The competitive nature of business can create a hostile, cut-throat environment; the “every man for himself” attitude. However, there are perks associated with “looking out for the other guy”. You don’t have to operate from a position of morality to recognize that it is advantageous to pursue opportunities that benefit more than your business’s immediate bottom line. You will find that doing well by local businesses can propel your own success.
An innovative area of growth within the restaurant industry is special events hosting. Everything from weddings to gender reveals are being held with greater frequency at restaurants who are up to the task. Our foodie cultures is fixated on being different, notable, and (most importantly) Instagrammable. Restaurants are poised to meet those parameters. The great benefit of hosting special events is the guarantee of a large group of guests. As long as your kitchen can support a large group of patrons, hosting events is a lucrative play.
There are certain drawbacks to hosting events. Mainly, there are services and products required that your restaurant would not typically have access to, such as live or dj-ed music, dance-floor, flower arrangements, novelty desserts or cakes, etc. The danger here is the temptation to supply these features direct to the customer. This is not your area of specialty. Further, hosting special events will not be the main form of transaction your restaurant conducts, so your ordinary course of work should not include extraneous services that only arise sporadically. The best approach is to partner with local providers of the services most often needed. Then, you can charge a finders fee with the businesses you contract with, in addition to impressing you clients with the time and energy you are saving them.
Whatever arrangement you make with your contractors, approach it with the mentality of identifying the situation that will leave both parties (and the client) satisfied. No one benefits if one party feels taken advantage of over the course of the relationship. Some contractors might be interested in exchanging something other than profit, such as free advertising within your space or the opportunity to use your restaurant for a special event of their own. Get creative and develop something mutually beneficial.
Running a restaurant is all-consuming. The thought of investing energy into coming up with a plan to benefit local businesses through collaborative efforts might seem overwhelming and unnecessary. The truth is, there is no harm in trying, and restaurants who are looking for longevity must think outside the box.
Challenge: scope out your neighborhood and gauge whether you can partner with any of the neighboring retailers.
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