Have you ever wondered how certain restaurants manage to create such a loyal following?
Whether it’s a cozy local diner or a national chain, swag and merchandise (merch) have become an integral key to the recipe of motivating patrons to return. Combined with most delectable food in town, customers love a display of cool branded merchandise. From trendy t-shirts to stylish hats and even cute little keychains, these goodies serve as both a souvenir and a reminder of the amazing experience you had at that restaurant.
Every one of those patrons then becomes a billboard for your restaurant’s brand. That merch acts as a conversation starter with friends and strangers. So, whether you’re wearing that catchy restaurant logo or sipping coffee out of a funky custom mug, their swag creates a sense of belonging and excitement, making it hard to resist returning for more mouthwatering meals. It’s like carrying a piece of their favorite spot wherever they go!
Massachusetts based company VistaPrint has turned creating a customized branding platform for restaurants into an art. Known worldwide for its business cards, invitations and merchandise, VistaPrint helps businesses create quality branding for small and large businesses, while also helping to elevate others’ branding and take them to the next level.
“Small business branding really starts with who you are,” noted Erin Shea, Senior Director of North America Marketing for VistaPrint, “What does your business represent, and what do you want your customers to experience? In a competitive market with evolving marketing tactics, you can find yourself asking how do you stand out from the crowd?”
Shea believes it is all about your branding. “Your brand expression is your logo and your business’s look and feel,” she continued. “A creative logo that can go on menus, apparel and is used across all platforms can make your brand stand out, bring in more clientele, as well as create a larger platform for your business. A logo serves as the visual representation of a restaurant’s brand, communicating the restaurant’s personality, values, and overall aesthetic. The logo’s design elements, such as colors, fonts, and imagery, convey the restaurant’s ambiance and style, giving customers a preview of what to expect from the dining experience.”
Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, restaurants had to find ways to generate new and more accessible ways to stay running and stay relevant in the industry, causing a growth in take out, loyalty cards, and selling certain products in their restaurant and in stores. Integrating the restaurant into people’s everyday lives with products in their home helps diversify the restaurant’s portfolio and reach in the community.
In addition, having a specific, unique logo on takeout bags and even menus go a long way in building your brand’s following and bringing more customers in. When customers see the logo on signage, advertisements, or apparel, it triggers an association with the restaurant and its offerings. Over time, this familiarity builds trust and loyalty, making it more likely for customers to choose the restaurant over competitors.
One project VistaPrint collaborated on was with Humberto Leon, world-renowned fashion designer, creative director, activist and innovator, when he opened his second restaurant in Los Angeles, Monarch. “VistaPrint helped Leon grow his reach and empire through an elevated collection of apparels and accessories,” the veteran marketing executive explained. “This kind of stylish apparel is appealing to a large demographic, and those who wear the merchandise are a walking advertisement. Well-designed and high-quality merchandise items can attract customers who are willing to support the restaurant by purchasing branded products.”
“Customers wearing a tee shirt with a restaurant’s branding spreads awareness of the restaurant and creates a sense of loyalty from the customers,” Shea continued. “Not only is it good for advertisement purposes, but it also provides an additional source of income that goes beyond food and beverage sales. Merchandise is an investment, but there is longevity in its ways of showing off your brand for the future. Restaurants are expanding into these areas and are seeing the return in a long-term perspective. Merchandise can play a significant role in enhancing the success and visibility of restaurants.”
A focus for VistaPrint has been assisting restaurants and businesses find their Post-Pandemic normal with a modernization of their brand. They offer marketing materials, as well as inspiration for new branding and logo design. “We offer a range of price points with budget friendly options as well as sustainable product options (such as recycled paper) because “when you are looking to invest in physical products you have to choose what is important and right for your business,” Shea explained.
VistaPrint offers a variety of services and has simplified the process for the busy restaurateur. “You can come to our website and work with a number of different expert designers to create a logo and there’s a large range of physical products, apparel, signage, etc. to put that logo out in your community to promote your business,” Shea concluded. To learn more, visit the VistaPrint can be found online at vistaprint.com.