Consumers will spend $655.8 billion during the November and December shopping binge leading up to the holidays, according to the National Retail Federation. Some restaurants are refusing to let retailers capture all that bounty. Even if their restaurant-related gifts don't take off, the attention snared with products like a Burger King sweater or a KFC candle can deliver a marketing payoff.
Here’s what seven restaurants are serving up for their limited-time foray into retail.
1. It's McRib season
McDonald’s launched a seasonal website complete with a small collection of free gifts. The list of downloadable items includes a music playlist dubbed The Ultimate McRib Collection. The website calls the songs “the most beautiful and heartfelt words ever sung about pork.” Offerings also include six varieties of downloadable McRib wrapping paper and cover art from songs on the playlist. Song album covers include “Let’s Slip into Something a Little More Comfortable, Like My Stomach,” and “Can You Hear Me Crying in the Drive-Thru.”
2. Your stomach's on fire
That’s what Burger King customers might hear if they find this Christmas sweater from the chain's French operations under their tree this year. The unusual winter garment comes with a fireplace belly pocket, allowing the wearer to play a video of a fire on their smartphone, slip the phone inside the sweater and display a cozy fireplace on their stomach. The sweater is available for purchase online through Rad, a French clothing company.
3. Light a candle with the Colonel
KFC New Zealand held a drawing via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram last week for its limited-edition scented candle. Contestants could enter by sharing, retweeting or commenting on social media posts from KFC about the candle. KFC has not said what the candle smells like, but the Colonel’s face is displayed on the front. Fried chicken followers in the U.S. may have a hard time getting their hands on one, as KFC announced that they do not plan to sell the candle here at this time. The candle is part of an advent calendar promotion with drawings for other items, including a KFC coffee mug and a Colonel Sanders art print.
4. Decorate with Waffle House
6. Sweet treats from the Old Country Store
Cracker Barrel has everything from lollipops shaped like candy canes to an Elvis Presley Christmas tree ornament in the Christmas section of its online gift shop. There are also items in the Christmas category that don’t seem to have anything to do with Christmas, including an infant bow tie and suspenders set and a black tweed fedora. Some items are available in Cracker Barrel’s physical gift shops.
7. Take Santa home with a medium drink
For the fourth year in a row, Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen customers will receive one of four free holiday collector cups with the purchase of a medium beverage. The cups display the Sundblom Santa depicted in Coca-Cola’s Christmas advertisements from the 1930s and Coca-Cola’s polar bear characters in various states of merriment with food from Popeyes.