WASHINGTON – The National Restaurant Association and Living Social are partnering on a market research project aimed at finding the best marketing channels for restaurants to build brand awareness and increase sales.

The NRA will examine the effectiveness of multiple marketing channels for the restaurant industry. The NRA will then create resources from the insights gained from the research and make them available the association's membership. LivingSocial has provided the NRA with an unrestricted grant to conduct the research.

“We’re excited to be working with LivingSocial to better understand how restaurant operators can market themselves locally and nationwide,” said James Balda, chief marketing and communications officer of the National Restaurant Association. “Restaurant industry sales are expected to reach $632 billion in 2012, underscoring the industry's importance as a driver of national economic recovery and solid employment growth."

"To continue to grow sales and create jobs, restaurant operators must closely follow consumer trends and leverage that knowledge to meet guest expectations,” he added.

LivingSocial is an online business that offers daily deals and discounts, many of which come from restaurants.

“Restaurants make up a large portion of LivingSocial’s merchant base and our mission is to help them attract and retain valuable new customers,” said Mandy Cole, senior vice president of sales at LivingSocial. “We couldn’t be happier to work with the National Restaurant Association, and we look forward to applying the information shared through this relationship to better serve our merchants.”