Posts Tagged “marketing”

The industry rallied around gift cards, but did it help?

As the COVID-19 crisis gripped the restaurant industry, a call went out for people to purchase gift cards to help keep restaurants afloat. The hope was that an increase in gift card sales would sustain restaurants while they converted to a future dominated by online ordering, takeout, and delivery.

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The media ran with the story and restaurants nationwide sent out pleas to their customer base to help with a gift card or egift purchase.

An analysis of restaurant gift card sales in early 2020 reveals that the marketing effort worked but ultimately achieved mixed results. Overall, sales dropped during the pandemic, but that drop was much less severe than we saw in overall restaurant sales during that same period.

Around the same time we saw an increase in overall load amount on the cards purchased, with most of that increase happening in Casual and Fast Casual brands. This suggests that yes, the effort did manage to keep things from getting worse and provided restaurants with a much-needed kick. However, the actual impact on business is much more difficult to discern.

Gift card loads tend to hover around the $30 range for the industry as a whole, but in March we saw that number spike as high as $60, then settle in at about $15 higher than normal, eventually falling well below the normal benchmark.

Markets with the biggest impact

When we look closer, things vary through the industry. Fine Dining, for example, saw little movement in the average price of a gift card when compared year over year, while both Fast Casual and Casual Dining brands increases of between $10 and $30 on their average gift card sales. All that said, much of that lift was gone as we entered Q2. 

It’s also worth noting that included in the “gift cards” category are recurring loads for things like app-based purchases. Your coffee app may ask for your credit card, but you are effectively buying a gift card when you reload, then spending that money over time.

Moving forward, however, we see that gift card sales remain well below last year’s levels as we head into Q2, with traditional bumps in sales that happen around Mother’s Day and Graduation season being much less pronounced than in previous years. It is possible that people have switched to more generic gift card offerings, like those from third party delivery services, but we have little evidence to draw a full conclusion.

This is worth watching. However, given that the vast majority of gift card sales happen during the holiday season, we won’t have a good idea of whether there are major changes to the marketplace until the end of 2020.

When You’re Ready, We’re Here: Using Gift Cards to Boost Sales

March 26, 2020

It’s no secret that restaurants nationwide are hurting as we combat the spread of COVID-19. Some have closed completely for the time being, while others have shifted all operations to takeout and delivery to keep business moving and guests fed; but even the most loyal guests can only eat so much takeout.

So how can restaurants drive revenue without dining rooms, alcohol sales, and stellar hospitality? The answer for many has been simple: promote gift cards.

When all is said and done, gift cards essentially boil down to interest-free loans from the consumer, making them the perfect way for altruistic  guests to support their favorite brands, all while making a commitment to come back for a visit when dining rooms reopen.

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Why Customer Experience is Always an Uphill Battle: 5 Marketing Lessons from Miley Cyrus

If you have a teenage daughter or follow Liam Hemsworth’s life, then you probably recognize the title of this blog, which was inspired by “The Climb,” one of the many Miley Cyrus hit songs. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Miley Cyrus is a marketing genius. But you don’t have to take my word for it – Business Insider, Huffington Post, and Entrepreneur Magazine all know that Miley Cyrus has some serious marketing chops.

 

Below are five lessons any marketer can take from Miley and apply to their own brand.

 

78% of millennials prefer experiences over things

"There's always gonna be another mountain,
I'm always gonna wanna make it move,
Always gonna be an uphill battle,
Sometimes I'm gonna have to lose."

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1. Create an Experience for Your Guests - Miley Cyrus doesn’t just sing in front of a microphone on stage. In true pop culture fashion, her concertgoers are immersed in an overstimulating, audio-visual experience that includes synchronized dancing, elaborate props, costume changes, and much more. This is because Miley understands that 78% of millennials prefer experiences over things.* She leverages the tools at her disposal to create the best experience for her fans. *Source: Eventbrite
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How to Capitalize on Sports Fandom — Even If You’re Not a Sports Bar

How do sports impact restaurants — and even the revenue of non-sports-theme restaurants? Here are a few quick statistics: When Lebron James returned to Cleveland and the Cavaliers, the city saw a 30%-200% increase in local restaurant revenue.

His return boosted restaurant revenue all year long, including during winter, Cleveland’s traditional restaurant off-season.

Experts estimate that his return was worth $500 million to the city of Cleveland.

Sports mean big money for the restaurant industry — with or without your city’s own Lebron James.

But it’s likely that if you’re not a sports bar or sports-themed restaurant, you may have viewed sports promotions as outside of your purview. Not only is that a mistake, but it’s a costly one.

The sports industry is worth $73 billion and growing. In a nutshell, there are four ways to take advantage […]

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