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Published in CSP Daily News

Technomic sees strong, growing interest in restaurant gift cards

CHICAGO -- Even though gift card programs are still relatively new to the restaurant industry, consumers are quickly adopting them as appealing gift-giving options. Recent consumer research conducted by Technomic found that 35% of consumers reported giving restaurant gift cards over the past holiday season, while 43% received them.

Both givers and receivers are satisfied: nearly 70% of gift-card givers said they were a better choice than regular gifts; among restaurant gift-card recipients, 97% hope to receive them again. Of those that [image-nocss] gave restaurant gift cards, nearly 40% said they plan to purchase even more of them during the next holiday season.

Spending patterns are changing in ways that support the continued growth of gift cards, says Michael Allenson, director of Technomic's Center for Consumer Research. Consumer acceptance of gift cards, coupled with a growing hunger for experiences' rather than things,' create an excellent opportunity for restaurant companies.

Allenson said the issue is no longer whether restaurants should offer stored-value gift cards, but how to stay ahead of the curve in technology and marketing, expanding programs into other venues and gift-giving occasions and maximizing the proven benefits of the cards.

Chicago-based Technomic provides food and foodservice clients with the research, insights and strategic consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include category and channel analyses, customer satisfaction studies, opportunity assessments, benchmarking programs and brand equity enhancement. Technomic offers clients proprietary management consulting solutions and shared-cost, common-interest research.