By Ellie Violet Bramley
From bakeries and pizzerias to breweries and roasteries, customers are supporting their favourite eateries during the pandemic by buying an astonishing amount of branded goods
Restaurant merch used to mean a Hard Rock Cafe T-shirt. But now, many roasteries, bakeries, breweries and restaurants are offering covetable, design-savvy merchandise.
At a time when the hospitality industry is in tatters because of the pandemic – UK restaurants and casual dining firms recorded almost 30,000 job losses in 2020 and seven in 10 restaurants fear they will have to close as a result of the pandemic – many establishments around the country, including Crazy Pedros, a pizza parlour and tequila bar with branches in Manchester and Liverpool, the Taiwanese cult restaurant Bao, Mangal 2 and Top Cuvée, have seen a rise in merchandise sales. “The T-shirts have been absolutely flying out,” says Max Halley of Max’s Sandwich Shop. Merchandise is a way for customers to support their favourite spots. For many businesses, ithas been a genuine help. “T-shirt sales have topped up pay packets, paid rent and utility bills … money we owed suppliers and all that sort of stuff. They have kept our heads above water,” says Halley. As Brodie Meah, co-owner of north London’s Top Cuvée restaurant and wine shop, points out, it helps that “There’s a better margin on selling T-shirts than a plate of cooked food”.