When food arrives at the kitchen table, it tends to become food, not experience. That’s why Bartaco has dramatically expanded its merchandising program to bring a bit of the seaside lifestyle the brand is known for to the off-site experience.
CEO Scott Lawton said it’s about turning restaurant hospitality into something tangible at home. Humbly, he says the company has “played” with it, but the company is out of lunchboxes and swimwear, and it struggles to keep up with the shakers for its margarita kits or salsas. bottle. Lawton said they could someday turn customer patios into Bartaco facsimile.
“It really resonates with our customers. I think people have a relationship with Bartaco, ”Lawton said. “I think we could even have outdoor furniture, there is so much that people love.”
Before the pandemic, he said the company was playing with merchandise, selling branded shirts and other tchotchkes in some places. When dining rooms closed and people were reluctant to go out, having this point of contact with homebound consumers became a higher priority and it continues to this day. But it had to go through the brand’s vision of casual vibes and beach cabanas without being cheap plastic gimmicks.
“The swimsuits in partnership with North Harbor are great, they are durable, they look great. That’s all we’re interested in, it’s a perfect game, ”said Lawton. “When they put it up for sale, they sold out immediately.”
Another example is the metal lunch box. It’s part of the restaurant’s fun kids ‘menu, but separates the kids’ meal from the rest of the take out or delivery order.
“One of the things we’re really famous for is the kids menu. We have a really healthy and fun kids’ menu that parents take pride in feeding their child and kids love. With all of these takeaways, I was trying to find a way to connect with the kids, what’s fun? Lawton mused.
Thinking back to the heyday of ’80s Happy Meal, he said the lunchbox matched the brand and the emphasis on the kids’ menu. He ordered 5,000 and they all sold out quickly.
“We couldn’t believe the demand,” Lawton said. “So we’re going to keep playing with it. “
Then, something for the old fools who order on their phone: reading glasses from the Bartaco brand. There are also sauce pouches for off-premises orders to create a semblance of the many table sauces at the kitchen table.
He said, first and foremost, whatever that merchandise is, it should be a logical extension of the brand and keep the restaurant in mind for the next visit, whether it is in the restaurant or at home.
“It makes sense as long as it fits the overall definition of who you are, you have to have a really good idea of who you are. Customers will be drawn to this if it makes sense. That’s the key, ”Lawton said. “We think about that with everything we do. Does it fit into this Bartaco gestalt? If you do that, it will resonate.