Best Merch for Coffee Shops and Restaurants

May 26, 2022

Looking for memorable coffee merchandise and restaurant swag? You're in the right place.

Merchandise serves diverse purposes. Companies can also give promotional items in an array of settings such as coffee shops, restaurants, and bars. Therefore, food establishments benefit from purchasing restaurant swag, cafe merchandise, and gifts to sell in a coffee shop. 

The main purpose of merchandise is to market a brand. In other situations, promotional items double as mementos. For example, music concert goers can relieve their experience by picking up a t-shirt after the show. People enjoy commemorating visits to regional burger chains, historical coffee shops, and bars with storied pasts. 

Well-known burger chains, sandwich shops, and coffee establishments use swag strategically. They sell the restaurant swag and coffee merchandise; they may also give swag away for free through contests, promotions, and as gifts with a purchase.

Establishments in the food service industry can purchase branded gifts to sell in a coffee shop. You can also pick up free promotional items for bars from the best merchandise websites. Another strategic marketing way to use custom restaurant merchandise is to purchase branded t shirts for restaurant staff. 

Brands can pick from many coffee merchandise ideas and restaurant merchandise ideas. To start your branded merch journey, Gemnote outlines five categories and several product ideas to consider. 

1. Company Merchandise Ideas

Canvas Totes

When you cater to an eco-conscious market, pick up high-quality and durable branded merch such as canvas totes. 

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

Like baseball caps, keep business merch ideas such as tote bags simple. However, feature your logo prominently. When the recipients use the tote to carry their groceries, gear to work, or picnic items, passerbyers will notice it.

Shown: Baggu Duck Bag  

If you want more tote variety options, you can find those too including business merch ideas with front pocket, military-inspired styles and more. 

Travel Pouch 

Tourism is great for local economies. Tourists are more likely to purchase restaurant merchandise, coffee merchandise, and bar swag when they visit. Thus, consider adding travel pouches to your line of best restaurant merchandise.

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

When you visit your favorite retailer and explore the travel pouches, you’ll notice that most have simple designs. They have a zip closure at the top and often come in solid colors. That’s a lot of space to place your logo.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Travel pouches have evolved over the last several years. You’ll find standard leather pouches that resemble makeup bags; you’ll also find smaller and larger ones that fit a variety of daily essentials.

2. Branded Merchandise Ideas


Whether you manage a coffee shop, restaurant, or bar, mugs remain great merchandise examples to give away or sell. Mugs come in various sizes, materials, and colors. 

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

A simple mug is great as coffee merchandise ideas. If you order them in bulk, you’ll receive attractive discounts. Your logo on a mug won’t expire. Once you make the investment, you can count it as a marketing expense and part of your establishment’s marketing plan.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Travel cup

The quality of promotional items elevated in the 2010s so did the type. In 2022, your eatery can give away mugs; it can also give away travel mugs with lids and reusable straws.

Photo courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee

Whether the recipient enjoys their travel mug at home, the office, or in their vehicle, the lid comes in handy. It keeps the contents at the desired temperature longer. The lid also prevents spills and leaks. No one wants to experience the burns or stains from hot coffee or tea.

Photo courtesy of Blue Bottle Coffee

A commuter cup is a different version of the mug. The versions with lids and straws elevate the travel cup and become unique custom merch options since most establishments opt for simple mugs.

As promotional items that pay dividends on investments, drinkware is one the same level as branded headwear and totes. Every time recipients travel with them, someone is bound to notice the logo.

3. Clothing Merch Ideas

Apparel Tees

Apparel has several benefits. To sell it or entice people to wear it, start with your staff. Your team shows off why your apparel is among the best restaurant tees. The same is true for coffee shop sweatshirt options that you hope to markup and sell.

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

The better the quality, the more likely swag recipients are likely to purchase best restaurant tees. A simple tee becomes a memento worth purchasing and wearing with the right design. If you need help picking out the design, visit We’ll help you customize t shirts for restaurant staff.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

When considering t shirts for restaurant staff or the best restaurant tees, consider unisex options. Then, order the most common sizes. Sticking with neutral colors is another feature to pick. 

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

To help customers and swag recipients feel like they received a quality t shirt, pick the ones made from high-quality materials such as cotton that are washing machine friendly. 


Everyone wears socks. They can even wear socks with sandals. Since washing machines continue eating socks, the public can’t have too many pairs. Because of that, branded socks are an inexpensive option that tops creative merch ideas.

So when it comes to cafe merchandise, you can't go wrong with crew socks. Plus, companies can have fun with the design by picking colors that match its establishment’s branding.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore


Branded headwear continues to rank favorably among swag recipients. Thus, adding baseball caps, snapbacks, trucker hats, and beanies to your custom restaurant merchandise is a good move. 

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

To satisfy a wide audience, keep things simple. Neutral-colored baseball caps that feature your company’s logo in the front or on the side is enough to promote your business. Most sizes fit all and if you order them in bulk, cost-effective.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Bucket hats come and go as fashion statements. Nonetheless, you can use them as free promotion items for bars.

4. Creative Merchandise Ideas: Accessories

Enamel Pins

Accessories easily become creative merch ideas, and colorful enamel pins like these from Aimé Leon Dore are perfect for adding flair to your unique custom merch. 

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore


Bandanas are another fun way to bring your branding to life. Ready to show off your logo? The best merchandise websites can help you find the perfect bandana style and brand to feature your branding.

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Bandanas already come in several designs, colors, and materials. Since they are cost-effective merchandise, management can order and give them away as free promotions items for bars. The versatility of the bandana also means that they can become coffee merchandise ideas and restaurant swag too. 

Photo courtesy of Aimé Leon Dore

Those who prefer to order coasters separate from mugs can give them away as standalone promotionals items. Although coffee shops don’t usually hand coasters to customers, restaurants and bars do. 

Start by ordering branded coasters that your establishment uses. Then, order nicer ones that turn into bar merchandise ideas and custom restaurant merchandise. 


Whether you manage an independent or franchise coffee shop, many managers hold themed gatherings to attract loyal patrons every day. Quiz, game, or sports nights, you can give away branded coffee merchandise to the winners. 

Shown: Coffee Talk by Piecework Puzzles

Shown: Areaware Little Puzzle Thing® 


Coffee shops can also invest in their promotional cafe merchandise. Avid readers are among the types of customers that cafes will receive in large numbers. Thus, give them a book that they’ll enjoy reading and displaying on their coffee table. 

Shown: W&P Brew Book

5. Marketing Merchandise Ideas


Aprons come in many shapes and sizes and many people can wear them. Dads enjoy wearing them while BBQing while moms wear them to keep their clothes clean. Some aprons serve as novelty items to commemorate holidays, special occasions, and inside jokes among friends. 

Photo courtesy of Café Leon Dore

Branded aprons and food establishments go hand in hand. Your kitchen staff, servers, and baristas probably already wear aprons. The staff at your establishments sell food and drinks. They also market your business and merchandise you would like to give away and sell.


The United States surpassed a population of 330 million in 2020. Plus, the Department of Motor Vehicles registered 276 million vehicles. Therefore, those are millions of opportunities to distribute branded keychains. Even in cities where it doesn’t make sense to own a car, people still need something that helps them organize the keys to their residence.

You can also opt for plastic keychains that can withstand daily use. When you pick out the material for gifts to sell in a coffee shop, skip cheap merchandise ideas. If you plan to mark up the items from the purchase price, customers expect to purchase quality. Plus, recipients of free swag will appreciate receiving high-quality items. 

Photo courtesy of Idlewild Co. 

Shown Coffee & Sunshine Key Tag from Pixel Paper Hearts

There are several restaurants that sell merchandise. Managers interested in selling merchandise options will find them. You can take a cue from burger chains that only operate in the southwest. Since the quality of their food remains high and the menu constant, travelers make it a point to stop by when they find themselves in town. These chains sell custom restaurant merchandise that tells the story of the brand. In addition to offering customized t shirts for their restaurant staff, they opt for unique custom merch for ewveryone which strategy bodes well with customers. 

Other restaurants that sell merchandise sell the t shirts for restaurant staff as it becomes a novelty item. So yes, restaurants can sell merchandise. Depending on the state and local government, ensure that your establishment obtains the proper permits. Restaurants that sell merchandise have different tax requirements that they must satisfy. The same goes for those who aim to obtain gifts to sell in a coffee shop.

Merchandizing a brand means placing your logo on cafe merchandise, coffee shop sweatshirt or custom restaurant merchandise. It’s not necessary to go overboard on the design. By keeping it simple, the merchandise can show off your brand more easily. 

Those interested in finding out the cost to make merchandise can head to for more information. We’ll also show you how to place your logo on the merchandise. 

Tip: To keep the costs reasonable, buy in bulk.

The best type of merch to pick is the one that flies off your inventory shelves or the type that customers request. It makes sense for coffee shops and cafés to pick up mugs and other drinkware. Restaurants can pick up apparel and accessories that the staff wears.

We gave several merch item examples that double as great bar merchandise ideas, free promotional items for bars, and custom restaurant merchandise. A coffee shop sweatshirt that staff wears becomes attractive to customers, especially when the weather turns chilly.

Some bars have histories that date back to the times of Prohibition. So travelers put them on their bucket lists. Free promotional items for bars might not become a top priority for some managers but it’s a good idea to think about the customer first. They’ll enjoy walking away from the bar with a branded coaster, bandana, or keychain.

The best merchandise per bar, restaurant, and coffee shop matches the establishment and clientele. Go-to items include t shirts, hats, and keychains since each has a place in daily life. It’s nice to receive a high-quality t shirt for free. Hats protect individuals from the sun and hide bed hair really well. Whether an individual hangs their car or house keys on a  keychain is up to them. Nonetheless, the keychain will find a home. 

In 2022, customers seek promotional merchandise that’s durable and friendly for the environment. The swag trends have evolved toward travel pouches, aprons, and travel mugs that can handle the daily commute. If your establishment doesn’t have an artist or graphic designer on staff, that’s OK. A Gemnote rep can walk you through the merchandise customization process. 

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