Cooperation in the restaurant industry
Have you heard the term Coopetition? If not, you will hear it soon. It is causing quite a stir in marketing circles.
So in case you are not familiar with the term, let’s start by defining cooperation. If we check Wikipedia, we find the following definition:
“Coopetition or Co-opetition is a neologism coined to describe cooperative competition. Cooperation occurs when companies work together for parts of their business where they do not believe they have a competitive advantage, and where they believe they can share common costs. Cooperation between Peugeot and Toyota on shared components for a new city car for Europe in 2005. In this case, companies will save money on cost sharing, while remaining fiercely competitive in other areas. Defining very clearly where they are working together and where they are competing. “
Your long-term business success comes not only from successfully competing with other restaurants, but also from working with them to your advantage.
Cooperation is part competition and part cooperation. When restaurants work together, they can create a much larger and more valuable market than they could by working individually. Restaurants can compete with each other to determine who gets the most of the largest number of leads.
A good example of restaurant cooperation is when there is a section of a city or town that has several restaurants concentrated in a relatively small area. If you look at this area from a traditional business point of view, opening a food service establishment there seems like a bad idea.
Why should someone open a restaurant in an area that is already full of restaurants?
The reality is that the abundance of places to eat attracts customers who can visit the area without a specific restaurant in mind and make their decision when they arrive.
This is where the competition begins.
In general, restaurants with the best atmosphere or the most attractive menu or the best quality / price, which are full of more people, tend to attract the most customers …
There are many typical examples of cooperation such as:
o Food courts: All restaurants are placed together in places like shopping malls, sharing tables, trays, cleaning services, etc. Customers are brought to the same place (cooperation) and then compete for your business (competition).
o Advertising: Sometimes restaurants collaborate to put together a food magazine or a similar publication where each contributes (both in money and in content) to the publication.
o Special Food Events: Sometimes several restaurants host food events where everyone brings food or displays their items at food stands. Due to the involvement of many restaurants – and good marketing – many people attend these events (there is usually music involved and many other activities as well).
As you can see, these are some of the possibilities for cooperation. However, there are other interesting ideas to consider. Here are a few to think about:
o Cross promotion with restaurants that offer food different from yours. Often times, their menu does not compete directly with other restaurants. If a person is in the mood for Italian food, for example, they will not go to an Indian restaurant for dinner or vice versa.
Perhaps you can join forces with restaurants in your area that have other styles of cuisine and together create a coupon book that you can distribute to regular customers of participating restaurants. Or maybe you could create a discount card that your customers could use at any of the restaurants in your area. This will attract more customers to your neighborhood.
o Cross promotion with restaurants that offer the same type of food as yours, but are not close to your place.
Again, people prefer to go to restaurants that are close to their homes or places of work. If there’s a French restaurant nearby and they’re in the mood for French cuisine, they typically won’t travel very far to a different French restaurant … unless the other French restaurant is so superior it’s worth the trip, and this is where the the competition begins.
So what can you cross-promote? Well, if you have an ethnic restaurant, you could create a newsletter sharing the impression and perhaps distribution costs with similar restaurants and distribute it to the customers of all the restaurants involved. The newsletter should cover articles on food, culture, geography, etc. from the restaurant’s home country.
But what if your restaurant is an all-American place? Provide unique information about your areas. You can still have trivia on the specific states, some local recipes, etc.
o Join forces to negotiate better deals for bedding, food and beverage products, menu printing menus, etc. Imagine talking to nearby restaurant owners and making a deal to use the same distributors for common things like bedding, candles, dishwasher maintenance and supplies, garbage and / or grease removal, exhaust filters, printed menus, etc. . You can then request a volume discount from these distributors and everyone will benefit.
These are just a few quick examples of cooperation. Joining forces with your competitors could be a win-win proposition. Just be smart about it and think of areas where both of you could benefit.
Can you think of more areas of cooperation? I would love to know. Visit my website and let me know.