Before the first whiff of pumpkin spice, before the first crisp chill of fall air, comes another sign we all wait for — the sound of cheers rising from the stadium. Football is back! And with it comes a favorite ritual of the season: tailgating and watching games with friends.
“Sales kick up 15 to 20 per cent after football kicks off,” says Brad Smith, founder and CEO of Hickory Tavern. “It’s the part of the business all the energy comes from.”
It’s also a fun, low-key way to score more business and brand effectively – without ever talking.
Football is big both for college games on Saturdays and NFL games on Sundays at all 29 of Hickory Tavern’s restaurants in North and South Carolina, Tennessee, and Alabama. But Smith has also found he gets some of his best customer feedback when he’s not even working, because he tailgates with friends on Sundays under a huge “Hickory Tavern” tent that he ordered from The Dunstan Group. Over it, he raises twoflags: one for his team and one for Hickory Tavern.
“I hear the good and bad about our restaurants,” says Smith. “And we get exposure to everyone parked around us!”
Now here’s the best part: Smith isn’t selling food under the tents. He’s not running a promotions table. He’s just hanging out with folks, eating and drinking, and having a good time. The customers find him because they see the logo and they want to say hi, share a thought, or borrow a bottle opener (usually the last one!) Sometimes he even hands out a koozie or two. But mostly, he’s just visible.
“It’s surprising how well that works!” he chuckles.
Beyond tents and koozies, The Dunstan Group offers other great branded merchandise that can make tailgating more fun and boost your brand without even working. Try these:
Stadium Seat Cushion
Relax in comfort on our newly designed Stadium Seat Cushions! These 10”x17” cushions are a proven fundraiser product, too. This comfy cushion with built-in handle is the perfect answer to those hard metal bleachers.
Tailgater Total Show Package
Our Tailgater Total Show Package is everything you need to put on a first-classtailgate production. Includes a standard 10’x10’ tent with full-color imprint on two sides, a 13’ Premium Razor Sign Kit with ground spike, a Sail Sign Mount, a 6’ table throw, and a matching event cooler!
Light Up Noise Makers
Each inflatable Noise Maker has an LED bulb. Once inflated, you can shake or hit together and watch them glow! They are ideal for night games, but these personalized noisemakers will make an impression no matter when or where they’re in use.
Light Up Inflatable Megaphone
Be seen AND heard at your team or school’s next big game! Our new light-up inflatable megaphone measuresa whopping 13.5″ long. Let them know you’re a fan with this easy-to-carry, simple-to-store piece.
Sweatshirt Sport Hoodie
Here’s our favorite sweatshirt blanket transformed it into the ultimate gameday accessory that you can now wear and wrap up in. It has 1 button at the neckline for easy on and off, plus a convenient hood to help cover you up in cool weather.
A BIG 20 quarts capacity party bucket for the serious tailgater. Foam insulated cooler body keeps beverages and snacks cold. Triple-snap leak resistant drain plug allows easy drain of melted ice. Ergonomic handle shape and wide grip for comfortable carrying, too.