Great opening ideas for your restaurant (2023)

A grand opening is a great marketing strategy to build excitement in the local community before a new restaurant. This event will be your first opportunity to invite customers to your establishment, showcase your menu offerings, and start building the relationships needed for repeat business. However, it can be difficult to come up with great opening ideas to help your business stand out. Follow the tips and advice below to find out how to plan a grand opening and make the most of your property's big day.

Create a grand opening plan in advance

Before your restaurant opens, make sure you have a proper opening plan for that day. Being prepared in advance allows you to focus, come up with unique launch party ideas, and enjoy the big day when it arrives.

Here are some areas to focus on when you start planning your grand opening:

  • Choose a day for your event:When choosing a day, keep in mind upcoming events in the area to avoid competing for customers. Create a timeline of the initial events leading up to opening day.

  • Select a time period:How long are you going to host a grand opening? Decide if you want a crowd for breakfast, lunch or dinner and how many hours you want to stay open.
  • Great opening ideas for your restaurant (1)
  • Recruit volunteers or hire staff:Allow plenty of time to find and train staff for the opening. Or gather volunteers willing to help.

  • Select entertainment:Decide if you want to provide entertainment for the opening event and reserve talent in advance. This could include bands, DJs, comedians, clowns for the kids, or a local celebrity or sports mascot.

  • Set a budget:Create a budget early in the planning process to avoid overspending on an extravagant affair. Most restaurants will allocate 20% of their first year marketing budget to the event. Be sure to set aside funds for:
    • soft opening and grand opening invitations
    • opening announcement
    • Housewarming party supplies and decorations
    • Great housewarming gifts and prizes

  • Choose a service style:Start working on your menu for the big day. Will you offer a full or limited menu, sample dishes, or modified service such as buffet style?

Organize a smooth opening

Before the official opening of your restaurant,host a "soft opening" for a limited number of gueststo test your establishment's staff, flow, and atmosphere. This gives you and your team a chance to fix any issues before opening your doors to the public. You might even want to host multiple housewarming events, tailored to a specific group of people, such as:

  1. Friends and family:This is a free event for trusted individuals who understand they are participating in a test and have agreed not to share details publicly.
  2. Sellers:This is a way of saying thank you to those who helped him to get his restaurant up and running and to give him the opportunity to see the final product of his work.
  3. Local businessmen:People who work in close proximity to your restaurant can become your best customers if they have the opportunity to become familiar with your business and feel connected to it.
  4. Influencers:Host an event for your local influencers including politicians, police chiefs, journalists and bloggers to help spread word of mouth about your location just before the grand opening.

Use these events as an opportunity to get helpful feedback from friendly faces before opening them up to the public. Submitting Google surveys or collecting feedback forms after each event is a great way to get a variety of perspectives.

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Allow plenty of time between pre-opening and opening events to potentially change your menu, service style or atmosphere. However, waiting too long can dampen community enthusiasm and lead potential customers to forget or lose interest.

Offer opening promotions

Great opening ideas for your restaurant (2)

It's important to give your opening attendees something they want so badly to come to your event. In your opening menu, be sure to offer a sampling of your signature dishes that best sum up your restaurant's offerings, staying true to the brand so guests clearly understand what to expect when you open.

When deciding how to encourage customers to come to your grand opening and keep them coming back to your restaurant, ask yourself the following questions:

  • What special opening promotions will you offer customers? You can offer free samples of your special dishes or
  • What will you do to encourage repeat business from customers who come to your grand opening? Consider offering loyalty cards, buy-one-get-one deals, and coupons for free products on your next visit.
  • How will you ensure that you encourage your target market to visit your restaurant? Try to increase your Internet presence and publicity in the community.

Participate in community events

Before your official opening, start building excitement around your restaurant by getting involved in local events and going where your potential customers go. Give the public a taste of your culinary or baking creations by setting up a booth at local farmers markets or neighborhood events to establish your business as part of the community.

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Hand out samples and let customers know about your upcoming opening. This is a great opportunity to hand out menus and invites to your opening events and get customers excited about other menu items. Giving them a taste of your signature dishes will motivate them to try more when you post the full menu on opening day.

Partner with a local charity

When trying to market your business through local events,consider partnering with a well-known charity. By providing charitable donations, you will not only help launch your restaurant, but you will also show that you are passionate about a cause that may be close to your customers' hearts.

Offer to donate some or all proceeds from an opening event or opening day to the charity. It gives a personal touch to your event and benefits those who need it. Customers will love to see a company get involved in a cause.

Spread the word with the grand opening announcement

There are lots of smart ways to promote your business opening. From social media to print flyers, here are some restaurant marketing tips you can use to reach your target customers when advertising your restaurant opening event.

1. Use social media

Great opening ideas for your restaurant (3)

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Social media is an inexpensive way to quickly get the word out about your event. Incorporate the following tips into your social media strategy to build buzz ahead of the grand opening:

  • Offer offers and contests exclusively to followers.
  • Give fans free perks before the grand opening
  • Embed hashtags in your posts so patrons can easily find you.
  • Create a team with community-wide forums or groups
  • Create Facebook Events for Prospects to RSVP Online
  • Post photos of your new space, menu items, and staff to build excitement
  • Post regularly to keep your audience engaged and engaged with your Page

2. Distribute flyers

Depending on your target market, creating printed invitations, flyers, and postcards may be a more effective approach. Flyers can be distributed at community events and posted in neighborhood libraries, visitor centers or posted on community boards in local cafes. Another option is to include the opening flyer in the local newspaper.

Offer a discount or free perks like a complimentary drink or dessert with a meal in your brochures to encourage customers to visit the restaurant. Enticing customers to your opening with a free cake or appetizer can generate new business once your restaurant officially opens.

Here's what to include in your brochures and postcards:

  • Your company name and logo
  • Any discount or free item coupons
  • Personalized message to invite customers
  • Data e Local
  • Images of the restaurant or its special dishes
  • social media links
  • Phone number, especially if reservations are recommended

3. Place grand opening signs around your restaurant

sidewalk signsAnd banners are a great way to let passers-by know about the grand opening. Keep a grand opening sign outside your space prior to the event to announce the date and offers that will be available to customers. After opening, wooden signs and bulletin boards may continue to be used to advertise sales and new items or seasonal menus.

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4. Create a Google My Business listing

Boost your online presence by creating a Google My Business profile. Using a Gmail account and a picture of your location, you can create a free listing for your restaurant that will appear on the search page when someone searches for your business name.

This list will show your potential customers where to find you, your hours of operation, your restaurant's phone number, and any photos you'd like to add. You can even announce your grand opening by adding an event post to your Google My Business listing, which can help attract customers to your big day.

5. Get in touch with local media

Contact local newspapers and television stations to see if they would be interested in covering your grand opening. Free publicity can attract a crowd of customers who may not have heard of your event.

When inviting local media to your restaurant, prepare a media kit that includes the restaurant's menu, opening hours, business card and any additional information that may be important to them. If you can, appoint a staff member to act as the face of your business and handle all professional communications and public relations matters.

The success of your opening can make your restaurant a household name and continue to build your reputation in the community. Your unique opening ideas will help reach new customers who will spread the word to their friends and create new business. Showing loyalty to your guests and customers early on can benefit your business for years to come.

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