Everyone has a favorite restaurant, that one place that make the best (insert menu item here). What if your customer could buy that sauce or bread to eat in the comforts of their own home? Restaurateurs looking to expand their brand beyond the dinner plate can increase revenues by selling popular menu items to be used at home. Not only will this increase the amount of business that particular customer does with you, it will also give them the opportunity to share your brand.
Product creation and merchandising are serious business decisions that likely require some outside professional help. But, before you get to that point you may want to start with a brainstorming session. Do you have a product that could sell? Is it highly coveted by loyal customers? Do you have the time/energy/money to pursue this path? Does your restaurant have space to create a retail display? While in the planning stages, there are many factors to consider before making the decision to create a product and larger brand.
- What makes your restaurant unique and how can that play into your product development?
- Do you have any signature items like sauces, dips, or baked goods that could be mass produced for retail sale?
- Ask your customers for feedback on whether they are interested in buying these products.
- Merchandise and products should accurately reflect your restaurant. Think logically about products that would fit in your space. For example, a t-shirt doesn’t really make sense in a fine dining atmosphere and neither does a plastic bottle of barbeque sauce.
Creating products and merchandise to expand your brand can help loyal customers feel even more committed to you. They will proudly display and share your brand, helping to start up conversations that can bring in new customers. Along with your product you may want to offer some other popular branded items.
- Wine glasses
- Key chains
- Branded aprons
- Travel mugs
Keep in mind that you want to keep customers coming back to dine and to shop, so don’t give away all your secrets. The idea is to give them a taste of your restaurant which keeps you in the forefront of their hungry mind.