When it comes to seafood in the US, Boston is the king, known for its delicious local seafood cuisines like New England (Boston) clam chowder, lobster rolls, and raw oysters. Not only is it one of the oldest cities in America, it’s also home to some of the best and oldest seafood restaurants in America. It’s also a great place to find a market ready and customer tested brand for licensing.

And that’s just what a high-end specialty foods producer from Maine did. They recently announced a licensing deal with one of the most popular Boston-based seafood restaurants to bring its line of sauces, spices, and marinades into the US market.

Finding a market ready and customer tested product or brand is one of the best ways to use licensing. It’s especially effective for capitalizing on the growing trend in specialty retailers such as food products. Specialty foods are $100 billion-plus industry that’s capitalizing on the consumer’s interest in trying exciting new food experiences and quality ingredients.

According to the 2017 LIMA Global Licensing Survey, retail sales of brand licensed food and beverage products grew $466 million year-on-year. Some of the biggest names in food service including California Pizza Kitchen, Chili’s, Panda Express, P.F. Chang’s, TGI Fridays and Tony Roma’s are just some of the big restaurant chains fueling their growth by licensing their brands for products on grocery shelves. Restaurant brands also benefit from the positive “bounce back” effect from licensing – consumers who buy licensed products at retail will then be more likely to eat out at the restaurant.

This is an example of how licensing taps into a growing market opportunity by partnering with an established restaurant brand that brings over 60 years of history and customers. But success requires a strategic fit that is right for the brand and the licensee. In this case, for the specialty foods producer, they acquire a high-end brand with decades of customer loyalty, retail recognition, and market-tested products to increase their sales. For the restaurant, they capitalize on their licensing partners’ specialty food expertise to expand their branded products to new customers throughout the country who haven’t visited the restaurant.

Rand Brenner is an IP professional whose passion is helping inventors, startups, and businesses of all sizes use licensing to turn their IP into income-producing products, services, and technologies. His decades of experience run the gamut from medical devices to food technology to consumer products. He’s licensed some of the biggest Hollywood entertainment blockbusters including the Batman Movies (1 and 2), and the number one kid’s action TV show, the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. Rand speaks about licensing and is a featured speaker at investment conferences, trade shows, colleges and startup events.  He’s a published writer with articles appearing in several prestigious trade magazine including The Licensing Journal, Intellectual Property Magazine, and License India. Rand also mentors at the Cal State Fullerton School of Business and Economics and is a judge for their startup business plan competitions.

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