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Merch Madness

These days, fast-food restaurants that want to get customers' attention need to sell more than great food, they also have to offer standout merchandise. For many, that means getting into the clothing business, which helps build brand loyalty and provides free advertising when fans wear their favorite brand logos out and about. Fast-food clothing can be retro, modern, or sometimes a little crazy, but not all of it is a hit, and some items are, shall we say, a bit tasteless. Panera, the latest chain to jump on the fashion bandwagon, hopes you'll want to accessorize in its signature green.

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Panera released a limited-edition handbag to coincide with the debut of its toasted baguette sandwiches, and the name is nothing short of perfect. The BAGuette is made with embossed Panera green pleather that's just a bit larger than the baguette sandwiches, so you may be able to fit one in there, depending on what else you're carrying. It features a metal logo buckle and magnetic closure that mimics some high-end bags, though this one will set you back only $40 if you snag one presale (through Feb. 13).

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Chick-fil-A's lineup of merch was inspired by the fact that it's one of the original fried chicken sandwich chains. It's mostly understated and minimalistic, with an "Original" sweatshirt, "pickle pickle" T-shirt, and "chicken for breakfast" trucker hat. For something a little more branded and cozy, grab the blanket that looks like a packet of Chick-fil-A sauce that comes with a fuzzy chicken nugget pillow. Naturally, there's also an "eat mor chikin" plush cow. 

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Little Caesars

Little Caesars

Little Caesars sells a selection of pizza-inspired clothing and accessories at its online shop, including T-shirts, loungewear, socks, and even a pair of pizza slides to quickly slip into when dashing to pick up a pizza. The Iconic slip-on sneakers are a stylish standout item, though at $85 are somewhat overpriced, and the hot-n-ready boxers ($35) are a double entendre everyone can appreciate — or not.



The only problem with the IHOP clothing and accessory line is that there isn't more of it. Anyone could use a baseball tee that says "Pancakes Pancakes Pancakes" or a rainbow-colored image of pancakes and syrups with the words "sticky situation" in between the pair. Maybe the next drop will include an adult-sized version of the youth "Suzy & Pancakes" tee. Though IHOP locations have been closing nationwide for a variety of reasons including no-carb diets and an overall slump for casual dining, there’s a chance the pancake-themed clothing might spur visitors to rediscover the chain.


Taco Bell

Taco Bell has an impressive array of branded T-shirts available at its online store. You can also score bold-lettered hoodies, taco shell-print sweatpants, a retro fanny pack, your choice of socks, and even a sauce packet-print tie.You can even nab a Taco Bell bandana for your dog. The merchandise is an extension of Taco Bell’s youthful (and sometimes snarky) attitude.


Shake Shack

The famed burger slingers created a line of T-shirts to benefit The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention resource for LGBTQ youth. Choose from a variety of tees featuring rainbow stripes (or burgers), or aT-shirt with a rainbow-colored list of Shake Shake menu items. Other Shake Shack items fall into the 'meh' category, with a collection of T-shirts and hats featuring the burger icon, along with Shake Shack locations.

AuntieAnne's Artist Shop
Crocs Retail, LLC


Standing firm in the 'no, thank you' category is the now long since sold-out KFC-Crocs collaboration no one asked for and yet became a hot topic in the zeitgeist. The shoes featured a close-up of the legendary chicken printed on the utilitarian shoes. It’s not clothing related, but if you want to get your KFC fix in the comfort of your own home, opt for the 11 herbs and spices-scented firewood sold exclusively at Walmart.

Golden Arches Unlimited


McDonald’s has found retro imagery to use on its branded merchandise to cement fans’ fondness for the chain, though the number of items is surprisingly limited. Choose betweenfun, edgy socks like a pair of birdie the early bird for some throwback style. Or go for the simple Happy Meal T-shirt and keep your love for the Golden Arches low key and stylish.

Chipotle Goods


After the company made headlines for E. coli outbreaks in 2015, Chipotle seems to have found its footing again. Still, reviews are mixed about the upcycled avocado program, in which the manufacturer uses the pits from the fruit to dye T-shirts, tote bags, beanies, and sweatshirts an admittedly boring beige. The Chipotle Goods website also offers a specially dyed onesie for your kiddo. Not in the market for a bland T-shirt? Then try the pepper-print camisole or the chips and guac slides. 

ELK Promotions, Inc.


Though other fast-food restaurants tiptoe into the land of branded merchandise, Wendy’s has gone racing in on a bottle rocket, but the selection fails to capture the imagination. Not only is the website dreary, many of the items available seem more like corporate swag than anything to spend money on clothing-wise. Choose fromtouchscreen gloves,aviator sunglasses, or a retro fries wristband if rocking the Wendy’s brand appeals. While checking out the chain’s website, go the extra mile and splurge onFrosty-flavored lip balms.

Cool Stuff, LLC


The drive-in burger chain's milkshakes are second to none, but the brand's clothing line seems like a missed opportunity. Sure, the slush mood tee comes in a cool colorful pattern, and the cheeky "My Car Is My Favorite Dining Room" T-shirt is a cute play on the whole Sonic experience. But where are the tater tot T-shirts or the milkshake socks? Maybe next year. 

DD IP Holder, LLC.


The punchy orange and hot-pink logo became a hot item when the brand debuted a line of clothing and other assorted merchandise for the 2019-2020 holiday season and quickly sold out. After selling out of sweats, hoodies and wearable blankets in 2021, the doughnut franchise debuted new items, like this adult onesie, Dunkin' pattern sweatshirts, fuzzy slippers and other playful items. The items have invited fans to share their love of Dunkin’ (or just the fun designs and colors) and this year’s stock seems well on its way to selling out before or shortly after Thanksgiving.