Every individual who dreams of running a restaurant always has grand ideas for the opening day. That’s the day their dream venture will be opening its doors to the public. That’s the day their goal of being a restaurateur becomes a reality. The long wait and anticipation results in a lot of anxiety. We understand that and hence have compiled this blog that is sure to settle your nerves. Read on to be flawlessly equipped on your restaurant’s grand opening day.
Before discussing the big ideas for restaurant opening, let us look at the best practices that must be kept in mind to turn things in your favor on the opening day.
- Use a banner to inform people that you have officially started operations
- Invite your family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, vendors and even staff
- Create an account on relevant platforms and start networking. Run ads to generate a buzz
- Encourage people to leave reviews of their overall experience
Preparing For The Grand Opening
A grand opening cannot be planned and executed overnight. It requires months of preparation. Restaurant owners tend to focus on implementing promotional ideas and highlighting the restaurant concept. But the fact is, none of this glitz and glam will work in the restaurant’s favor if the food is not served in a timely manner or if the customer experience turns out to be bad.
The best way to handle this is to first have a soft opening – something like a trial run before the actual grand opening. Such a preliminary run gives an opportunity for the restaurant owner to check what is truly working and what is not. Existing processes can be tweaked and made more efficient and better.
12 Exciting Grand Restaurant Opening Ideas
Several months of hard work, dedication and planning goes into the opening of a restaurant. Even before the reopening day, the menu needs to be perfect, the staff highly qualified, the kitchen fully equipped and every system ready to operate in full swing. The most important task for the opening day is to create a buzz to make sure that guests start walking in from the very first day.
Here are a few ideas for your grand restaurant opening that will help you during your brainstorming session.
1) Create A List Of Invitees
If you are making the list for a soft opening, which is just a trial, the list should be restricted to your close family and friends. They are the people who will give you their honest feedback while being kind to the staff during your process of getting ready to open the door to the public. If you are getting a list of invitees ready for a grand opening, then the list should ideally involve everyone including friends, family, neighbors, acquaintances, vendors and the public too.
2) Invite Celebrities Or Influencers
Bringing influencers with huge followers can generate a big buzz about the restaurant and its food. This way, their fanbase can become your customers without much effort. If inviting celebrities does not fall under your budget, local influencers or food bloggers would be ideal for accomplishing the task too. Once they are in your place, squeeze every last drop and ensure you gain maximum mileage for your brand.
3) Make The Opening Grand And Unique
Make the event big and stand out from your competitors. Live music and giveaway prizes make the event grand. But be sure to add something unique as well. Plan your restaurant opening during a long holiday or extended weekend to get great support.
4) Vendor Liaison
It is important to show vendor appreciation on the opening day. Most owners tend to forget honoring the people who helped build their restaurant. One must remember that these vendors also live in the same community and could easily be turned into customers. Vendors must be treated well during the run-up to the restaurant inauguration and on the day of the opening as well. Inviting their families will increase your customer base effortlessly.
5) Support A Charitable Event
This meaningful idea needs to be followed to trigger people’s passion. Partner with a renowned charity foundation or engage in fund-raising activities for a meaningful reason. For instance, you could feed 100 homeless people, raise 10K for treating cancer patients or plant 1,000 saplings as a green initiative and so on. People like to support this kind of charity work. Such endeavors also help create a great reputation for the business as it draws the attention of people interested in philanthropic activities. Also, it fosters a good relationship and understanding with the community. Through such acts, your customer base will grow rapidly.
6) Organize A Giveaway On The Opening Day
When you open the doors to the public, you could offer them a chance to win an exciting prize. This is also a great way to get their email addresses, which can be used later for marketing purposes. Offer everyone who walks into your restaurant on the opening day an opportunity to participate in a contest or giveaway. The email addresses collected on the day can be used to invite the participants to order food online at discounted rates.
7) Promotional Freebies For Attendees
While there are several promotional ideas for the grand opening of a restaurant, freebies top the list as people always love free stuff. The products could be anything from baseball hats, tote bags, coffee mugs or t-shirts. The guests must get the feeling of having won something worthwhile. If the name of the restaurant is printed on the merchandise it will act as free publicity for the business. Your freebies could also be non-tangible items like a discount code that can be used during future orders or a complimentary membership in your restaurant’s loyalty program.
8) Time The Opening On A Holiday
People love eating out during holidays. If your launch coincides with a holiday, it is sure to do you a lot of good. Time the opening during important days like Valentine’s Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s Eve. Organize events according to the festive mood and give away prizes on the day of the restaurant opening.
9) Share Your Secret Menu
People seek exclusivity in everything offered to them. When they are allowed to order off the menu, they feel extraordinarily special. Make a list of a few dishes or variations of recipes on the main menu that food bloggers, charity team members or local politicians can order. By doing so, they take pleasure in spreading the word about the restaurant to their ardent followers.
10) Host A Food Challenge
Hosting an irresistible food challenge is a great idea to be executed on the opening day. You can start an ongoing challenge at the restaurant and offer a free meal or a prize to the person who successfully completes it. Remember to make the challenge spectacular and draw in crowds. Include several competitors, offer a prize to the winner and name a dish on the menu after him as well.
11) Permit Tableside Ordering
To speed up table service on the opening day, make use of a QR code menu. Customers can scan this QR code menu to place orders and make payments as well. The waiters can, thus, focus better on delivering piping hot food and clearing tables for the next set of visitors.
12) Honor A Group
Giving a tribute to an individual or a group of people on the opening day is a great idea to impress people. If honoring a group of a specific community of people does not fall within your budget, pay respects to a single person. It could be a retired army personnel, a firefighter or any comrade who has contributed significantly to society. Invite such personalities to the restaurant, make them preside over the inauguration, offer them your food for free, click pictures and post them on your social media accounts. You could also hang those pictures on the restaurant walls.
How To Write A Grand Opening Announcement
To capture the attention of people, the restaurant opening announcement must contain the following details.
- Date and time of the inauguration
- Complete address of the location
- A compelling call-to-action
- The logo and other branding elements
- Eye-catching food photography
Checklist For The Restaurant Grand Opening Day
- Display banner at the entrance announcing the grand opening
- Decorate the space with banners, balloons, tabletop standees, roll up standees, centerpieces and much more.
- Create a list of near and dear ones and invite them to support you
- Train the staff and keep the team fully ready to create the best first impression
- Start promoting early through social media and press releases to create anticipation
What To Serve At A Grand Opening?
The menu ideas will depend on whether you will kickstart your business with an exorbitant party or simply with regular table service.
If you have planned a party for the opening day, then a buffet and open bar is a great idea as it gives you room to handle other activities. You can serve mini versions of the staple dishes that you have planned at the party. Mini quinches, mini pizzas, muffins, kebabs, canapes and scones make a great choice for buffet platters.
We Are Officially Open
A grand opening becomes necessary to generate buzz right from the start, keep people talking about the brand and coming back for the food and service. So, take it seriously, plan well and execute everything with the help of your family and staff. If you find this blog helpful and are seeking more professional assistance in restaurant digital marketing, get in touch.