How to use branded merchandise to promote your restaurant

How to Use Branded Merchandise to Promote Your Restaurant

by GO2 Partners on December 15, 2023

Competition in the restaurant industry is fierce, and with a success rate of only 20% for all restaurants, your goal should be restaurant promotion. You need to create repeat customers.  

While tasty food and a great atmosphere are at the core of a restaurant’s reputation, there are other ways to promote and grow your brand and business.  

Here are three surefire ideas to get your restaurant business noticed.  

Branded Apparel for the Restaurant Industry 

From Starbucks's green apron to Hot Dog on a Stick’s multi-color striped uniforms, how often do people recognize the restaurant brand simply by its apparel? Uniforms and branded apparel are great for advertising and brand promotion. A branded uniform generates instant brand recognition. Your staff can generate excitement and increase brand visibility just by wearing the apparel.  

Staff uniforms promote your brand and are a testament to your company’s standards and values. When potential customers enter your restaurant, they are more likely to be impressed by staff dressed in branded apparel rather than just jeans and T-shirts. In addition, uniforms put the customers at ease and assure them they’ve arrived at the correct establishment.  

Looking Beyond the Uniform 

Branded apparel isn’t limited to only staff uniforms. It includes any clothing branded with your company’s logo or design, which means both staff and customers can wear it. This means promotional items, contest prizes, or even as a reward, you can provide apparel that will help boost your brand and build excitement. 

With the right design and quality, fans of your restaurant will love the apparel. Items such as shirts, hats and sweatshirts are helpful, fashionable and sure to get much wear.  

Branded apparel can be simple to create and sell in-store and online. While this may require an initial investment for design, production and distribution, the return on investment can make it worthwhile with increased awareness for your brand and additional income.   

Branded Merchandise  

Branded merchandise includes apparel and other items featuring your business’s logo. Popular branded merchandise for restaurants includes clothing (T-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, sweatpants, flip-flops and hats), glasses (beer, shot, whiskey or martini glasses), your secret sauce (BBQ dry rubs, salsa, syrup, sauces, jams) or miscellaneous items like coasters, stickers and pens. These can be given as swag, gifts or giveaways, or displayed on your restaurant's shelf and sold. The possibilities for branded merchandise are only limited by your marketing creativity.  

These promotional products can make your brand look more engaging and exciting. Consumers love this merchandise so much that 96% of people would like to be informed in advance when companies offer promotional products. Often, people use branded merchandise as collector’s items, to remember an event, or just as a fun takeaway from the restaurant experience. 

Branded merchandise encourages loyal customers to buy promotional products and will continuously promote your brand. This is a sure way to remind customers of your restaurant every time they use it and encourage them to eat at your establishment again. Offering branded apparel and merchandise to potential customers adds a personal touch and enables customers to recommend your brand to their friends and family.   

Leveraging Low-Cost Advertising and Visibility 

Compared to other forms of advertisement, such as television, radio, billboards, etc., branded merchandise is a cost-effective way to promote your restaurant. Oftentimes, when investing in this promotional tactic, the more you buy, the cheaper the price.  

Branded merchandise also offers a tremendous upselling opportunity. Let’s say your restaurant is located at a popular surfing destination. Offering an additional item for sale, like miniature surfboards or ocean jewelry, could provide other opportunities to help you increase guest spend. It can keep your restaurant top of mind with customers even when they aren’t eating a meal. 

Branded merchandise is also great for networking. It will allow you to join forces with other restaurants or artists to create inventory, thus gaining exposure to your partner’s audience. For instance, Elena, an Italian restaurant in Montreal with an impressive merchandise line, collaborated with a Thai restaurant to create a collectible line of co-branded apparel.  

The possibilities of low-cost promotion with branded merchandise are endless. 

Unique Food Packaging  

Like branded apparel and merchandise, unique packaging and labeling are potentially vital to a restaurant's promotion strategy. Good packaging makes your food stand out, expresses your company’s values, keeps your hard work in the kitchen safe and tasty, and will help convince potential customers to decide to buy from you. Unique packaging is so important that 72% of Americans agree that a product’s packaging design influences their purchase decisions. 

For a wow factor, consider investing in quality interior packaging for branded merchandise sold at your restaurant, such as jams, ingredients and utensils. Much like opening a gift for the first time, internal packaging adds to the excitement of the unboxing experience.  

Does your restaurant have a particular ingredient or food item you want to offer as a separate item for purchase? If so, unique packaging will help you leverage brand extension and merchandising opportunities. By offering these items for sale, your restaurant can bring your food experience to customers' homes, encourage conversations about your brand, and generate additional revenue.  

Networking and Cross-Promotion with Packaging 

Branded packaging not only influences a consumer’s purchase decisions but also aids in networking with other businesses within the industry. When your restaurant displays your unique packaging at events such as conferences or catered functions, it will leave a lasting impression on potential business partners and corporate clients.  

For example, at a food festival, your BBQ restaurant’s unique packaging grabs the attention of a local bakery that would like to work together. By joining forces, you could expand your menu and tap into an additional market. You can sell bakery goods on your menu, and then include the logo and contact information for the bakery on your packaging. They could do the same for you. 

Consider food packaging not as an afterthought, but an opportunity. 

The Secret to Your Success with Promotional and Branded Goods 

The benefits of apparel, branded merchandise and unique packaging are undeniable. By incorporating these items into your promotional strategy, your restaurant can create memorable first impressions, encourage conversations about your brand, build customer loyalty and create lasting partnerships.  

With GO2 Partners' marketing and packaging services, your restaurant can enhance its image and showcase your unique brand to new customers. We’ve worked with leading brands across the country, and the experience and connection we offer can jump-start and boost your marketing efforts.  

Contact us today for custom promo products and packaging that will increase the return on investment, reach more customers, and help your restaurant overcome the odds and succeed.   

Topics: Apparel, Promotional Products