Now that the holidays are in full swing, it’s time to take a closer look at your guests’ spending habits. This is a very lucrative time of year for most retail businesses, including restaurants. As party-goers stock up on gifts for their friends and family, you can bet they’ll plan a few lunch dates to fuel their shopping sprees. Here’s what restaurant operators can expect from consumers this season:

 

Growth Spurt

Although 77% of consumers plan to spend the same or more than usual this holiday season, 48% of adults aged 18-24 said they plan to spend more. Generation Z is excited to celebrate this year. Perhaps this is because some of them are employed for the first time, and looking forward to buying gifts with the money they earned. We can’t say whether this trend will carry forward into future years, but for now, restaurants can count on increased spending from younger diners.

 

The Gift of Giving

Gift cards have always been a popular holiday present, and this year is no exception. In 2018, restaurants stand to profit more from this trend than other businesses: 36% of gift card buyers planning to purchase restaurant gift cards. These stocking stuffers also represent a valuable marketing strategy for business owners, as they encourage new guests to try out your cuisine, and spread the word about your restaurant organically. While this spending habit may not impact your overall sales immediately, it’s safe to assume that it will increase guest loyalty in the long term.

 

Holiday Cards

Credit cards continue to be a popular form of payment for holiday gifts. 42% of shoppers will charge their purchases, while 39% will use a debit card. Interestingly, over 40% of shoppers are also considering emerging payment methods, such as PayPal, Apple Pay, and Google Wallet. Make sure your restaurant is set up to accept as many different payment methods as possible, so you can accommodate everyone who walks in your door. At this busy time of year, it’s especially important that you utilize a secure, reliable Point of Sale system to keep your customers’ data safe from prying eyes.

 

As the younger generation joins the workforce, we can expect consumer spending habits to change. These young diners are more focused on transparency than their parents, looking up every purchase online before they commit to it. This holiday season, make sure you connect with these guests through your website and social media to ensure they’ll help you spread the cheer all year long.