Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gift Cards Versus Gift Certificates

I was talking with Lee Connally owner of the Grill at Ryan Ranch the other day and checking out his great specials for New Years Eve dinner, and the conversation got around to Gift Cards. Lee had a great Christmas till New Years special on Grill Gift Cards. He was running a $100 card special for only $90.00 if purchased there at the Grill.

Lee has found that a Gift Card program is much more effective that a gift certificate because the cards are so convienant and are standardized for the consumer.

While some gift card companies will work through your pos or credit card company and will manage inquiries and reload value through their customer service for a fee, Lee purchased a stand alone program with the customer service number on the card being the restaurant themselves. This way he is personally handling any issues directly with his customers.

Studies show that people spend more on gift cards than on gift certificates. The average gift card denomination in 2004 was $50 -- twice the amount people would spend on the average gift certificate.

There’s a number of websites that will offer you a deep discount, up to 50% off if you purchase restaurant gift certificates online. In fact at there are nearly 3 dozen Central Coast restaurants participating including a $100 gift card for the Highlands Inn for only $40.00!

Back to the Grill, on New Years Eve with seating until 8:30 pm and for $35.95 per person you can start with a choice of their Signature salad, Caesar salad or Shrimp Bisque followed by your choice of entrée from Fillet Mignon, Mahi Mahi, Rack of Lamb, Portabella Mushroom Stack, or Dungeness Crab Stuffed Prawns with all the fixings.

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