11 Must-Have Promotional Items For Restaurants

When it comes to promoting your restaurant, you have a lot of options. Billboards, newspaper advertisements, and, of course, promotional items. Whether you give them away for free, offer them as loyalty rewards, or sell them to customers, promotional items can do wonders for your eatery. 

A study on the effectiveness of promotional products from 2020 found that 40% of consumers who own promo products report that they have kept some for more than 10 years. This marketing strategy can really leave an impression on your customer—and your business—for years to come. 

To help you figure out what promo products to purchase for your restaurant, we’ve compiled a list of 11 must-have promotional items for any restaurant or bar. 

What are the Best Promotional Items for Restaurants?

1. Coffee Mugs

Serve up hot cups of joe, hot cocoa, tea, and lattes inside a mug that reflects your diner or restaurant’s brand. Choosing a clever, eye-catching design not only ups the chances your restaurant will show up in Instagram pics, but also makes your mugs more likely to fly off the shelves of your gift shop. 

2. Face Masks

Depending on where you’re located, face masks are still the norm. A study from 2020 found that 52% of consumers would keep a logoed mask for more than three months. Consider giving away or selling promotional masks to your customers. They’ll appreciate the gesture and think more highly of your business, too. 

3. Promotional Magnets

Restaurant magnets put your logo and phone number right into your customer’s kitchen. Prime real estate when you’re hoping to be on your customer’s mind during meal time. Restaurant magnets are great giveaways for pizza shops, Chinese restaurants, and other to-go spots. 

4. Branded Keychains

Wouldn’t it be nice if every time your customer reached for their keys, their eyes landed on your logo? That’s a possibility when you add logo keychains to your brand strategy. Branded keychains subtly suggest to your customer where they should drive to for dinner. 

5. Reusable Bags

Sure, you could send your guests’ leftovers or take-out orders home in a plastic or paper bag. Or, you could invest in reusable bags that feature your eatery’s logo. Throw in a coupon for a free app or a happy hour flyer, and you may have yourselves a repeat customer. Not to mention that potential business the bag could drum up while your customer runs errands using their new reusable bag. 

6. Bottle Openers

If you run a brewery, custom bottle openers are a no-brainer. Make sure your bartenders and servers have personalized bottle openers to use behind the bar and tableside. Consider giving some out to customers too. 

7. Clothing 

Do you have a famous hot wing eating challenge? Is your restaurant a known tourist spot? Offering a curated assortment of apparel to your customers can help you transform your customers into walking advertisements for your restaurant. Do a mix of giveaways and sales to help develop your brand. You may be surprised to hear that 23 percent of consumers reported actually purchasing a promotional product in the last year. 

Popular branded clothing items for restaurants include t-shirts, hoodies, caps, and aprons. Just make sure your designs are stylish so that your customers will actually wear them! 

8. Customized Pens

Order personalized pens bearing your restaurant name and logo. Leave some at the register and on the table for signing the bill. Encourage customers to take one along after paying—it’ll pay off! The 2019 Global Ad Impressions Study found that promotional writing instruments generate 3,000 impressions throughout their lifetime. 

9. Custom Printed Disposables

Reusable items aren’t the only thing you should slap your logo on. Personalize an assortment of disposable cups, napkins, paper or plastic bags, food containers, printed labels, and more. Custom printed products let you promote your brand while purchasing items you’d need for your business anyway. Talk about a win-win. 

10. Sanitizer Wipe Packets

Some foods simply leave customers’ hands a mess. Whether you’re serving up ribs slathered in BBQ sauce, sushi, fondue, or other messy finger foods, wipe packets are a lifesaver for customers—especially in a day and age when hygiene is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. Order wipe packets with your logo on the wrapper to keep on the table or place in to-go bags. 

11. Personalized Mints

End the meal off right by having your servers bring branded mints to the table along with the check. Customers appreciate the little “freebie” at the end of their meal. And, if they pocket the mint for later, they’ll be reminded of your restaurant when they finally do eat it. 

Final Thoughts on Restaurant Promo Items

Once you decide which promotional goods to purchase, you’ll need to figure out how to get them into the hands of your customers. Ultimately, it’s your decision to make; after all, you know your customers better than anyone. Here are a few ideas to get you started: 

  • Sell items by the POS system or in a makeshift gift shop 
  • Offer promo items as part of a loyalty reward program 
  • Give away custom goods during trivia nights or pool tournaments  
  • Stick promotional goods inside take-out bags
  • Hand out promotional items when you open a new location or reopen after renovations

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