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How to Choose Promotional Coasters

Updated on February 15, 2019
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Heidi Thorne is the author of "SWAG: How to Choose and Use Promotional Products for Marketing Your Business."

Sample of plastic promotional coaster made from corn.
Sample of plastic promotional coaster made from corn. | Source

Though they have been around for many years, expanded printing capabilities for full-color imprints and technological developments such as QR codes have helped promotional coasters reemerge as a marketing tool that still is relevant for today's businesses.

Promotional coasters are small, flat items on which drinks are placed that feature logos and other marketing messages. Their primary purpose is to help protect surfaces from liquid damage from drinks while also promoting a business.

This article will discuss how to choose promotional coasters appropriate for a variety of businesses.

Sample of a paperboard promotional coaster that could encourage sales of beverages and select menu items.
Sample of a paperboard promotional coaster that could encourage sales of beverages and select menu items. | Source

Restaurant and Bar Profit Booster

Restaurants and bars are obvious businesses which can benefit from promotional coasters. While customers are waiting for their food and drinks, they can promote everything from add-on food and beverage items to rewards programs and contests.

Usually coasters for use in these operations are made of inexpensive materials such as heavy paper since they must be disposed of and replaced frequently as they become soiled. With their low cost and frequent replacement need, coaster promotions can be changed often to take advantage of seasonal or short-term opportunities.

Food and beverage vendors may also provide coasters to restaurants and bars as part of a cooperative marketing program to help build sales of particular items. Beer, wine and other beverages are ideal candidates. This is a perfect example of advertising at the point of purchase which can be a very effective way to upsell and gain add-on sales from restaurant customers.

Although not seen very frequently, restaurants and bars could choose coasters made of easily cleanable and durable materials. However, cleaning could increase operating costs. So disposables are more a more likely choice, even in upscale establishments.

See How a Popular Restaurant is Using Promotional Coasters


Similar businesses that can benefit from promotional coasters include beer, wine and beverage manufacturers, distributors and retailers. These coasters can either be given away to promote particular products or they can be sold as branded beverage accessories.

Unlike restaurant promotions, these coasters are meant to build brand awareness and loyalty to increase retail sales of package goods. As such, they could be either of the disposable or reusable variety for use in home or commercial environments.

Reusable coasters are commonly made of:

  • Leather or leather-like materials
  • Cork
  • Fabrics
  • Heat-resistant plastics and resins
  • Ceramic, glass or stoneware
  • Wood products

Reusable coasters will often have a rubberized, felt or cork backing to help protect surfaces.

Long-Term Marketing Exposure

More expensive, durable and reusable promotional coasters can provide branding exposure over a longer period of time, particularly when they are used in offices or homes.

In addition to the types of reusable coasters discussed previously, multi-purpose electronic coasters provide additional functions in addition to protecting surfaces. These functions can include mug warming and USB ports, usually powered by electricity, batteries or USB computer connections. The higher the utility the device provides, the longer and more effective the marketing exposure.

Businesses that can benefit from reusable promotional coasters include:

  • Coffee machine and vending services
  • Office supplies
  • Computer, copier and telecommunications sales and service
  • Catering and event services
  • Food and beverage products
  • Cleaning and maintenance services
  • Marketing, advertising and promotional companies
  • Printing companies
  • Delivery services
  • Transportation and travel
  • Banks
  • Insurance agencies
  • Churches
  • Schools and colleges
  • Healthcare
  • Real estate

Promotional coasters go mobile! These fit in cup holders in cars and feature a thumb cut for easy removal. Great to promote fast service restaurants and auto services.
Promotional coasters go mobile! These fit in cup holders in cars and feature a thumb cut for easy removal. Great to promote fast service restaurants and auto services. | Source

Coasters on the Move

A new use for coasters has come to cars. These coasters, which are designed to fit in car cup holders, help keep liquids from ruining the holder, while promoting a business.

Applications for these car coasters can include:

  • Restaurants (especially those with drive-thru service)
  • Auto dealers, parts and service shops
  • Gas stations
  • Travel services and destinations
  • Public service messages such as "No texting while driving" and "Don't drink and drive."

Like restaurant promotional coasters, these are usually made of inexpensive materials such as heavy paper since they quickly become soiled and need to be replaced. This offers businesses the advantage of distributing them again and again without customers becoming tired of getting the same item. As well, similar to those used for restaurants, they can be changed frequently to take advantage of short-term promotional opportunities.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2013 Heidi Thorne


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