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Restaurant gift cards abound on holiday wish lists this year, study finds

About 2 of 3 consumers hope to get one, according to the National Restaurant Association.
Photograph: Shutterstock

Nearly 2 of 3 American adults (62%) are hoping to receive a restaurant gift card this holiday season, in no small part because of the flexibility they provide, according to new research from the National Restaurant Association.

The group is trying to nudge up the percentage by pointing out in press materials that gift cards are virtually immune from the supply chain issues that could frustrate holiday shoppers and gift recipients this year. That hoped-for PS-5 might be stuck in a cargo container at Los Angeles Harbor, but gift cards are plentiful, the association notes.

“You can get them in any amount and technology makes them easy to share so you never have to worry about them being late or getting lost,” Hudson Riehle, the group’s SVP of research, said in a press statement. “People may be reluctant to give a gift card because they feel they’re too impersonal, but what you’re giving is the flexibility and opportunity for them to choose what they want.”

About two-thirds (62%) of consumers hoping to receive a gift card say they’d prefer one from their favorite restaurant, the association found. Twenty percent said they’d prefer a credit they could use at an unfamiliar place, and 18% voiced hopes the pass will be for a restaurant they wouldn’t try otherwise.

From an industrywide standpoint, strong gift card sales could translate into a pop in traffic. About 1 in 4 consumers (24%) intend to redeem their gift meals immediately, and 38% expect to spend the loaded money within several weeks.

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