Restaurant owners are starting to group together.

Restaurant owners are starting to group together.

Times are hard at the moment, everybody knows that, and it is leading to a sea change in the way the hospitality world works. Businesses are needing to be flexible and able to adapt in order to survive, with a number of different strategies being used to achieve this.

But how would you feel about joining together with the competition in order secure a better site for your restaurant and work alongside your rivals?

Well this is exactly the route that many are taking, according to Brandon Stephens, the founder of Mexican restaurant chain Tortilla, reports Big Hospitality. He has suggested that restaurant owners that group together and secure sites can bypass landlords and therefore save themselves money in the long run.

Speaking at Restaurant magazine's R200 Business Seminar recently, he said: "But the question is, why can't we all get together and organise that ourselves; do we really need a landlord to organise it for us?"

As alien a concept as it may feel to many who believe that joining forces with competitors is against the nature of the industry, it could be the future. With so many outside forces ganging up against restaurants, bars and cafes, presenting a united front could be the best way of overcoming them.

Steven Pike, director of the Mystery Dining Company, said: "No business can operate in isolation - we are all part of a web, and opportunities come from cooperation with competitors as well as competing with them."

So what effect will this have on the customers? Well, they are bound to see a certain amount of change, but having establishments grouped together essentially gives them more choice. If the restaurant they intended to eat at is fully booked then they can pop next door and the original eatery will know that the custom is going to help them as they have a number of shared costs.

Not everyone knows exactly what they want before they leave the house, but going to an area where there are several offerings gives them the option to choose when they get there.
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