Step into any bar, and the first thing you'll notice are the logos. (OK, maybe that's the second thing—the first is the Bon Jovi song blasting about 1,000 decibels too loud.) But our point remains: There's branded stuff everywhere. It decorates the walls, it sits on and behind the bar, and it's worn by the bartenders, servers and kitchen staff. That's why landing a bar client is majorly cheers!-worthy for promotional products distributors.
But that doesn't mean it's easy. With most bars already well-stocked on glassware, coasters and other staples, it can be tough to convince buyers they need more. And many bars receive lots of promo gear from beverage distributors and the like, making it even harder to get buyers to pony up for branded products. If you don't pitch the right products or approach bar buyers the right way, your efforts could end in disaster.
So how do you break in? We talked to bar-industry sales veteran Gayle Piraino, founder and president of Gloucester, Massachusetts-based distributor GAP Promotions, to find out.
Promo Marketing (PM): There are a handful of products that bars are in obvious need of—glassware, coasters, etc. What are some less obvious products bars need just as much?
Gayle Piraino (GP): Some of the less obvious products that bars need are the most obvious to see when walking into any given bar. Things like signs, tap handles, shakers and glorifiers are all just as, if not more, important than the more obvious barware items like glassware and coasters. These items play a major part in creating the ambiance within a bar—without them the bar-going experience wouldn't be the same.
PM: What products do bars need most?
GP: The promotional products that bars most frequently are in need of are actually the more generic items. This includes things like T-shirts, bottle openers, Koozies and anything that is wearable. Sunglasses, for example, are one of the most popular items.
Related story: PMVideoBattle_SweetNuts_vs_QualityLogoProducts