A gift registry for restaurant gift cards has expanded from Chicago to San Francisco. Foodie Registry (www.FoodieRegistry.com) allows engaged couples to create a gift registry for restaurant gift certificates, offering them an alternative to traditional wedding registries.

It’s a great idea in an era when couples tying the knot have typically already lived together or set up home alone prior to marriage. Sixty-five restaurants are included from Chicago and so far eight are available for San Francisco, but many more are expected to come.

“Modern couples also have a much higher appreciation for the value of experiences and time spent with loved ones,” says Ben Reid, Foodie Registry co-founder. “We fill that gap, along with providing a fresh, unique alternative to the status quo.” Reid and his wife Jennifer created the company after eschewing the traditional registry at their own wedding in 2008 and creating a “restaurant registry” instead. The registry was a huge hit with guests, and Foodie Registry was born.

Foodie Registry is tapping into consumers’ love of gift certificates and coupons. In recent years, gift cards have proliferated at retail locations, offering everything from meals to spa services and money to spend at home improvement stores. And as Americans get used to services like Groupon, this service is likely to become even more attractive. Foodie Registry is free and functions just like a normal registry, where the gifts are restaurant gift certificates.

Gift purchasers can view their friends’ registry and purchase a gift certificate for them right from the site.

The website makes money on a revenue share with the restaurants, but the service is—and always will be—fee-free for both registrants and purchaser, Reid says. Unlike with many gift card programs, restaurants receive payment for the cards within a few days of a purchase, instead of at the time of usage. Foodie Registry does, however, take 18 percent of sales, (the 3 percent credit card fee the restaurant would have had to pay and 15 percent for marketing and margins).

Industry News, Marketing & Promotions, NextGen Casual