Restaurant Row – What To Do With Restaurant Gift Cards

Rather than take up valuable space in your silent auction, why not simplify the process and offer restaurant gift cards for immediate sale?

Everyone likes to eat out, and restaurant gift cards are great revenue generators; however, sometimes you have so many it becomes a distraction from larger items. A great solution is to create a Restaurant Row.

How Does it Work?

Ask local restaurants to donate gift cards for their establishment. Focus on food (rather than merchandise) and know your audience—do they prefer burgers or steak? Target the restaurants that will appeal to your guests.

Set up a table in a prominent position and create a fun, attractive display for the restaurant gift cards. There are many ways to display the cards including hanging or taping them to a board where they can quickly be grabbed and handed to the guest. Or, you could list the restaurants on a chalkboard — similar to a daily specials board — and erase or remove them once their gift cards are sold out.

Even though you’re selling these cards outright, make it easier on your guests and just take down their bidder number. That way they can pay for all their purchases at once during checkout. List each card on a separate line on the bid sheet.
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You’ll need at least one volunteer to set out more cards as they are sold and make sure guests enter their bidder number on the bid sheets.

Variations And Other Names
There are many names for this type of fundraiser: Grub Grab, Foodie Frenzy, Dine-N-Dash, Food-To-Go, etc. You can use one of these or come up with your own.

Jon’s Advice

Note: Many states have specific rules that govern auction games. Make sure to check your state’s raffle licensing laws as well as your organization’s bylaws. Also, check on alcohol sales rules and permits, as well as firearms, if those will be available at your event or in the auction.
  • Fixed dollar amounts work better than a “dinner for four” because everyone has a different idea of how much that’s worth.
  • Only offer discounts if you have a few remaining cards that aren’t selling.
  • Create a Listing Board, a poster or dry erase board, listing all the restaurant gift cards. When you sell one, cross it off the list. It helps people see how fast the cards are selling.
  • Use a computer monitor to display the restaurant gift cards for sale. Don’t forget to include the restaurants’ logos to capture your guests’ attention. And maybe display one of the mouthwatering selections to really tempt your guests.

Some Personal Insight from Jon

The Restaurant Row concept is a great way to utilize donated gift cards that don’t fit well into a silent or live auction package. They are an easy sell, at a reasonable price point for your guests who don’t have the budget for the big auction items! I’ve also heard this called a “Feeding Frenzy” and incorporated it into the live auction as a warm up. Essentially, the auctioneer offers up the gift cards at face value to the first bidder that raises their paddle.

This article is part of our 26 Proven Revenue Enhancers for Your Fundraiser eBook available as a free download. If you looking for new revenue enhancing ideas and how to incorporate them into your event—this easy-to-use lookbook is for you.

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