Especially if you’re located in an area dense with competing restaurants, restaurant marketing can make or break your business. There are plenty of ways to promote your restaurant, ranging anywhere from TV commercials and billboards to loyalty programs and coupon marketing. One new and exciting trend in restaurant marketing is branded merchandise.
Otherwise known as restaurant swag, branded merchandise typically consists of t-shirts, baseball hats, pint glasses, or other fun accessories that contain your restaurant’s name or logo. Some restaurants may even sell signature sauces in a branded bottle.
There’s no doubt that the quality of the food should be the top priority of any restaurant. But selling branded merchandise is a great way to build brand loyalty and market to potential customers. Like a billboard, seeing someone in a branded t-shirt creates brand awareness, and if a loyal customer wears your shirt out, it can start conversations with potential customers, prompting recommendations and buzz about your restaurant. While branded merchandise might not be for everyone, it could be the right fit for restaurants looking for creative marketing ideas.
When done right, branded merchandise can serve as a successful restaurant marketing strategy that builds brand awareness and brand loyalty. Here’s some advice for doing restaurant swag right.
Consider your clientele, your most popular menu items, and the busiest times of day. If your restaurant fills up during happy hour or has a signature sauce that people rave about, find a way to capitalize on this enthusiasm with restaurant swag. For happy hour enthusiasts, offer branded pint glasses and cocktail glasses. For the people who can’t stop talking about your homemade ketchup, offer branded bottles of the sauce for them to use at home.
Shipping is expensive. In addition to saving you money, sourcing your materials locally has the added benefit of better connecting you to the community you serve. When you support local businesses, they’re more likely to support you back.
If you’re a fine dining establishment, it might not make sense to sell branded frisbees. While clothes tend to be universally relevant, make sure your other products reflect your offerings and style. It’s also important to make sure that all your restaurant swag features the name and/or logo of your restaurant, otherwise, it loses its marketing value.
Adding restaurant merchandise can be time-consuming. Don’t start trying to sell swag unless you have the manpower to support the efforts.
Showcase your restaurant swag in the front of your restaurant so guests can see it. In fact, keeping it near the hostess podium allows for people to consider their purchase while they wait, and ensures they’ll walk past it one more time on their way out. Making the price is visible is also a good best practice, as this removes a barrier for people who might not want to interrupt someone to ask questions.
Whether you’re looking for potential restaurant marketing ideas or menu engineering and design tips, contact us today. Our dedicated staff has years of experience helping restaurants throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California promote their business through custom solutions tailored to their specific needs.