With the advent of digital platforms such as YouTube and Instagram, getting in the merchandising-game is easier than ever.
Whether you’re selling your secret sauce or branded clothing, restaurant merchandise offers the chance to generate revenue. But, there is a lot to consider when deciding if selling merchandise is right for your restaurant.
Is Merchandising Right For Your Restaurant?
There are three factors to consider when deciding whether or not to sell merchandise for your restaurant.
1) Is selling merchandise right for your brand? Merchandising needs to be a way to build value for your restaurant, without taking away from the authority of your brand. If you can manage that, then merchandising is absolutely something you should consider.
2) Does merchandising make sense for your location? People buy merchandise a lot of times as a means to remember their experience. So, if your business is supported in large part by tourism, merchandising can be an easy way to further capitalize on that demographic.
If you’re mostly serving local customers, however, it will be important for your restaurant to have a strong identity and community to make merchandising worth the effort.
3) Do you have the means to sell merchandise? Creating and selling merchandise is a business of it’s own. And, you need be sure to have the resources to manage another big project on top of managing your restaurant.
What Should Your Restaurant Sell?
Above all else, your merchandise should be reflective of your restaurant’s culture, brand and values.
More formal restaurants should think along the lines of a cookbook or wine related merchandise, maintaining tact and sophistication. Whereas, sandwich shops or BBQ pits will do much better with novelty items and proprietary sauces. In both cases, value and utility go a long way in the merchandise game, so give your customers what they want AND will use.
Tips and Tricks
Put your merchandise up front. Showcasing your merchandise in a visible spot will increase the chances of spontaneous purchases!
Support local businesses by sourcing goods locally. Shipping costs for your merchandise can destroy margins, so finding local resources to produce your goods is a great way to save costs and include another local business in the endeavor.
Display your prices. Clearly labeling prices greatly reduces friction in the buying process and is critical to merchandise sales numbers. Like stated earlier, you’re targeting spontaneous buyers – the easier you make the process, the better.
Be creative. Instead of the standard key-chain or T-shirt, try thinking more nostalgically. So, if your restaurant hosts live music, selling something like guitar picks, records, or something similar will deeply depict your restaurant’s experience. These types of goods will most likely outperform more traditional merchandise.
Collaborate with like-minded brands. Like-minded brands share demographics, and cross-promotional collaborations are great for both company’s ideal customers. Building relationships like these can create massive “win-wins” that shouldn’t be ignored.