The Lunch Buddy Gift Card allows users to give a little of themselves by purchasing a gift card either online or at any Noodles & Company restaurant location. The card is equipped with its own easel and features the line, "Have lunch with me, anytime." To personalize the card, the user can visit the Lunch Buddy Support Center online to upload and print their photo.
"It's a sea of sameness out there and gift cards, while a great last minute gift idea, seem impersonal," says Jill Preston, director of communications at Noodles & Company. "So we wanted to provide a fun, personalized alternative. If you aren't able to actually meet up with that friend, you can buy a Lunch Buddy Gift Card and feel good knowing you've made someone smile."
Those who order cards online can choose to upload and resize a photo of themselves or they can use a webcam to take a photo right there. Or they can select a photo of a stand-in "buddy" from a photo gallery provided on the site. Givers can even guarantee their buddy's availability for the virtual lunch date by using a calendar blocker feature to choose a specific day and time for the lunch.
Lunch Buddy cards are available in any amount at a Noodles location, or in $20 amounts if ordered online. The cards never expire, and can be reloaded at any Noodles location and reused for as many "lunch dates" as desired.
Gift givers also are invited to participate in the Lunch Buddy Photo Contest launching in mid-December through the initiative’s Web site. Participants will be asked to upload a photo of themselves and their buddy spending time together in addition to a description of the activity. Visitors to the site can then vote on the photo that they believe captures the true essence of buddy time. The winner with the most votes during the contest period will receive free Noodles for an entire year and will be known as the "Buddiest Buddy."
"The Lunch Buddy Gift Card is the perfect stocking stuffer for family members across the country or in the military, friends with busy schedules, or grandparents who can't get enough of their grandchildren," Preston says. "It's a way to really be there for your buddy, even when you can't be—sort of."