What’s driving the merch opportunity at restaurants?
P.F. Chang’s last week became the latest retailer to open an online retail store.
Included in PFCShop.com’s offerings are an Origami Crane Hoodie ($45), a Sushi Roll Bucket Hat ($30), Heat Activated Mug ($20), Three-Piece Bamboo Cutting Board Set ($45) and 14-Inch Non-Stick Wok ($85). Select flagship locations, including in Las Vegas and Hawaii, will also sell the merchandise.
“We know that consumers are looking to connect with brands on a more experiential level, and we are launching PFCShop.com to meet that demand and integrate into their lifestyle in a new and meaningful way,” said Damola Adamolekun, CEO of P.F. Chang’s, in a statement.
Cracker Barrel, Waffle House, In-N-Out Burger, Margaritaville and Planet Hollywood are among food establishments that have long sold merchandise year-round inside locations as well as online. McDonald’s launched its first permanent online retail shop in 2019.
Others with year-round stores include Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, IHOP, Krispy Kreme. Taco Bell and White Castle. Many have holiday-themed shops, including Dunkin’, Pizza Hut, Little Caesars, Outback Steakhouse and Red Lobster, with many receiving social media buzz for their ugly Christmas sweaters. Arby’s is offering meat-scented wrapping paper this holiday season.
McDonald’s, KFC, Popeye’s, Wendy’s, Burger King and other fast-food chains have found success with limited-edition streetwear and other items, often in collaboration with celebrities. Tim Hortons just partnered with Justin Bieber on a limited-edition offering of donuts and co-branded merchandise, including a beanie, fanny pack and tote bag.
Sonic earlier this year opened its first year-round online merchandise shop with a range of t-shirts tailored to local markets. Lori Abou Habib, Sonic’s chief marketing officer said in a statement, “We’ve seen incredible moments in which our guests have experienced life milestones both big and small, from weekend hangouts and driver’s license celebrations, to first dates and proposals, to weekly family nights. With these custom T-shirts, all Sonic guests can rep their local pride and encapsulate ‘THIS IS HOW WE SONIC’ in true style.”
- P.F. Chang’s Launches Online Retail Store with Apparel and Cookware – P.F. Chang
- McDonald’s Unveils New Online Merchandise Shop, “Golden Arches Unlimited,” for Big Mac Burger Lovers, Fry Enthusiasts and More – McDonald’s
- El Pollo Loco Launches Loco Gifts and Gear Store with Famed L.A.-Based Latino Creators – El Pollo Loco/Globe Newswire
- IHOP Announces Opening Of A PancakeWear Shop, An Online Retail Destination Dedicated To The World’s Best Food — Pancakes – IHOP/PRNewswire
- This Food-Inspired Apparel Lets Anyone Wear Their Appetite on Their Sleeve – People
- Your Favorite Food Brands Are Selling Ugly Sweaters For The Holidays – Mashed
- You can now buy Culver’s scrunchies, bucket hats, clothes and more — but only for a limited time – Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
- SONIC Releases Swag Collection Inspired by Drive-Ins Across the Country – Sonic/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Why have retail merchandise offerings, whether year-round or limited-time, become such a possible tactic for fast-food chains and restaurants? Is the bigger benefit from these efforts commerce or marketing?