Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) is launching gift cards across its portfolio of brands, which it said would open up new opportunities, including offering better promotional coupon campaigns, enhanced social media marketing and providing digital gift vouchers to guests. Starting this week across the group’s Harvester estate, guests are able to buy gift cards over the bar and online, so that they can enjoy eating and drinking one of the company’s 1,600 businesses - or treat friends and family to a gift. Toby Carvery, Crown Carveries, Browns, Miller & Carter and Vintage Inns will provide the cards from mid-September and they will be available in Ember Inns, Sizzling Pubs, Oak tree pubs, Premium Country Dining Group, Castle, Nicholson’s, Village Pub and Kitchen, O'Neill’s and All Bar One from October. The company, which is on a three-year technology journey, said it had reached “the exciting stage of introducing new infrastructure that supports real time gift card validation in our businesses”, and the central systems required for reporting, managing and properly accounting for a gift card scheme on such a large scale. It said that the new technology would open up new opportunities – offering better promotional coupon campaigns, enhanced social media marketing and provide digital gift vouchers to guests, including capacity to access social media gifting such as the Wrapp Facebook application. Simon Cope, marketing director, said: “Gift cards will encourage and build on customer loyalty across our market leading brands, as well as attract new guests to come and eat and drink with us. We believe our guests will enjoy the convenience and flexibility of using gift cards as well as benefit from new marketing opportunities due to the new technology available to us.”