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Gift Card Etiquette

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I recently received -- not as a gift, per se, but as a make-good for a work thing -- a gift card for any Smith/Wollensky group restaurant. Pretty much decided to try Quality Meats, but my question is, should i mention the card when reserving or simply present it at the end of the meal? Never had to use such a card at anything remotely high-end, so....

thanks in advance for the input!

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  1. I cannot see how it would matter in order to make reservations, but I would discretely mention it to hostess while in the process of being seated. Mess-ups with GC can and do happen and easier to correct and/or deal with before not after a meal.

    1. Since it obviously concerns you enough to ask here, it can't hurt to mention it - then you won't have even a lingering doubt whether there might be some problem. . IMNSHO, it shouldn't matter in the least - it's not even like a discount coupon or something like that. I would hope they don't, but they may have some kind of "policy" about using it to cover taxes and/or tips, and if that'll matter to you, you'd do better to ask beforehand.

      1. it doesn't matter, it's the same as cash to the restaurant, so you can just give it to the server when you get the bill. i've worked for the company, you can use it to cover the tip too if you like.

        1 Reply
        1. re: hotoynoodle

          thanks to all for the input -- and thanks especially for the S/W specific info!

        2. Whenever I'm in doubt about a restaurant's 'policy' I call them directly and just ask. You could do it anonymously and then make your reservation later.

          If it's a gift card, like a gift certificate, I don't see why it should make a difference. They've already been paid in advance.

          1. I just present the gift card along w/my credit/debit/cash form of payment. It would take a pretty dense server to not realize that the gift card should be used first and then any balance remaining to be owed would then be deducted from the other form of payment tendered.

            1. A gift card/certificate is the same as cash unless it is a promotional item, in which case it will likely have some restrictions, like an exclusion for alcohol, tax and tip. It will usually say so on the card or certificate. If you're not sure about exclusions, you should ask before ordering. If it's a card/certificate someone paid cash for, it's as good as cash and you don't need to mention it at all, just thow it in the check presenter at the end of your meal. Remember to tip on the sub total, not just the balance you owe after deducting the value of the card. You wouldn't believe how many people don't.

              1 Reply
              1. re: TruDiner

                That's horrible. Restaurants should tack on a mandatory 15% gratuity on gift card purchases, and then charge the balance to your credit card.