What you need to know about selling branded merch for your restaurant
More than ever, guests are looking to buy local and gain a sense of community from their purchases. As a result, restaurants are finding opportunities to expand their brands beyond food, by offering lifestyle products such as clothing, accessories, and housewares (check out some of our favorites in our 2018 Restaurant Gift Guide). Though it may seem like a huge task to get your restaurant's branded merch off the ground, we’ve put together some tips to show you how to easily get things going.
Where to Begin
The best place to get started when creating branded merchandise is with your restaurant’s logo. You can print it on almost anything. Clothing items are one of the most common and are easy to ship, but there are endless other products to customize and brand as your own. For example, Honeybrains in New York City has a branded skateboard they sell online, while Blue Water Grill in Belize offers their guests branded reusable bags. If you are looking to start simple, take a cue from some of the restaurants below:
How to Order
When it comes to choosing the right printing company for your restaurant, it’s important to take design and shipping capabilities into account. Companies like CustomInk are easy to use for those who aren’t professional designers, however, their products are then shipped directly to you in bulk and you are responsible for sending them out to guests.
Other companies like Zazzle and Printful act as Third Party Logistics companies (3PL) and allow you to store products at their warehouse, so they can fulfill and ship the orders directly to your guests. Printful also includes your restaurant's logo on the shipping packaging, which adds a nice branded touch to each order.
How to Promote Online
Once you’ve designed your branded product, it’s time to start selling it online! Setting your website up with an online store gives you full control of the orders that come in, and provides your guests with a better user experience by not linking out to a third party.
Braven Brewing Company's website features an eCommerce store where they sell branded merchandise like this t-shirt, hats and more.
If you use a platform like BentoBox, you can easily export a report with all the key ordering information like names and addresses, in order to ship the products out yourself (or send the report to your 3PL company for fulfillment).
Then, all you have left to do is get the word out about your new merch. Try reaching out to relevant national and local publications that may want to include your product in a gift guide or review. You can blast out your new merch in an email newsletter, on social media, or with a homepage alert on your website to help guide visitors to new items in your store. Offering guests a promo code for online purchases is another excellent way to entice first-time buyers.
Want to learn more about how you can sell branded merchandise from your restaurant’s website? Get in touch with our team today!