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Why Join a Restaurant Association?


The restaurant industry has many challenges, and it never hurts to have extra support. Enter restaurant associations. Restaurant associations are coalitions of eating and drinking businesses at local, state, and national levels. They help establish new restaurants and help veteran businesses maintain their profitability. They advocate for and protect restaurants by offering broader representation, better buying power and more affordable resources, as well as encouraging careers in the industry and providing enterprising solutions to keep operations running smoothly. Food service businesses can take advantage of the discounted services, resources and networking opportunities restaurant associations offer.


Restaurant associations are open to virtually all food service establishments, and restaurants can join both their local or state associations as well as the National Restaurant Association for the price of one membership.



Membership is available to the following types of businesses:

    • Restaurants

    • Suppliers, distributors, consultants, and any company supplying goods and/or services

    • Educational facilities

    • Students in restaurant or hospitality programs

    • State hospitals, state prisons, military operations and any other non-profit food service facility

    • International food service operations



The two-for-one membership for both local and national levels of associations is a great way for restaurants to get involved on a comprehensive scale and to gain benefits and opportunities from a larger variety of sources.

For simple local membership, membership fees can run as low as $25-$200 a year, depending on the membership benefits package you choose. For larger companies or for a national membership for restaurants with more than one location, the yearly dues are more substantial, reaching into the thousands.


Member Benefits

Members of restaurant associations enjoy special benefits, and while these benefits vary from state to state, they generally involve discounts on goods and services, such as:

Insurance. This includes discounts for common restaurant insurances, such as liability and workers' compensation insurance.

Payroll processing. Local restaurant associations may work with payroll companies in order to offer their members lower rates for payroll services.

Credit processing. Credit card processing fees can be detrimental to restaurants, so restaurant associations will often partner with credit card processing companies and offer low rates to members.

Music services. Many restaurants need music playing in the background to help create the desired dining experience. Restaurant associations will often provide discounts on music-licensing services so you can get music CDs or XM radio capabilities in your restaurant for a lower price.


Education and Training

By joining a restaurant association, you have access to numerous exclusive educational services that are germane for those just starting out in the industry, or those who have been in the industry and are looking for a fresh perspective and new ideas. Training resources usually include access to industry programs such as ServSafe® and Foodservice Management Professional® (FMP®) Programs. Some associations even offer scholarships for professional development to further food service careers.


Networking Opportunities

Membership in a restaurant association means you have contact with other restaurant owners, operators and managers across the state and country, offering extensive and collective insights into different aspects of the industry. You are privy to online directories and businesses in your area that provide a network of support and help. A membership also gives you free admission to the National Restaurant Show, which attracts 2,000 suppliers and over 70,000 attendees for networking, exhibition and educational opportunities.


Online Presence

You can gain valuable online exposure by joining a restaurant association, as they will list your business and a description of your offerings on association-sponsored directories available to the public.

Restaurant associations bring restaurant owners and operators together, supporting an industry with nearly 100,000 operations nationwide. And with the overall advocacy, extensive tools and resources, information, discounts, and opportunities received from restaurant associations, they prove to be a valuable investment in providing a solid foundation for sustainability, profitability and growth for your restaurant.

by:Eveleena Fults

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