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Home /  Blog / Retail / From Plates to Tees: How Restaurants Can Use Merch to Boost Business

From Plates to Tees: How Restaurants Can Use Merch to Boost Business

26th April 2024 in Retail

The restaurant industry is all about creating a memorable experience. But what if that experience could extend beyond the last bite? This is where restaurant merchandise comes in. Selling branded merch isn't just about fans sporting your logo; it's a clever strategy to generate extra income and boost your brand awareness.

Why Merch Makes Money

There are several reasons why merch is a great second revenue stream for restaurants:

  • Expands Your Customer Base: Not everyone can visit your restaurant every day, but they can still be brand ambassadors. Merch allows fans from afar to show their love and support, creating a walking advertisement for your business.
  • Boosts Brand Loyalty: Die-hard fans will jump at the chance to own a piece of your restaurant. This strengthens the connection they feel with your brand and keeps them coming back for more.
  • Memorable Experience: Merch allows customers to take a piece of the restaurant experience home with them. A branded t-shirt or mug becomes a constant reminder of their enjoyable meal, potentially leading to return visits.
  • Creates Passive Income: Once your merch designs are finalized, sales become a relatively passive way to make money. This can be a game-changer, especially during slower periods.

Merch Must-Haves

Now that you're on board with the merch train, here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Classic Clothing: T-shirts, hats, and hoodies are always popular choices. But don't be afraid to get creative with designs that reflect your restaurant's unique style.
  • Practical Picks: Tote bags and water bottles are functional items that get used often, keeping your brand in the spotlight.
  • Foodie Favorites: For restaurants with signature dishes, consider selling recipe kits, spice blends, or even branded hot sauce!

Embrace Your Brand Personality:

  • Vintage Vibes: If your restaurant has a classic feel, create a vintage-style logo or design with a retro color palette.
  • Modern Minimalism: For a sleek, modern restaurant, keep your designs clean and simple with a focus on bold typography.
  • Local Love: Incorporate local landmarks or neighborhood references into your design to create a sense of community.

Unique and Functional Items:

  • Kitchenware: Design aprons, oven mitts, or cutting boards with your logo or a fun slogan for the home cook.
  • Enamel Mugs: Enamel mugs are a trendy and durable choice for coffee or tea lovers. Feature your logo or a cute food-related design.

Pro Tips for Merch Success

  • Quality is Key: Invest in good quality materials that will last. There's nothing worse than a fan sporting a faded or ripped logo.
  • Embrace Design: Your merch should be visually appealing and reflect your restaurant's personality. Consider collaborating with a local artist for a unique touch.
  • Spread the Word: Promote your merch on social media, your website, and even in your restaurant. Offer special promotions or bundle deals to incentivize sales.


Restaurants that do Merch Well!

A variety of restaurants all over the UK have successfully used promotional products branded with their logo as advertising, with some creating a cult following!

  • St. John (London): This renowned restaurant known for its nose-to-tail dining philosophy has a great selection of merch featuring their iconic black and white logo. You can find everything from t-shirts and tote bags to aprons and even a baby romper!
  • Yard Sale Pizza (London): This award-winning pizzeria is a favorite among Londoners, and their merch is just as popular. They have a wide variety of tees featuring collaborations with guest chefs and playful pizza-themed designs.
  • Dishoom (Various Locations): This vibrant Indian restaurant chain is known for its delicious food and lively atmosphere. Their merch collection reflects that energy, with colorful t-shirts, tote bags, and even chai spice kits!
  • Pastaio (London): This spot is a haven for pasta lovers, and their merch collection is equally delightful. They've collaborated with several designers on unique t-shirt collections, and also offer tote bags and homeware items.

By implementing a well-designed merch strategy, your restaurant can turn loyal customers into brand ambassadors and create a lasting impact that goes beyond the dining experience.  So why not put your logo on a tee and watch your business flourish?


Strengthen your brand perception with promotional products

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