How Collaboration in the Food Industry Can Help Grow Business

Written by Joyce Leung

The food industry is competitive, which can cause business owners in the foodservice industry pause when it comes to leveraging brand collaborations to grow their business.  

Though the word collaboration is quite vague, that is the beauty of it; there are endless possibilities. You can tailor your collaborations to suit your demographics and business goals, and in turn increase sales brand recognition. Here are some reasons to consider a collaboration along with a few ideas to inspire your own marketing plans. 

Why collaborations are key to growing your business

Many foodservice business owners cringe at the thought of reaching out to industry colleagues for help for fear of giving away trade secrets or sacrificing sales to a competitor. However, by leveraging one another’s reach and reputation, all parties can share in the business growth that follows.

At its core, collaboration refers to working with another business in order to help both parties increase sales and brand recognition. By joining forces, brands can get in front of each other’s audiences in order to reach and acquire new customers.

Remember the iconic collaboration of 2022 between Canadian coffee institution, Tims, and Canadian pop superstar, Justin Bieber? This is a big budget example of leveraging each other’s followings to increase sales. Did you know that Tim Hortons saw a spike in sales of 10% following this campaign, even though, in the previous quarter, they were facing a 11% decrease in sales? 

This kind of mutually beneficial collaboration is accessible on a smaller scale too. Social media platforms are making it easier to collaborate with other brands. Simply tag them as a collaborator, and if they accept, the content will automatically be posted to both accounts who can share engagement and view the insights.

Now that you understand the basics of why collaboration works, here are a few ways to do it.

Food B2B Collaboration

Imagine you own a bar well-known for imaginative cocktails and simple snacks, but don’t serve full meals. You could potentially collaborate with a nearby restaurant, whereby patrons can order food from their menu and bring it (or have it delivered) to your bar to enjoy. It’s a win-win! 

Customers love seeing local small businesses supporting each other.  The restaurant wins because they are making sales they would have otherwise missed, and the bar wins because patrons don’t need to leave their barstool to get a decent meal (and they will likely stay longer and grab multiple drinks)!

When two businesses collaborate like this and share it on social media, both accounts have the opportunity to reach new audiences and future paying customers.

Have a look at Brothers Brewing Company’s Instagram account in Guelph, they do a fantastic job of collaborating with local businesses to bring customers into their bar. 

How to reach out to other businesses to collaborate

Don’t be shy! Follow potential collaborators on social media and once you identify that they might be a good fit, develop a relationship. If your needs align, send a direct message and discuss ideas.

If chatting online is not your thing, drop in and chat with the owners directly. Just start the conversation, and see if it is a good fit.

Many business owners do not make time for this, but it is one the easiest ways to get more eyes on your business and is well worth the extra effort in the long run. 

The goal of collaborations is to grow your business in terms of brand awareness and subsequently sales. Pick the right collaborator, and you will reap the rewards.