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Today we are going to talk about a few successful joint venture partnerships to take a look at how other restaurants and bars have successfully formed joint venture partnerships.

Passport Club

Stone Arch Brew House was looking to expand it’s external beer sales by gaining more tap placements in area bars. We worked together to create a plan that would reward bars that put on Stone Arch beer on tap.

We were approaching summer and wanted to

encourage people to go to area bars to drink Stone Arch beer. We initially thought of doing a pub crawl, however the number of bars anticipated to join, combined with liabilities from excessive drinking in one day, nixed that idea. We then thought of a beer club.

Long a staple promotion in bars with a wide craft beer selection, we could invert the concept to make for a successful promotion. A typical beer club has guests drink their way through a long list of different types of beer and they receive prizes when they drink so many. Instead of trying a wide selection of beer at one bar, why not try a few beers at a wide selection of bars. We combined the beer club and pub crawl ideas. Patrons would visit numerous bars around the city to drink Stone Arch beer and then receive rewards for doing so.

The passport club was born. Each participating bar would have a page in a passport to represent their bar. Guests at any of these bars were able to purchase a passport for $2. When a patron ordered a Stone Arch beer at one of these bars they received a stamp in their passport. When they received 5, 10, or 24 stamps (the total amount of bars the first year), they won prizes.

Note: We decided to go with a $2 price on the passport because we wanted it to be enough of a price that it required commitment. We only wanted those that were actually going to participate in the passport club to purchase one. Making them free would’ve had a large number of people grab them only to throw them away or lose them, drastically increasing printing costs and actually lowering the overall success of the program, because those that actually wanted one wouldn’t have been able to find them after all the copies ran out. $2 was just enough of a commitment without deterring people from participating. We helped push this one step farther by donating $1 of the $2 collected back to the bartender or server that sold it. In this way the server benefited as well and was more likely to suggest the passport to more patrons.

The joint venture was carried out with the recruitment of bars. Any bar wishing to be part of the passport club needed to guarantee that they would have Stone Arch beer on tap for the summer. We had them sign an agreement and in return each participating bar received a page in the passport. Which further led to them being visited by a large number of passport holders over the course of the summer that were guaranteed to buy at least a beer.

In the end it was a win, win, win. Patrons won because they got prizes just for drinking beer all summer long. Bars won because they received a bunch of extra business just for putting a beer on tap, and Stone Arch won because they got their beer on tap at several new bars in the area.

Mile of Music

Mile of Music is a great local event started and run by Willems Marketing and Events. They in partnership with Cory Chisel, a local residents and nationally recognized musician decided to create an original musical festival that would occur inside the bars and restaurants along a mile stretch of downtown Appleton. This required an incredible amount of work to find and book the bands, have the bars and restaurants clear space, and perform all of the necessary marketing promotions to make sure people actually showed up for it.

They elicited the help of the bars themselves.

For the original Mile of Music, bars and restaurants were not charged for hosting the music. Bars only had to agree to having music in their bar; clear space for the musicians to play in; and help promote the festival. The Mile of Music crew handled all of the details with booking the bands and even had road crews to set up amps and sound systems.

This benefited the bars because they were able to receive increased foot traffic throughout the three day festival, and they didn’t have to spend any money to do so. The Mile of Music festival benefitted because they were able to secure donations from patrons as well as from the bars after it was so successful. Now in its fourth year, the Mile of Music is going strong with over 70 venues participating this year. They are hoping to bring almost a million dollars worth of business to the downtown Appleton area.

Photography and DJ Partnerships

Obviously, the two examples above were fairly large joint venture partnerships involving multiple businesses. However, successful joint ventures do not need to be so big. Here is a smaller example.

A local event space in the area has partnered with a few local photographers and DJ services. Each of these partnerships were entered into individually.

This partnership was for cross-promotion. If a couple comes to the event facility to book for a wedding reception the facility can ask if the couple has a photographer. If not, the facility can recommend one of the photographers that are partnered with them. If the photographer has a couple looking for an event space for their reception they can recommend the facility.

As an additional idea that they hadn’t tried, that facility could take this one step further and create a flyer or handout with the event facility, photographer, and a DJ service on it, so that couples renting any of there services easily have contact info for the other services they will likely need as well. This gives the guests a benefit of convenience while also helping all of the businesses involved.

Hopefully these examples get you thinking more about joint venture partnerships whether large or small. With these examples you can see that partnerships help everyone involved including the guests. With some planning and creativeness you can have a joint venture partnership that reaches the success of the partnerships above.