By Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business
If your holiday wish list includes a Chick-fil-A sauce-themed blanket or a chicken nugget pillow, look no further.
The chicken chain has launched its first-ever online store, and it’s filled with quirky merchandise that pays homage to cult-favorite items. Highlights include an “I Heart Waffle Fries” hoodie, a “Chicken for Breakfast” hat and a clutch in the shape of Chick-fil-A sandwich packaging.
Chick-fil-A said it expects the products, which range from $15 to $75, to “sell out quickly” — and the chain is already planning for more merchandise next year. It’s the first time the company has sold branded clothing and gifts, though it has sold its much-beloved sauces at grocery stores.
It’s just one way fast-food chains have recently been expanding their product range beyond food as a way to create buzz and excite fans.
The approach is “another avenue for companies like McDonald’s to do this outside of TV [ads],” Andrew Charles, restaurant sector analyst with Cowen, recently told CNN Business, adding that the aging brands need a way to attract younger customers so selling buzzy merch is a “home run.”
McDonald’s has had runaway success with its recent Cactus Plant Flea Market toys and sweaters that are listed for hundreds and even thousands of dollars above retail price on secondary websites. In an October earnings call, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski said “50% of our supply of collectibles was sold in the first four days.” The chain plans to sell even more merchandise, such as Chicken McNugget stockings, next month for its new holiday promotion.
Chipotle has a sprawling online store, including items made from “responsibly sourced” clothing and souvenirs. In August, it quickly sold out of a lemonade-scented soy candle designed to look like a Chipotle cup.
It’s not just branded hoodies that diners are snapping up: Dunkin, for example, collaborated with TikTok-favorite beauty brand e.l.f Cosmetics to launch a limited-edition makeup collection inspired by Dunkin’s coffees and donuts.
Larissa Jensen, NPD vice president and a beauty industry adviser, said brands are increasingly using unexpected collaborations to stay relevant and grab the attention of younger shoppers.
“Our studies show that one-third of consumers in the 18-44 age range are likely to buy products from collaborations,” Jensen told CNN Business earlier this year.
–CNN Business’ Parija Kavilanz contributed to this report.
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