Move more shirts for more cash flow and marketing

Seven ways to sell more restaurant swag

Restaurants can, and should, sell swag to their diners.

It’s good marketing, encourages a sense of community (“Hey! That guy has a Dino’s Burgers shirt on! I love that place too!”), and increases your average ticket size.
But if you’re serious about selling restaurant merch, you gotta push it a bit. Get it in front of diners. Make them want it. Make it obvious they can buy it.

Here are seven ways to sell more ****restaurant shirts*** to your diners.

1. Sell them to people who are waiting

Shirts at a donut shop

A great example of how NOT to display shirts if you want to sell them. This is a spinning display, and the shirts are barely visible on the right side, facing the trash can.

One of my favorite beach restaurants in Alabama, GT’s On The Bay, draws a huge crowd during the summer months and spring break. And no wonder, they have an awesome playground, great outdoor seating, and a very good firecracker shrimp Po’Boy.

So they have a long wait sometimes. And they take advantage of that.

Up front, in the waiting area, they display all their restaurant shirts and other merch, marine-themed stuffed animals, sunglasses, etc.

It’s a captive audience. Very captive.

They even have a POS station up there, manned during the busy times, so that people can easily buy a shirt or whatever before or after they eat.

These diners are waiting, and have nothing to do but either stare at their phones or look at your offerings. So show them your shirts!

2. Show the prices

Restaurant swag pricing

Vui's got pricing right up front by the POS, so people know what swag they have and how much it costs.

Believe it or not, not all diners want to bother you. They may recognize that you and your staff are quite busy, and even if they see a displayed shirt that they want to get, may not want to ask anyone what it costs. So be sure to actually have the prices displayed.

Also, say what sizes are available. People are going to want to know how much it costs and if it comes in their size, and if you have just one shirt displayed per design, they may assume you don’t have the 3XL or whatever size they might need, or the Youth Large size they want to get for their grandson.

3. Tell them how to buy

The confused mind takes no action. Along with posting the information about pricing and available sizes, tell them HOW to buy the shirt if it’s not obvious.

“Want a shirt? Grab what you like off the rack and take it to the hostess to buy”

“Need a shirt? Tell the bartender to ring you up for one”

If people don’t know what to do to buy a shirt, they won’t buy it. Make it as easy for them to buy, by making it super clear how to buy.

4. Display the swag in a touchable way

Coffee shop shirts

Barista Parlor does a beautiful job of branding, and have all their shirts out where people can flip through them and touch the quality.

Along with needing to know the price and the sizes available, people want to touch the swag before they buy it. To see if it’s soft, to see how thick the material is, to feel the print.

A coffee shop that I like locally, they have a rack of shirts by the front counter, and not everyone touches the displayed shirts, but the people who actually buy them do!

(If you’re looking for better quality ***restaurant shirts*** that have better print quality while still being quite affordable, that’s what we focus on here at Vacord, so ***get in touch*** if you need anything)

5. Add them to your online order / delivery menu

If you do a lot of take out or delivery, why not add your shirts to your online menu?

Some of your most loyal, most loving customers may be ones that never actually eat in your restaurant, and they could want to represent you while they’re out and about.

Adding a $20 shirt to a take out order could really increase the ticket price, and most ordering systems should allow you to add a shirt and its sizes as options.

6. Quality quality quality

Shirts for a coffee shop

Dozen Bakery has their merch behind their queue, so customers can see and touch everything while they wait to order, and note they have the pricing there to reduce that question/obstacle.

This goes back to the idea of people wanting to touch a shirt to see if it’s any good.

If people can see that your shirts aren’t good quality, or that the printing looks lousy and feels rough, they’re less likely to buy.

So by getting better quality shirts, whether it’s a better shirt or better printing (or both), you increase the odds of selling a shirt.

And, luckily, nicer shirts with nicer printing don’t cost a lot more. Pricing varies from screen printing shop to shop, but getting a nicer shirt option doesn’t usually add much more over a crappier shirt option. And you can sell a nicer shirt for more anyway to make up for that difference.

People may be more likely to buy a nice blank shirt brand name that they recognize or already have in their closet, too.

7. “Anyone want a drink or a shirt to go?”

If you want to get real aggressive in selling your restaurant shirts, have your wait staff ask diners if they want to get a shirt to go when closing them out.

It may be a bit much to ask your waiters to actually add in the shirts to the ticket, go fetch the shirts, and all that, and if so, anyone who did say they wanted a shirt, the waiter could let them know how to buy them up front, who to talk to, etc.

Need better shirts for your restaurant?

Whether it's for your staff, or to sell to your customers, your shirt quality should match your menu quality.

I started Vacord Screen Printing in 2006, and now focus on the marketing, where I've learned all these marketing tactics that I'm writing about that you could apply to your restaurant.

And we would love to print shirts for your restaurant. We focus on quality shirts (especially soft ink) while keeping pricing reasonable. And we even have special merch re-ordering stores so you can get more shirts for your staff or to sell super easily.

Need pricing? Have questions? Get in touch and let us know how we can help.