The Pros and Cons of Restaurant Merchandise

We often think of restaurant merchandise as only being available at large chain restaurants that appear all over the country. Nevertheless, more businesses are starting to create branded products for purchase, and small cafés or mom-and-pop establishments can also offer merchandise. If you're wondering whether or not this is a smart investment for your business, here are some of the pros and cons to selling restaurant merchandise.

Pros:

Advertises your restaurant – Restaurant merchandising promotes your business. Types of merchandise include t-shirts, coffee mugs, coasters, beer glasses, gift certificates, small bags of your home brew coffee beans or dry ingredients, baseball caps, stickers, cookbooks, tote bags, and anything else that features an impression of your company's logo. Gift certificates encourage return customers, and wearable items are literally walking billboards for your business. All of this raises awareness about your brand, products, and food.

Helps establish a following – People love belonging to niche groups and followings. Your products could be conversation starters with diehards who love your food or potential customers who haven't heard of your business before. You can also offer specials to people who come to your restaurant wearing a clothing item with your logo on it as a way to reward loyal patrons.

Profits – Another perk of selling merchandise is you'll earn extra money. Basically, you're getting paid for people carrying your company name and logo around with them! Check out the products and prices of your local competition's merchandise, and be sure to price competitively.

Cons:

Costs of production – Buying merchandise is another expense you'll need to budget for if you decide you want to try selling products. Some merchandise will be less expensive than others based on the materials used, the amount of customization you ask for, and how much you buy. You'll also need to pay an employee to sell your items, unless you offer them at your regular check-out counter.

Customers' desire for products – Sell products that have a market. Clothing usually has a market at any casual café or restaurant, but you need to understand your customers if you want any other items to sell. For example, selling champagne glasses at a coffee shop probably won't get you very far, so use items you're known for at your restaurant. A brewery should offer beer glasses, and a crepe café can sell French cookbooks.

Room to sell it – To sell your merchandise at your location, you need room to store it. This can be challenging if you have a very small business, but you have some options. For one, you can offer merchandise that's small enough to keep on your check-out counter or on a revolving rack. You can also sell items online or ask local stores and tourist gift shops to stock your products.

As always, you can ask other business owners about restaurant merchandising to get an idea of how much time and money is involved. Talk with customers, too, and find out what their interests are. If you want to find out how interested people are in your merchandise, try offering a specialty cup or t-shirt at a promotional event first. You could have a target market if a lot people are interested!

Posted in: Trends | By Melissa Walters

Earth Day Project: Critter Cups!

Since today is Earth Day, we wanted a way of highlighting our huge selection of Green Restaurant Supplies. Not only is working towards sustainability a great thing to do for the environment, but many municipalities are legislating it. What's more, depending on your customer base, going green can be great marketing for your business. So, to remind you all of all the great green products , we decided to do what we do best in our office: make a snack.

Our snack, which we're calling "Critter Cups", is a take-off of the classic "worms and dirt" treat, only made personal size. We used Fabri-Kal's eco-friendly souffle cups, which are compostable and made of corn plastic. To those we added pudding, crushed up cookies, gummy worms, and a mint sprig for a bit of foliage. The end result was a yummy, individually portioned party treat great for kids of all ages!



Critter Cup Steps

Posted in: Green Products | By Steven Ziegler

Google Launches New Cocktail Tool

After a long day at the office or a stressful day in the field, sometimes a personal happy hour is the only thing you need to take off the edge. You go home, open your liquor cabinet, look in the fridge, and take out a glass. But then you suddenly forget how to actually make that Moscow Mule. Is it gin or rum? No, wait - maybe it's vodka! Truth is, unless you're a bartender, it's easy to forget how to make even the most popular cocktails. That's where Google comes in to save the day!

How the Cocktail Tool Works

“Moscow

Last month, after Google realized how uneducated the world is on mixology, they decided to launch a new feature known as the Cocktail Tool. After researching some of the most popular Google search queries, they found that people really need to brush up on their bartending skills! To help bartenders and consumers out, you can now read everything you need to know about a specific drink within seconds, without even clicking on an outside link. By simply typing in the name of a drink, or by asking a question like, “How do I make a (insert your poison),” Google will automatically generate a mini side blurb next to the list of search results. They provide an image, recipe, brief history, and they even suggest garnishes and glassware for serving! This new feature works on your desktop, mobile device, and on your Google app. You now have the largest cocktail recipe book ever invented right at your fingertips wherever you go!

“Moscow

How Does this Affect Your Bar

Not only does this tool allow every person with internet access to look up their favorite drink recipe, it also forces bartenders to brush up on their skills... which means the pressure is on! With customers entering your bar, night club, or restaurant with more knowledge than ever before, there’s no excuse for messing up a drink, even if it’s as old school as a Singapore Sling. Your customers may have the recipe on their phone while they’re ordering to make sure you include every one of the liquors they see listed.

The feature is also good for bartenders in training. You can consider having a tablet located behind-the-bar, so new bartenders can quickly access a recipe if they have a mind blank. Not only will this put less stress on employees, but it will make customers less anxious and impatient if they’re waiting for their new bartender to ask someone else for assistance.


Go ahead and try it out! After work today or after the kids go to bed, search any drink you can think of. Whether it’s a Moscow mule, margarita, white Russian, or a Bloody Mary, which are all on the top searched drinks list of 2015, you’ll be winding down in no time. Now excuse me while I go figure out how to make a whiskey sour – it’s 5 o’clock somewhere!

Posted in: Features | By Ashley Kufera

Mother's Day Restaurant Checklist

American consumers will spend approximately $3.1 billion dollars to treat their mothers to a special meal out on Mother’s Day this year. When over half of the country’s mothers (54.7% to be exact) are being taken out to eat in a single day, restauranteurs must pay special attention to keep their establishments running smoothly. With large volumes of customers expecting to have a special experience, the last thing you want to do is run out of essential supplies. We’ve compiled a list of essential items to stock up on so that you and your guests will have the best Mother’s Day possible.

Buffet Supplies

Mother’s Day brunch is a special tradition for many American families. A breakfast or brunch buffet with specialty menu items can be a great way to serve the masses of customers coming through the door. Stocking up on extra buffet supplies, like those listed below, is always a good idea when you are expecting a crowd.

Disposables

Disposables can be lifesaving on high volume holidays, especially if you run a casual eatery. Avoid an overflowing dishwasher with our disposable cutlery, or simply send guests home with their leftovers in a disposable take-out box. And, because disposables are great for any time of the year, there’s no need to worry about ordering too much!

Front-of-House

Families take their mothers to your establishment because they know that you can make their day special. Tabletop items are great for providing that unique touch that customers are looking for. By stocking up on these items, you can avoid running out of necessities during busy times of the day, ensuring that you can turn tables over to new guests as quickly as possible.

Posted in: Holidays | By Brandon Lesko
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