restaurant partnerships
by Laura-Andreea Voicu

It’s every restaurant owner’s dream to have a chain of restaurants spanning different locations. But unless you achieve growth within your local community, large-scale growth might never be possible. It’s why restaurant partnerships are so often implemented into growth strategies.

Restaurant partnerships put your restaurant on the map for locals, travelers, and investors alike. They help you establish a local presence that ripples outward, building your reputation beyond the borders of your community.

But wait — what is a local restaurant partnership, exactly? And more importantly, how can you use them to achieve your goals?

What Is a Restaurant Partnership?

A restaurant partnership is a collaboration between your restaurant and another business or organization. It involves working together to reach common goals, such as increasing brand awareness and driving more sales.

The specific activities you and your partner might undertake will vary depending on these goals, but they generally include cross-promotion and marketing.

Let’s say that your restaurant partnered with a local charity. You might sponsor their fundraising event, and, in return, they advertise your business at the event. It’s a win-win.

Restaurant partnerships yield benefits that directly contribute to business growth. Most significantly, your partner will promote your restaurant to their audience, boosting brand credibility and awareness.

Consequently, you can establish a local presence, build a community of loyal customers, and achieve a sustainable growth trajectory that entices investors.

So, establishing restaurant partnerships meshes nicely with your other short-term and long-term growth strategies. But before you dive in, you have to choose the right business or organization to partner with.

Types of Restaurant Partnerships to Consider

What type of partnership is best for your business? Let’s discuss some of the restaurant partnerships that you might want to explore.

1. Local food suppliers and distributors

76% of diners would prefer to eat at a restaurant that offers locally sourced food. This proves that sustainability should be a key priority for restaurants moving forward. One way that this can be achieved — while simultaneously driving business growth — is to partner with local farmers.

Local supplier partnerships will involve lots of cross-marketing activities. For example, you could create a social media ad showing off your new locally sourced menu with a shout-out to your partner.

You could also promote your supplier in your menu or on a dedicated website page. In turn, your partner will promote your restaurant on their own website and social channels.

Partnering with a local supplier demonstrates a commitment to sustainability and community that will resonate with your audience. Using the power of social media, you can spread your brand’s message to your target audience and draw in new, like-minded customers.

Don’t forget to mention any additional sustainability initiatives you’re undertaking. Maybe you’re using remote support to lower your carbon footprint or have recently eliminated single-use plastics from your restaurant. Communicate these initiatives to solidify your reputation as an environmentally conscious business.

There are a few extra bonuses to this type of partnership, too. You can switch up your menu to align with what’s seasonally available, guaranteeing your customers receive the freshest, most flavorful food. Repeat customers will keep coming back to try your new dishes. If they’re satisfied, they’ll be loyal customers in no time.

2. Craft beer breweries and distilleries

Craft beer and liquor may be booming in popularity, but chances are your local breweries are still clamoring for a partnership. This is because a restaurant partnership can generate significantly more brand awareness and profit for the brewery than if you were to just buy their beer.

There are lots of benefits for you, too. Done right, a strong brewery or distillery partnership can give you a unique selling point.

It entices new customers with the promise of something new and exciting. Plus, it retains local customers because they know that they can get their tasty beverage in your restaurant at a competitive price.

Some ideas for a craft brewery or distillery partnership include:

  • Collaborating on a new signature beverage that’s exclusive to your restaurant. This gives travelers, regulars, and craft beer connoisseurs alike the chance to try something new — and return if they enjoy it.
  • Offering a unique food and beverage pairing deal that is cross-promoted on your and your partner’s channels.
  • Hosting co-sponsored events where customers can come and try a range of beverages supplied by your partner.
  • Creating shared merchandise, such as beer mats, coasters, glasses, etc.

3. Local charities and communities

Is there a local charity that supports the same causes as you? Charities and non-profit organizations make good partners as they have an established community presence that you can use to drive more customers to your restaurant — all while supporting a good cause.

The same goes for local community groups or organizations. Partnering with local schools, gardening communities, and sports teams, for example, can solidify your local presence. Plus, it can win you the respect of not just your community, but a wider, interested audience.

Partnering with local musicians is another way to generate buzz and increase foot traffic to your restaurant. Partnering with musicians attracts not only the musician’s loyal fans but live music lovers at large.

Some non-profit partnership ideas include things like:

  • Hosting a live music event in your restaurant (starring your musician partner, of course).
  • Sponsoring a fundraising event.
  • Making charitable donations in return for a social media shoutout.
  • Creating cause-related marketing campaigns.
  • Encouraging your willing employees to volunteer for the nonprofit — you could even offer benefits for doing so and manage them using payroll processing software.

How to Drive Growth with Restaurant Partnerships

So, you’ve figured out which type of partnership you want to devote your time and effort to. Now it’s time to approach partners and begin your partnership journey. Here are some best practices you should follow to guide your venture toward success.

1. Outline your goals and values

Before you make your final decision on a partnership, you need to make sure that your potential partner’s goals and values align with yours.

If they don’t, visions can clash and relationships can sour. It can also have serious financial repercussions, as productivity may stall, and initiatives never truly come to fruition.

So, establish whether you and your potential partner are on the same page. Do their reasons for wanting a partnership align with yours? Are they passionate about the same social issues as you? Do they hold the same values? Seek the answers to these questions before you move forward.

2. Clarify partner roles and responsibilities

For a partnership to drive growth, every party needs clearly defined roles that work towards a strategic, aligned objective. So, establish the responsibilities of both you and your partner.

If you’re doing a marketing collaboration, for example, who is responsible for creating which marketing materials? How much capital should each partner contribute to the partnership?

3. Create a formal contract

A formal partnership agreement contract outlines liability clauses, roles and responsibilities, financial contributions, and a variety of other technicalities that protect both parties from potential risk. As a rule, have a contract drafted up by a legal professional before you undertake partnership activities.

4. Collaborate and communicate

No partnership can work without effective communication. From brainstorming ideas to reporting progress, streamlined communication needs to exist at every stage of the partnership process.

Invest in remote access tools to enable employees and partners to access your internal network and collaborate regardless of their location.

Unified communication tools will also help you connect with partners while you’re on the go via phone, video, or instant message. So, they’ll never miss a single update.

5. Track your results

Like any growth strategy, you need to track the results of your partnership to ensure that it’s meeting your goals. It may be that the type of partnership isn’t right for you, or that you and your partner need to try a different approach.

To get a reliable insight into the performance of your partnership, you need to track metrics and KPIs like:

  • Partner-sourced revenue
  • Partner-influenced revenue
  • Customer engagement
  • Customer retention
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Volume of referrals

There are lots of different tools that you can use to efficiently track and measure your partnership performance.

Customer relationship management (CRM) software can help you track customer interactions and journeys. Analytics tools can track partner-sourced and partner-influenced revenue as well as traffic, leads, and engagement from specific partner channels.

Wrapping up

Nurturing positive business relationships — even with your competitors — is essential if you want to establish a good reputation within your local community.

But restaurant partnerships take exchanging pleasantries to a different level. They focus on forging constructive, mutually beneficial relationships with partners so that, with each other’s help, both parties can meet their goals and thrive.

For a restaurant partnership to effectively drive growth, you need to find a partner that offers you value. Consider all of your options, identify a suitable partner, and collaboratively come up with ideas that will help you both meet your goals.

This article is a guest post.

photo of GloriaFood blog writer Laura-Andreea Voicu
Laura-Andreea Voicu

Laura-Andreea Voicu is an experienced content writer with a knack for marketing and SEO. She creates guides and resources designed to help restaurants grow their presence online and boost sales.

She has been featured on the Oracle Food and Beverage Blog and wrote for Search Engine Journal, Clutch, Sender, Venngage, Quickbooks, and many more.

Find me on LinkedIn.