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Pros and Cons of Selling Restaurant Merchandise

Branding is very important in the foodservice industry because having strong branding can bring in new customers and foster customer loyalty, which is good for business. There are many ways that you can build your restaurant's brand, and one of the best ways is through branded merchandise. But, branded merchandising might not be the best idea for every establishment. Here we'll break down different types of merchandise you can offer, compare the pros and cons, and give some tips for making your merchandise successful.

What Is Branded Merchandise?

Branded merchandise is a collection of products that feature your business's logo, which you can sell to increase customer loyalty. Loyal customers are very important for businesses because they provide a steady stream of income that business owners can always rely on.

Different Types of Merchandise

restaurant branded merchandise

There are many different types of branded merchandise that your establishment can offer, although not all of them will be the right fit for every business. Here are some of the most popular types of branded merchandise to give you an idea of what kind of merch you can offer at your establishment.

  • Clothing: T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, sweatpants, flip-flops, hats
  • Glasses: Beer, shot, whiskey, or martini glasses
  • Accessories: Tote bags, umbrellas, wristbands
  • Food: BBQ dry rubs, salsa, syrups, sauces, jams
  • Miscellaneous: Pens, bumper stickers, stickers, coasters

Pros and Cons of Offering Branded Merchandise

While offering branded merchandise can be an excellent way to build brand loyalty, it may not be a viable option for every foodservice operation. Here, we'll weigh the pros and cons of offering branded merch to help you decide whether selling it at your establishment is a good idea.

Pros of Selling Branded Merchandise

Depending on your business style and customers, offering branded merchandise can be an extremely profitable investment. Here are some of the benefits that your restaurant can receive if you create your own branded merchandise:

branded restaurants
  • Branded merchandise capitalizes on the loyalty of your customers. If your customers buy merchandise with your logo on it, they'll be reminded of your restaurant every time they see it, which will persuade them to visit.
  • It is an excellent way to get free advertisement. This is especially true with branded clothing, because other people will see your logo when customers are walking around town. The clothing can be a conversation starter and a great way for your restaurant to get around via word of mouth.
  • One of the most obvious benefits of offering branded merchandise is the financial gains. If you have a large following of loyal customers, branded merchandise can be a major source of income for your business.

Cons of Selling Branded Merchandise

While, for some businesses, branded merchandise can be a very profitable venture that can boost your brand recognition, it doesn't work for every type of establishment. Here are some possible downsides to offering branded merchandise in your establishment:

  • Offering merchandise at your restaurant or bar will only be profitable if there is demand for your products and if you can order them for the right price. Additionally, some types of merchandise are cheaper to produce than others, so you can choose options that meet your needs and that fit your budget.
  • There might not be customer demand for your branded products. Before investing in your own line of merchandise, survey your loyal customers and gauge their interest in buying branded items.
  • It can be hard to find a good way to display your merchandise, especially if you have a small dining area or lobby. To solve this issue, use revolving racks to show off postcards and branded glasses and hang branded clothing on the wall for guests to see and consider while they eat.

Tips for Selling Branded Merchandise

Once you've decided to create your own branded products, there are a few things that you can do to ensure that they're successful. Here are some tips for ensuring that your line of restaurant merchandise does well:

How to sell merchandise
  • Giveaways: You can make your merchandise valuable by creating an exclusive contest. This also helps create buzz and interest, and it's a great option when first introducing your new product line. Giveaways are also very shareable on social media, which helps grow your online presence and brand.
  • Discounts for Guests Who Buy Merch: If you don't want to give away your merch for free, there are other discounts you can offer. For example, you can offer a 10% discount with the purchase of a t-shirt. Offering discounts make your customers feel like they're getting a deal, while you're still making a profit.
  • Buy One Get One Free: This is an excellent option for bars and nightclubs that offer branded glasses. For example, you can offer personalized mugs or beer glasses for a premium, and include one free drink in the price. Offering a free drink along with the purchase makes it more appealing to customers.
  • Limited Time Offers: Offering merchandise for a limited amount of time increases the urgency and gives your customers less time to think it over, instead relying on impulse buys. Additionally, because the merchandise won't be around forever, customers on the fence will be more likely to take the plunge and make a purchase.

Offering branded merchandise can be a very valuable venture, and it can be an excellent way to grow your brand. But, you should do careful research beforehand to ensure that there is enough customer demand and interest in merchandise before making an investment. Additionally, once you’ve created your products, you can help boost sales by implementing giveaways, discounts, and other marketing tactics.

Posted in: Advertising & Marketing | By Richard Traylor
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