Restaurant Merchandise Ideas [2024 Guide]

Restaurant merchandise is a huge component of a restaurant’s brand experience. With thoughtfully designed branded merchandise, restaurant owners can boost guest experience and satisfaction, incorporate an additional revenue stream, and see a positive return on their investment (ROI). 

In this blog, we’re taking a closer look at why restaurant merchandise is essential for restaurants and we’ll give you some creative restaurant merchandise ideas that will knock your customers’ socks off.

Why Merchandise Matters for Restaurants

Beyond the promotional value that merchandise offers, merchandise is a great way to increase business revenue while connecting with your customers on a larger scale. 

Improve Brand Identity

Merchandise printed with your restaurant name or logo is a great way to get exposure and enhance your brand’s identity. It’s a marketing tool that helps to create a lasting and positive image of your brand that customers will remember long-term.

From staff uniforms to fun promotional products like cooler bags and keyrings, more and more businesses in the hospitality industry are turning to branded merchandise to increase awareness of their restaurant and to improve their brand identity.

Strengthen Customer Loyalty

You can promote customer loyalty by giving your customers access to tangible reminders of your restaurant. Items like branded glasses or t-shirts printed with the restaurant’s logo serve as a great conversation starter – effectively using word-of-mouth advertisement. 

If customers loved their visit with you enough to buy a branded product, just imagine the great things they’re telling their social network about you!

Keep your brand consistent across a range of merch for a cohesive feel.

Creative Merchandise Ideas for Your Restaurant

Your restaurant merchandise needs to reflect the values and identity of your brand. This means choosing a message that suits your cuisine or using your restaurant name and/or logo for all printed materials. 

By creating a cohesive and memorable experience for your customers, you can extend your reach far beyond the table they eat at! 

Here are some popular restaurant merchandise ideas that your customers will love:

  • Custom Cheeseboards: Who doesn’t love an impressive charcuterie display? Now, you can elevate your guest’s dining experience in-house while allowing them to recreate it at home.
  • Aprons: Aprons are a practical entry into the restaurant merchandising pool. They serve as great gifts as a meaningful reminder of the amazing time customers had at their favourite restaurant. 
  • Custom Coffee Mugs: Personalised coffee mugs are a staple when it comes to branding. Provide a daily reminder to your customers of an unforgettable experience.
  • Reusable Coasters: For a more subtle approach to branding, consider eco-friendly, reusable coasters. Not only can you use these in-house but you can also offer them as merch for sale as well.
  • Branded Caps: Custom caps are always a solid choice if you’re looking for something more practical. Keep your brand’s name out in public for even more eyes to see.
  • Promotional Bags: As reusable bags continue to gain popularity as an environmentally friendly option, it only makes sense to add your logo to the trend. 
  • T-Shirts and Polos: Much like a band t-shirt, shirts are a great option because they add style and comfort to the wardrobe. Whether you’re using them for a staff uniform, for sale, or both, shirts are always a widely loved clothing choice.

Remember that each item you incorporate into your merchandise lineup serves as a visual and tangible representation of your brand. This representation extends beyond the physical space of your restaurant and reaches the public eye. So, choose your merchandise wisely!

Your choice of font matters more than you might realise.

Designing Your Restaurant’s Merchandise

Just like the thoughtfulness and love that goes into creating your menu, you need to carefully design your restaurant’s merchandise so that it resonates with the standards of your restaurant. 

  1. Align with your restaurant’s theme

Since your merch represents your brand image, your design should resemble the theme and feel of your restaurant. Consider modern versus cosy, colour palettes, and overall aesthetics during the design process.

  1. Collaborate with local artists and suppliers

Consider partnering with local artists or suppliers to add a unique touch to your merch design. You can create a one-of-a-kind feel for your products while supporting your local community. Does it get any better than that?

  1. Create limited editions

Generate excitement and a sense of urgency by creating limited-edition merchandise. This marketing strategy provides an opportunity to get creative with unique designs for special occasions and events. 

  1. Typography matters

Pay close attention to the fonts you use when designing your merchandise. Choose fonts that compliment your restaurant’s personality – casual, quirky, fun, or elegant. Consistent typography helps reinforce brand identity. 

  1. Customer Involvement

Consider involving your customers in the design process! This builds a sense of community and encourages loyalty. Run design contests and surveys to gather input and merchandise ideas from the people who dine in your restaurant. 

Promoting and Selling Your Restaurant’s Merchandise

Last but not least, you’ll need to think about how you will promote and sell your restaurant’s merch. After all, you don’t want to exhaust all of your time, energy, and funds on a flop.

In-Restaurant Merchandise Displays

One of the easiest ways to promote your merchandise is to have it on display within the restaurant. Ideally, you want to keep these displays in areas guests will see multiple times, like near entrances or checkouts.

Make sure to have something that catches their attention!

Leveraging Social Media and Online Sales

Not surprisingly, social media is a huge tool to help promote the sales of restaurant merch. Thankfully, a lot of it can be done for free. Take advantage of options like links to online stores. Share customer photos, use tags and showcase your products with influencer marketing. 

Final Thoughts

As a restaurant owner, expanding brand reach and driving revenue are always top of mind. With the help of effectively producing and selling restaurant merch, you can easily see benefits in both sectors.

Taking the time to be mindful of the items you choose to brand, the design, and the promotion can provide an invaluable return on investment. The right merchandise will create a lasting relationship with your customers.

Ready to design your restaurant merchandise? Contact our friendly team for creative and impactful merchandise ideas today!