With more restaurants taking to retail, there’s ample opportunity for customers to forgo the holiday hustle and consider visiting their local dining hotspot to stock up on gifts. Think pizza stones from a favorite pizza joint, beer mugs at a nearby craft brewery, and let’s not forget punny tees from pretty much everywhere. Take a cue from a few of our favorites so you’re ready for guests who are hungry for great ideas, but who have experienced a loss of appetite at the idea of dealing with mall madness. Or consider splurging on some food-focused gear for your hard-working staff.
Remember to Promote Your Restaurant Merchandise
Don’t just expect regular customers to think of you when it comes to holiday shopping. They might not know you offer anything outside their favorite glass of pinot. Be sure to highlight each gift on social media, and consider even offering a special discount code for customers who share with their networks. Your servers can also be your biggest asset. Just as they’re trained to upsell appetizers and dessert, coach them on incorporating merchandise selling into their service. Host a contest to reward the server with the most merchandise sold, and watch it fly off the shelves.
Restaurant Merchandise Ideas
T-Shirts from City Winery
Complaining about gift shopping stress? Put a cork in it, and grab these super soft 100% brushed cotton, American-made tees that speak to wine enthusiasts on your list. We can’t stop toasting the cheeky quips, including Stop and Smell the Rosé and Everything Happens for a Riesling.
$19, City Winery (80 Beverly Street, Boston) or online
Sushi Socks from Kenji’s Ramen & Grill
Precisely folded to resemble the ornamental Japanese delicacy, these 16-inch sushi socks are packed in a nice little box and ready for wear. They’re made of a cotton/nylon blend and display a stripe of your sushi of choice: salmon, tamago omelet, or tuna. Chopsticks not included.
$7, Kenji’s Ramen & Grill (204 SE Park Plaza Drive, Suite 103, Vancouver, Washington), or online for local delivery only.
Beanie from Slater’s
Embroidered with a hefty signature Slater’s 50/50 Burger (known for its tasty half bacon, half ground beef patty), this toasty navy blue knit beanie is sure to keep your favorite meathead warm through the chilly months.
$12, at California, Hawaii, Nevada and Texas locations and online
Sneakers from The Meatball Shop
When Vans vice president and unofficial ambassador of fun Steve VanDoren gets together with The Meatball Shop to collaborate on a new sneaker, the results are (high) tops. The shop’s fourth shoe design with Vans, these kicky black and white checkered sneakers (which share shelf space with other meatball-centric clothing, like a “Baller” sweatshirt) showcase an animated superstar of NYC’s favorite home of the meatball.
$65, (718) 551-0525 to order, or online. Photo credit: Liz Cayman
Shucking Knife from Island Creek Oyster
Talk about a gift that gives. Island Creek Oyster’s ergonomic shucking knife is made from 50-percent ocean-bound plastic recovered in Haiti through cleanups that give back to the community. Your lucky recipient gets a chance to practice when you pair it with a trio of Island Creek, Row 34, and Aunt Dotty oysters shipped directly to them. Aw shucks.
$20 (oyster trio $89), online
Sign from Cheers
Send the perfect message of holiday cheer (literally) with this cut out wooden sign. Whether it’s placed on a bar or hung above it, this homage to the celebrated sitcom is the perfect reminder to raise a glass to family and friends. Pair it with alongside a gift of wine or spirits to get the party started.