November 18, 2021

Restaurant Gift Cards are the Holiday Present Everyone Will Devour

Support recovering local restaurants by shopping on Small Business Saturday
Washington, D.C. – Shoppers worried about finding the perfect gifts that won’t get delayed in transit should stock up on restaurant gift cards because according to new research from the National Restaurant Association, more than 60% of people are hoping to receive a restaurant gift card this holiday season.

“Whether they want to eat out or order in, gift cards will work for everyone on your list; 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,” said Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of Research for the National Restaurant Association. “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. Plus, they’re a great option if you’re looking to give an experience rather than a material item.”

While you’re making your shopping lists over the next few weeks, keep these numbers in mind:
  • 62% of adults would like to like to receive a restaurant gift card
  • 62% those people would prefer one for their favorite restaurant
  • 20% want to try a new spot
  • 18% want to try a place they would never pick on their own
When asked about their plans for using the restaurant gift cards, 24% said they would use them as soon as possible; 38% said they would use theirs within a few weeks; another 38% said they would save it for a special occasion.

For people who are looking to shop local or to support small businesses, restaurants are a great option.

“Gift cards are easy to purchase at any time, but Small Business Saturday on November 27 is a good time to start. More than 70% of restaurants are small businesses that support the local economy with jobs and provide a gathering place for everyone. Many of these restaurants were hit hard by the pandemic and are struggling to rebuild,” said Riehle.

The National Restaurant Association conducted an online survey of 1,027 adults Nov. 12-14, 2021, asking questions about their perceptions of restaurant gift cards. See the finding here.

About the National Restaurant Association

Founded in 1919, the National Restaurant Association is the leading business association for the restaurant industry, which comprises more than 1 million restaurant and foodservice outlets and a workforce of 15.5 million employees. Together with 52 State Associations, we are a network of professional organizations dedicated to serving every restaurant through advocacy, education, and food safety. We sponsor the industry's largest trade show (National Restaurant Association Show); leading food safety training and certification program (ServSafe); unique career-building high school program (the NRAEF's ProStart). For more information, visit and find @WeRRestaurants on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.