Today we are going to take a look at non-promotional joint ventures. This entire month we have looked at different forms of joint venture partnerships from successful examples, creative ideas, and joint venture cautions. But not all joint venture partnerships need to be promotional or marketed. There are a number of different ways you can have a joint partnership that doesn’t require marketing. We will take a look at a few today.
Sharing The Cost of Consumables
One way to benefit with a simple joint partnership is to buy consumables such as napkins, straws, plates, or to-go boxes in bulk quantity. The cost and supplies are then shared between two or more different restaurants. In this way you can get
the largest discounts on bulk ordering while not having to sit on large quantities of products. Check your local laws on this. Typically, this is perfectly fine with consumables and paper products but may cause legal or health code issues when trying to buy items such as liquor or food in bulk. This bulk buying is typically beneficial when restaurants share a close proximity or reside in the same building due to transportation time and cost. If your restaurant is in a food court this may be very beneficial assuming you do not have to order these products through the franchisor.
Sharing Printing Costs
Want to print better looking signs, table tents, and posters but don’t want to spend the money on the printer, and the ink, and the paper, and repairs. Well a printing partnership could be beneficial.
First, you could partner with a professional print shop and work out a deal to pay in gift cards. In this way, you are essentially buying printing at food cost instead of at full value. Their employees can then meet clients at your restaurant and use the gift cards to cover the cost of dinner or they can use them as a reward for good employees.
Second, if you can’t partner with a print shop, you may be able to partner with another restaurant or business or two and share the costs of printing supplies. Work out an agreement where one restaurant purchases the printer and another restaurants supply paper and ink. After the initial buy, charge everyone a per print cost and record who is printing what. This cost then goes to buy more supplies and the surplus, if any, can go to help pay back the cost of the printer or be placed in reserve for printer repairs or replacement. In this way, it is likely less costly to print as you are paying the cost of supplies instead of the extra markup for labor and overhead that a print shop would have. This is great for photo quality prints for posters, mailers, or other promotions.
Sharing Best Practices
Another great way to gain value from a joint venture partnership that isn’t a promotional method, is sharing best business practices. As mentioned as a warning in the past, do not discuss price fixing or anything else illegal unless you want some serious fines or jail time. Some things you can discuss are disciplinary procedures, inventory techniques, marketing ideas, simple drink recipes, organizational health ideas, the process for offering employee benefits, tip out procedures, and basic wages (again nothing illegal here, such as wage fixing, improper tip reporting, or forced gratuity that isn’t taxed.)
Sharing Forms or Systems
Do you have a great form that you use that makes your job easier? Do you struggle with the way your POS tickets ring up? Talk with another restaurant about exchanging information. Share your forms or systems with another restaurant to get some help in a struggling area while helping them with one of their problem areas.
Sharing Job Candidates
Sharing job candidates may seem a bit odd, but can be very beneficial to both companies. If you have read our article on doing open interviews for hiring and implemented the process, you’ve likely had rounds where you get too many candidates that you like and have to eliminate good candidates. How about recommending them to another restaurant that you are partners with? While it may seem bad initially it can actually help you, your partner, and the candidate. Since the candidate is likely going to work for some other restaurant if they are applying by you, why not make your partner stronger rather than having them go to a competitor? Done properly you could partner with an Mexican restaurant if you were an Italian restaurant and that way the candidate isn’t going to another true competitor in the Italian niche.
Say to this candidate, “We really liked you, but we just unfortunately do not have enough positions available right now. We are partnered with ‘Sombreros’ and I would happily give you a recommendation for an interview there if you are interested.” Obviously, call your partner first to make sure they have openings. By doing this, you are saying ‘no’ but giving an alternative, which should help PR as well. Additionally, you are helping a good server get a job, which is great because every restaurant should have great service.
Alternatively, you can also get great servers recommended to you as well. When your partner interviews great candidates that they do not have room for they will call you with prospects. This can save you time on interviewing while getting a pre-screen on several candidates for free.
Target a partner that is in the same income level demographic as you, with similar business volume and entree price. In this way, a candidate is more likely to interview for the other company if needed, as they are likely to make a similar income.
This entire month we have discussed what joint venture partnerships are and why they can be very beneficial. Now that you have your ideas and know the benefits, get out there and form partnerships with other businesses and start reaping the rewards!