When Manuel’s on the 28th closed last week, a lot of people were left holding gift certificates and gift cards. Ordinarily, when a restaurant closes with no sister restaurants to honor the cards, which is the case here, the cardholder is left with a lovely plastic reminder of a restaurant that no longer exists, a card that is essentially worthless.
But all may not be lost.
Manuel’s co-owner Hal Valdes says that he and partner Manny Garcia are working with some other restaurant groups to find a way that would allow some of the gift cards to be honored. It won’t be an across the board solution — there are many different types of gift certificates, says Valdes, and not all will be redeemable under the deal he’s trying to work out.
But stay tuned — I’ll have an update for you as soon as a decision is made.
In the meantime, go through your desk drawers, wallets and files and gather all your restaurant gift cards, then make plans to use them. Tonight. This weekend at the latest. Even if they’re for restaurants you think will survive this economy. There are no guarantees, and the fine print on the card will tell you it has no cash value. Its value is in its exchange for goods and services, and when those goods and services are no longer being offered, the gift card is worthless. Treat yourself to a meal while it still has value. You won’t find a lot of restaurants that will even try to honor the cards, as Manuel’s owners are attempting to do.