in service, and with people urged to practice social distancing, TouchBistro Loyalty Premium may be the best choice—it’s the only option that offers digital gift cards as opposed to just physical versions as a feature. Each package, however, collects and stores guest data and comes with loyalty marketing materials. If you’re using TouchBistro Loyalty, setup instructions are here.

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TouchBistro customers who aren’t currently using one of the platform’s Loyalty packages can still process gift cards. Instructions for setting up gift card processing for those not using TouchBistro Loyalty can be found here.

Upserve

Those who use this all-in-one restaurant management platform can easily add gift cards to their business. The POS system and Upserve Gift Cards are designed to integrate with one another seamlessly, and operators can upload their own designs or work the Upserve team to create custom artwork. The service starts at $50 per month, and you can learn more here.

In addition, Upserve has been helping operators capture delivery and takeout dollars during the coronavirus crisis. According a representative, 15 percent of Upserve clients opened new ordering sites last week, and the process took 24 hours or less. There’s no commission fee associated with Upserve’s delivery service, and the platform is waiving the first month fee to help operators implement online ordering quickly.

To drive traffic and promote their clients’ menus and new delivery and takeout capabilities, Upserve is creating free Facebook ads and activating additional resources.

Third-Party Options

There are solutions available for those who aren’t looking to activate a POS module dedicated to selling gift cards.

Gift Up!, for example, is a fully automated service that claims to work with any website, including Wordpress, Squarespace, GoDaddy and Big Cartel. There are no monthly or setup fees and the revenue generated is available within two working days. For each gift card sold, Gift Up! collects a fee of 3.49% which business owners can choose to have their customers pay.

GiftFly gives businesses access to a merchant dashboard and an app that enables operators to scan and redeem gift cards. The platform also makes it possible to promote and sell digital gift cards on Facebook. There are no monthly charges for merchants but they do collect a processing fee of 2.70 percent plus $0.30 per card transaction.

Visit the Pacific Cocktail Haven website and you’ll see a Giftly button prominently displayed on the homepage that directs you to PCH gift card page.

It’s possible your current POS platform has their own seamless gift card integration available, and they may be waiving subscription or setup fees during the novel coronavirus outbreak. Contact them today to see what they can do for you.

Read this: Sanitize Your Surfaces: How Long Can COVID-19 Survive? (Updated)

Will gift cards replace the revenue generated by a full bar or dining room? Not likely. But they can help keep a bar or restaurant afloat and also provide a way for the community and loyal guests to show their support.

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