- Cooper's Hawk Winery & Restaurants is partnering with Ruth's Chris Steak House to allows its wine club members to bring a bottle of Cooper’s Hawk wine to a Ruth's Chris and receive 100 club points and a waived corkage fee, according to a press release.
- Guests can take advantage of the promotion by making a reservation online using their Cooper's Hawk wine club member number. The promotion, which the restaurants are calling a first for the industry, runs through April 30.
- Cooper's Hawk claims to have the largest wine club membership in the country, with 360,000 members across all age demographics. The wine club is growing 25% annually.
In a saturated upscale dining industry, differentiation is key and nothing differentiates quite like a unique dining opportunity. According to Salesforce research, 67% of consumers would pay more to have a great experience. The Cooper's Hawk/Ruth's Chris partnership is rather unique since competitors aren't known for pushing loyal guests to try another restaurant.
Cooper's Hawk has pursued collaborations before — for example, partnering with Bueno Visa, California's oldest winery, to mark its 11th anniversary in 2016.
Other luxury food and drink brands have pursued co-marketing opportunities to offer unique experiences as well. Last year, executive in-flight concierge On Air Dining, wine and spirits company Moët Hennessy and private jet charter marketplace Victor joined to launch a personalized in-flight experience for private fliers, for example. Fleming's Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar partnered with jeweler Fifth Avenue for a Valentine’s Day experience in 2016.
But what's particularly interesting about this collaboration is the two concepts could very well be competitors in the fine dining space. Cooper's Hawk currently has 35 restaurants — mostly in the upper Midwest, Virginia, Maryland and Florida — and has plans to reach 41 by the end of 2019. By leveraging Ruths Chris' 150 restaurants and significant brand recognition, Cooper's Hawk is likely to gain a significant amount of cross-marketing exposure and interest to not only add to its 360,000-member wine club roster, but also set the company up favorably as it expands its restaurant footprint.
The wine club is the focus for this campaign, and for good reason. Wine clubs turn a pretty big profit and tend to retain members for 28 months on average, according to Vine Spring. Cooper's Hawk's wine club drives the brand's loyalty and boosts traffic, according to Nation's Restaurant News.
Ruth's Chris also stands to benefit from this collaboration. Nobody likes a corkage fee and waiving such a fee could win over new or more diners as well. Right now, this collaboration is a limited-time offer through the end of April. But if it is successful in driving traffic — particularly when opportunities to do so keep shrinking — it won't be a surprise to see it make a comeback.