4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant


Gone are the days when cool merchandise was only limited to a specific niche of restaurants. Thanks to the onset of branding and marketing strategies, more and more eateries are now adopting the practice to sell their own restaurant merchandise. Whether it is an upscale establishment or a casual dinner. A themed restaurant or a tasting menu, everyone is getting into the merch business – and elevating their brand to another level

Seeing that almost every restaurant on the block is getting into the merch game. It is essential for you to know a few choice tips to set your offerings apart from them. After all, customers who are open to spending on restaurant merch also come with a limited budget. In other words, customers can’t spend on items sold by every restaurant that they frequent. Which is why it is crucial that your offerings stand out from the rest of the pack. 

Given that selling, merchandise is way different than setting delicious food on the table. I am here to help you get the most out of your merch sales. By keeping these few tips in mind, you would be able to navigate the tricky yet interesting world of selling restaurant merchandise with ease.

4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant
Sell Your Restaurant Merchandise @dylanscafe

1. Start With Building a Customer Profile

Whenever you decide to sell your own merch as a restaurant, you need to be careful in developing items that might or might not appeal to your everyday customers. 

If your restaurant is already operational and gets a decent amount of business every day. Then it wouldn’t be difficult to draw up a profile. On the other hand, if your restaurant has just launched or is trying to rebrand itself, then looking into projected demographics such as customer attributes and interests would be a good thing to do. Be sure to read “The Definitive Guide to Restaurant Branding” for a full guide to building a great profile to get your customer’s attention.

This would help you draw up a list of items that your customers would be interested to buy. Which would increase the chances of you selling restaurant merchandise easily. This aspect could be easily termed as the foundation of your merch selling plan. Which is why it is highly important that you pay attention to it. Be sure to also check out “6 Marketing Hacks to Promote Your Cafe” for tips on building a great profile to attract customers.

4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant
Build Customer Relations @expatroasters

2. Look Into Apparel

In a world where most restaurants have branded coffee mugs and t-shirts, it is essential that you add a few more unique items into the mix to appeal more to your target audience. After all, anyone could get their logo on a shirt, but not everyone has a branded bandana to sell. 

One of the best ways to diversify your offerings and add unique items to the mix is by delving into apparel. While t-shirts are considered novelty merch for restaurants and bars, other items that often make the rounds include but are not limited to baseball caps, hoodies, ski-caps, and scarves.  

If you want to go against the norm, then you could also delve into bracelets, belts, and bandanas (as mentioned above). The key is to develop a merch that is in line with your restaurant’s image so that customers don’t get confused about what exactly you are trying to accomplish with your apparel sales. Take a look at “5 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Coffee Shop” for helpful info on selling your apparel at your establishment.

4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant
Merchandise for Your Business @flyestprints

3. Try to Sell Unique Items

In case you do not want to make your merch all about apparel, you could also look into other segments. Things such as high-quality plates, stationery, tote bags, and other household items. 

Sell restaurant merchandise that serves a regular purpose and proves to be useful to the customers. It could be a great hit among your regular patrons who want to show off their association with your brand. Check out “Things to Sell in a Coffee Shop Besides Coffee” for unique ideas to include on your selling list for your shop.

This also sets you apart from many other restaurants that are too focused on apparel or generic items such as coffee mugs. But here, you need to make sure that you are not just jumping into the rat race and branding items that your customers might not end up buying. Once again, it is important that you look into customer profiling and develop merch. That is certain to appeal to your target customers instead of creating items that go by a one-size-fits-all approach.

4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant
Unique Merchandise for Your Brand @expatroasters

4. Pay Attention to Quality

As stated above, anyone can slap their logo onto any item. But that doesn’t translate to merch that customers would actually want to buy. In order to translate your branding to revenue, you need to ensure that your items stand apart in terms of what they bring to the table. 

That’s where quality comes into play. Make sure that you are going for high-quality items to brand with your restaurant’s colors and logo. It’s because for customers, buying your merchandise comes with a certain stipulation of seeing your brand information every day. While loyal patrons would have no issues with that. They also need the incentive of ending up with an outstanding item that is on par with any other store-bought counterpart. Check out our piece on “How Does Branding Help Grow Your Company or Business?” for tips on how to brand and put a face to your business.

4 Tips on Selling Merchandise in a Restaurant
Maintain the Quality @restrocart

Keeping this in mind, ensure that whenever you are selling restaurant merchandise, you are looking into items that promise a certain sense of quality to your customers. In addition to enhancing value for money, it would also add to your brand image and set it into your customers’ minds as something that’s associated with quality.

Thank you for reading with us today! Make sure to check out “5 Brand Tips for Small Businesses” for helpful tips on promoting your restaurant or cafe with your brand image. Let us know in the comments which kind of merchandise you would want to get for your shop.

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Brand My Cafe helps small & medium-sized businesses, cafes and foodservice brands grow their identity through custom coffee cups, coffee sleeves & more. Join us on Facebook and Instagram for more related inspiration for all things restaurant building.

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