The 5 Benefits of Custom Restaurant Merchandise
September 23, 2020
With the upcoming holiday season, branded merchandise can help drive vital additional revenue.
Running a small business is about making decisions that will positively impact the bottom line and restaurant owners have little free time and a loaded plate. Despite the day-to-day demand of the job — such as overseeing a successful dining service — restaurants must also consider other ways they can grow profits even after the kitchen closes for the night. This is where alternative revenue streams can play a significant part.
Small businesses must consider the benefits of creating merchandise for their restaurants, although some would ask, “who'd wear it?”or “what's the point?” We’ve highlighted the benefits for restaurants of selling custom merchandise online including branded apparel, glassware, accessories, provisions and more — all to drive awareness and additional revenue. And right now is the moment to start selling merchandise online as regulars and loyal customers are looking to purchase for the holiday season.
Benefits of Selling Custom Merchandise Online
Restaurants are increasingly becoming lifestyle brands. Many loyal fans hope to represent their favorite restaurants with branded merchandise. For restaurants, this means non-traditional benefits.
Custom Merchandise Drives Alternative Revenue
One of the most obvious benefits of custom restaurant merchandise is having an alternative revenue stream for the business. Creating custom merchandise, in the larger picture, is not a complicated task. It starts with identifying the demand and building an exclusive online shop for the restaurant. Including merchandise online creates the opportunity for more conversions, which incrementally helps support a growing business.
A Way to Build an Exclusive Community
An online shop benefits restaurants by growing revenue through an exclusive ecommerce experience for visitors. This gives regulars and loyal brand champions the opportunity to own a unique item from their favorite places to dine and further support those restaurants. This engagement allows regulars to show off their loyalty.
Offer an Easy, Fast and Safe Customer Experience 24/7
The easier and safer it is for website visitors to purchase an item for you, the more frequently they will convert. When it comes to online ordering, consumers prefer purchasing directly from the restaurant rather than a third party. The case can be made for all ecommerce purchases as well. Consumers like to know they are directly supporting the restaurant. For restaurants, it’s important to get merchandise orders out in a timely manner. The more streamlined and secure the purchase and receiving process is, the more frequently consumers will convert.
Spread Restaurant Brand Recognition in The Community
Restaurants have the opportunity to foster a culture around their brand, spread awareness and grow interest by embedding themselves in their communities. For example, restaurants could do this by collaborating with a local artist, design agency or business to create new merchandise. Perhaps a percentage of every item sold goes to a local charity. The more restaurants engage with customers outside of the brick and mortar the deeper the relationship.
Restaurant Merchandise is a Go-To Marketing Tool
As merchandise is an easily marketable item, restaurants can use their brand channels such as Instagram and Facebook to promote new offerings for quick wins. This is especially important around the holidays when guests are looking for gifts to purchase for their loved ones. The addition of merch for promotional use is a welcomed tool in every restaurant's arsenal and will further drive alternative revenue.
Creating Merchandise for Your Brand
It’s quite common to come across restaurant staff wearing the same branded t-shirts or uniforms. Although these items are usually reserved for staff to wear during service, restaurants should consider marketing and selling them online as well. They are a visual symbol of a restaurant's identity and for restaurants to build a successful brand, it requires a demand from consumers who are devout fans of theirs. Many restaurants have been successful in achieving a kind of cult-like status through ideas as simple as this. Offering restaurant merchandise further increases visibility in a crowded and competitive market.
But it doesn’t have to start and end with t-shirts or hats. Restaurants can drive awareness, gain more loyal followers and increase alternative revenue by selling merchandise online. With the holidays around the corner, there is no better time for restaurants to start thinking about what merchandise can benefit their bottom line.
Types of Merchandise To Offer Online
Everything from t-shirts and hats to tote bags, sauces and pint glasses — restaurants are getting creative with their offerings, extending their brand beyond the brick and mortar. Below are just a few examples of the types of merchandise restaurants can offer.
Clothing & Apparel
Sell custom branded restaurant merch like t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, socks and more. Bogart’s Doughnut Co. sells sweatshirts and other items directly from their website.
As much of the country approaches cooler temperatures and blustery weather, restaurants can help prepare their guests with warm, branded apparel. The Meatball Shop sells its “Winter Classic Knit Hat” directly through the online shop.
Sell the same glassware from the restaurant such as beer glasses, cocktail glasses, mugs, growlers, etc. Gild is a beloved brewpub in Missoula, MT. Locals and non-locals alike can purchase custom branded glassware through their online store.
Offer branded functional items and tools like tote bags, bottle openers, wine keys and more. Black Seed Bagels, in New York City, offers custom screen-printed tote bags on their website featuring branded illustrations.
Sell shelf-stable items such as sauces, spices, rubs, pasta, etc. Williamson Bros. Bar-B-Q is known for their award-winning sauces, spices and rubs. This renowned barbecue restaurant in Georgia sells their condiments directly through their website for their guests to own and use at home.
Don’t forget to sell all of the oddities and small knick-knacks like stickers, patches, coasters, pens, etc. Two Birds Taphouse in Marietta, GA sells stickers among other items online. Stickers, while cheap to produce can be fun and effective marketing tools.
Start Selling Online
With COVID-19, guests are looking online at restaurant websites to place pickup and delivery orders, purchase gift cards and branded merchandise to support their favorite restaurants. This demand creates a great opportunity for restaurants to benefit from increased sales and brand visibility during COVID-19 and the upcoming holiday season. To learn more about starting an online ecommerce store for restaurants, get in touch with a BentoBox specialist today or your account manager.
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