The summer is in full swing and the holidays are probably the last thing on your mind. As much as we don’t want to think about snowflakes and holly branches, now is actually the best time to start thinking about your restaurant’s holiday-themed gift and promo cards. Here’s why:
In a recent survey, 73 percent of adults said they would purchase at least one gift card to give as a gift during the holidays. Those same adults said that 34 percent of the gift cards they planned to purchase would be for restaurants. With gift cards being such a hot item, restaurants should make sure they have an ample supply of holiday-themed cards and carriers.
Save on Cost
Off-set and digital card production can be a lengthy process, ranging anywhere from 2-8 weeks for manufacturing time. Unless you have your own printing equipment, chances are your cards are being printed in the same facility as other restaurant’s cards, in addition to all the other industries that offer cards. Higher card volumes being printed means longer production times. Order cards in advance and avoid rush fees or expedited shipping expenses to meet deadlines.
Time for Adjustments
Imagine your designer comes up with a beautiful design for the holidays with shining silver snowflakes and your brand written in raised font for that extra special pop. Now imagine your cards arrive the week before black Friday (the official holiday shopping kickoff day). You eagerly tear open the box only to find a word on the back is misspelled. Now you’re left with the difficult choice of whether to make your cards available for purchase, knowing everyone will see the spelling blunder; or ask the manufacturer for a very time consuming and very expensive reprint.
Leaving card design and production until the last minute can jeopardize the quality and appearance of your cards. Allowing several weeks between when your cards are scheduled to complete and when they need to be on the shelves will give you time to request a reprint of your cards should something go wrong with production.
Time to Work with your Technology Consultant
Whether you are coming up with a new holiday promotion for your guests or incentivizing guests to buy your gift cards with a deal, it’s important to allow plenty of time to work with your Technology Consultant to ensure your program is set up properly on the back-end. Rules and templates can be set up in advance and then activated along with the cards at a later date of your choosing.
Peace of Mind
Most manufacturers offer drop shipping, which allows you to ship your card order to multiple locations or warehouses. Some manufacturers will even hold onto your card order until you are ready to have it ship. By having your cards ready to ship by early fall (around the time when all your competitors are scrambling to come up with designs and make sure their cards will be at their locations in time for the holidays) you can sit back and relax knowing your cards are printed and ready to be distributed when the holiday shopping season begins.
Not Going with a Holiday Theme?
Manufacturers experience extremely high volumes of orders in the fall leading up to the holidays, which can increase production time by several weeks. Even if you are not planning on printing holiday-themed cards, it is important to get your card orders in sooner than later so your cards have enough time to complete before you run out of inventory.
Final Words of Advice
Whether you are planning on ordering a specially designed card for the upcoming holiday season or just know you’ll be needing more gift, comp, or loyalty cards soon, now is the time to start thinking about placing your order. By adding this task into your marketing calendar now, you will avoid any unwanted stress or expenses when the holiday season arrives.
Our cards team is always available to discuss your needs.
Also, check out our “Accounting for Gift Card Growth Channels” now for information on how to account for new accounting rules. Plus, you’ll hear a real-life holiday paradox that has to do with a marketing team selling $3 million in gift cards to Costco during a past holiday season.