With restaurants and cafes feeling the pressures of inflation and a decrease in customer spending, now is the time to look for new ways to attract patrons and increase spend per diner.
Spending at cafes, restaurants, and on takeaway food services has fallen for the first time since the COVID-19 lockdowns in September 2021. However, despite slowed retail spending nationwide, Australians are turning the tables with their affection for gifting.
Bolstering the trend, year-on-year spending on other people has surged by 60 per cent. As Australians continue to spend money on others, gift cards are playing an important role in facilitating that spending, which is good news for restaurants given the average spend on a Best Restaurants gift card is $190.
Research shows that Australia’s gift card industry is only expected to increase this year by more than 11 per cent from US$5446.5 million in 2021 to a staggering US$8504 million by 2026.
The surge in Australia’s gift card industry has been driven by a wide range of factors including growth of ecommerce, digital gifting, and initiatives undertaken by government, hospitality, and travel industries to revive growth.
Rajneen Arora, CEO of Best Gift Group, owners of Best Restaurants, says that Australia’s culture of generosity and the current economic climate is driving the popularity of gift cards.
“As the holiday season approaches, we expect to see this trend maintain its momentum with Australians picking gift cards (47 per cent, up from 44 per cent in 2019) … as [one of] their top choices,” says Arora.
“There’s no doubt the rising cost of living will further cement gift cards as a preference for receiving gifts this year.”
High-profile restaurants and Best Restaurants partners Meat & Wine Co report an upswing of 107 per cent per diner when patrons use a Best Restaurants gift card, while, Solotel Group which includes ARIA restaurant notes an additional 94 per cent spend on top of the value of the gift card.
Sydney’s China Doll’s customer spending shows gift card diners are spending an additional 421 per cent above the gift card value with the average spending between $300 to $500 at each restaurant.
This pattern in increased spending correlates with the psychology of having a portion of the bill already covered, meaning customers have a more relaxed attitude when it comes to ordering, both from the food menu and the wine list.
Interestingly, this spend generally happens within the three-month period following Christmas, traditionally a quieter time for most restaurants and cafes, making the appeal of gift cards even more attractive.
You can sign up to the program today at a reduced price of $399 annually to take advantage of this post Christmas customer spend.
Best Restaurants is a trusted market leader producing premium gift cards in the dining space and has more than 400 restaurant partners across Australia with direct booking through major booking engines.