Written by: J. Vigotsky
If you’re looking for ways to increase brand awareness, selling restaurant merchandise is a great option. Although offering custom merchandise likely won’t make a significant impact on your bottom line, it excels at getting the word out about your bar or restaurant. This post will explore different items that can be used for merchandising as well as cover a few basic tips when it comes to selling.
The Best Items for Merchandising
Items you’re selling should capture the essence of your bar or restaurant. So if you’re offering a T-shirt, be sure to make it unique. You can do so with a witty one-liner, bold colors, or even an interesting font. Not only will this make this customers more likely to buy the shirt, but it will also pique the interest of their friends, family, and whoever else is exposed to the shirt.
If you own a bar or pub, drinking glasses are the obvious merchandising choice. Offering cocktail glasses, wine glasses, beer mugs, and shot glasses ensures there’ll be a type of glass for everyone. Bottle openers can be great, inexpensive alternatives. Especially if you don’t want to invest too much capital in merchandise.
Other merchandising ideas include dinner plates, bowls, cozies, pens, key chains, caps, toys, and sauces. What you choose to offer largely depends on the type of restaurant you operate. If you run a family-style establishment that serves a lot of children, toys can be a great offering. On the other hand, renowned barbecue joints are better-suited by offering delicious sauces that patrons can bring home. Overall, apparel is usually the best choice since it’s so great at raising brand awareness. No matter what you choose to merchandise, make sure the item fits the vibe of your establishment.
Tips to Maximize Merchandise Sales
Always ensure your merchandise is easily visible to customers. Ideally. It should be in the front where people enter and exit the restaurant. It’s not likely that people will go out of their way to find whatever items you have for sale. So the onus is on you give them every opportunity to make a purchase. Also make sure your merchandise items have prices on them so people know exactly how much they cost. If a patron is interested in a product but doesn’t know how much it costs, chances are he will just walk out without it. And if possible, also offer products through online outlets like your website and social media.
If your restaurant doesn’t already have strong visual branding, consider hiring a professional who can help. After all, there’s no point in in putting your restaurant’s name and logo on items if it’s not appealing to customers.
Always be brainstorming. The first merchandising idea you get might not be the best one so be sure to have numerous merchandising options you can choose from. Try asking each staff member to come up with several ideas each. Lay out all the ideas, choose the best one, and put a plan to action.
If it’s an option, order custom merchandise from local businesses. A major advantage of this is shipping costs are minimized. Another perk is the owner and workers will be more likely to eat at your restaurant and even recommend it to their own customers.
No one knows your bar or restaurant as well as you do. So while it’s great to get other peoples’ opinions about what you should merchandise, the decision is ultimately yours. Take time to decide what items mesh best with your restaurant’s style. And as always—go with your gut.