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How is Collaboration Helping Rebuild the Restaurant Industry?

May 03, 2021

The restaurant industry has always been one built on camaraderie, even among rival restaurants. When COVID-19 first appeared and the foodservice industry felt the devastating effects, restaurants turned to each other for support. 

In many cases this communal shift saved many small eateries from shutting their doors forever. From sharing costs on bulk food purchases to opening community pantries, the collaborative spirit is still alive and well and helping the industry as a whole bounce back. 

Innovative Ways Restaurants Collaborate and Restore the Industry

All across the U.S., collaborations between restaurants have been flourishing. Not only does this highlight the resiliency of the industry, but teaming up allows businesses to stay afloat during unpredictable times. If you are curious about how working in a partnership might help your establishment and community, below we share excellent examples from eateries nationwide. 

Teaming Up for Dynamic Pop-Ups

Pop-ups were gaining popularity before the pandemic, and that trend continues. In fact, the unique nature of pop-ups offers restaurants flexibility and promotes creative collaboration. Some restaurants have opened their spaces up during off-hours for establishments to set up and cook. 

Restaurants collaborate on menus for pop-ups

Other restaurants are putting a new spin on pop-up concepts and inviting guest restaurants to collaborate on menu items. In Austin, TX, Suerte created a “Taqueria Takeover,” where guest establishments make a taco special. Partnering on menus can help both restaurants share costs by splitting the tab on wholesale food and restaurant supplies.  

Adopting Menu Items

One of the most unexpected partnerships to have come out of COVID is restaurants selling other restaurants’ signature menu items. The relationship between Eduardo’s Enoteca and Gotham Bagels is a perfect example of this type of alliance. 

Eduardo’s Enoteca, a sophisticated restaurant and wine bar in Chicago, started serving Gotham Bagels for breakfast. What makes this collaboration so beneficial is that both restaurants are helping boost each other’s brand by reaching new client bases. 

Partnering to Meet COVID-19 Beverage and Food Guidelines

It’s no secret that bar establishments were hit hard at the beginning of the pandemic. States closed drink-only watering holes across the country. While some restaurants were able to pivot to a to-go model, bars didn’t have the same ability because of liquor laws. As some laws loosened to allow the sale of alcohol to-go, and some states allowed bars to open again, food still had to be a central component in the transaction. 

Bars serve food from local restaurants

To work with liquor laws and be able to serve, bars have begun partnering with restaurants to serve food. Will’s Pub in Orlando, FL, reached out to popular BBQ joint, Swine & Sons, and now offers some of their food on the menu. The benefits for pubs embracing this type of partnership are abundant. Bar owners don’t have to invest in outfitting their space for a full kitchen or hiring and training a culinary team. They can leave all the back-of-house necessities to the experts.

Working Together to Meet Community Food Needs

COVID-19 left many people without work. As people juggled paying for housing, utilities, and food, restaurants, chefs, and community outreach organizations came together to support those in need.

  • Pop-up markets, like Love Fridge Collective, stocked fresh produce, shelf-stable goods, and chef-prepared meals. Their current project, Full Circle, is working with restaurants to prepare hot meals for needy citizens.
  • Community Kitchen offers hot meals created and cooked by local chefs and features locally sourced products.
  • Restaurants and other establishments opened their doors for free and discounted meals. Community Canteen serves free meals from restaurants and purveyors in the Chicago area. Patrons can go in and order a meal of their choosing instead of a pantry-based model.

Through donations, these community-based solutions not only help feed those in need but are also able to keep restaurant workers employed and establishments open.

Partner with Our Local Restaurant Supply Company for Added Benefits

US Foods CHEF'STORE has been a member of the culinary community since 1955. In that time, we evolved with our community. While we have always offered premium, wholesale food for restaurants and stellar customer service, we also provide helpful business solutions to increase profits. Take advantage of receipt managing capability when you sign up for our customer card, schedule easy product delivery to your door, and more!  Visit one of our many locations today.

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