Months and years of dreaming and planning have finally brought you to this moment. After years of stressful planning, you are finally ready to open up your restaurant to the world. You probably found this post after feeling overwhelmed by the pressure of exceeding expectations for your community, family, friends, and yourself. This just means you are caring about the right thing as making a killer first impression could make a world of difference in securing your first customer base and building off the momentum of this first wave.
Even restaurant chain behemoths like Chick-fil-a take their grand openings seriously as seen with their First 100® Campout. Whenever a new Chick-fil-a franchise opens, customers camp out with tents in the parking lot to compete in becoming one of the first 100 customers for the prize of free chick-fil-a for the entire year. You don’t have to go to this extreme for your grand opening but it should show you just how much they’re valued.
Do you know a famous local influencer in your area like a well-known local politician, radio station personality, or pro/college athlete? Invite them to hang out at your grand opening and share on social media that they will be there. When it comes to influencers, your possibilities can go well beyond your local area. You can reach out to musicians, actors, and more. If you have trouble reaching some bigger influencers, you can start with local food critics, foodie influencers, or vloggers.
Support a worthy cause
Is there a cause that you feel strongly about? Fuse your passion for supporting a worthy cause with your restaurant grand opening and you’ll make the grand opening even more meaningful. You can even host charitable activities like a 5k walk or food drive. Partnering up with a local non-profit is a great way to build relationships with the local community.
If you can afford it, a big giveaway on the day of opening can bring a crowd. The prize needs to be big, however, such as a brand new car or a fully paid vacation. Not every restaurant will be able to do this.
Offer Insane Deals
The days leading up to the grand opening and a short duration afterward, pass out flyers with special coupons or mail them to close-by communities. Make sure they are redeemable for a short period of time within the grand opening. Not every restaurant has the budget to follow Chick-fil-a’s free meals for a year. Instead, most restaurants are going to want to focus on purchase-required deals such as a buy one get one deal or free appetizers.
Provide a unique experience
So far, these promotions are pretty straightforward but don’t let that stop you from thinking outside the box. Are you able to provide a unique experience? Perhaps you’re going to cook the biggest burger in the world. If so, go for a Guinness world record and make a big publicity stunt out of it. Do you know a really skilled artist in your local area? Invite them to paint a giant mural for a live audience. The possibilities are endless.
Know a local band? Ask them to play and add to the vibe. The music can travel beyond your restaurant walls and draw passersby to your doors.
Make it a party
No matter what tips you decide to adopt or not, make the grand opening a party. Go all out with party decorations and make it an environment people don’t want to leave. If you have a parking lot, you can even set up a small carnival.
Restaurant grand opening
Be sure to keep these ideas in mind for your restaurant’s grand opening. Too much pressure to make that one night a special one? Try starting multiple events and make it a grand opening week, or consider going for a soft opening.
While marketing your restaurant grand opening is crucial, you’re not going to realistically reach every single local foodie in your area. Continue attracting local foodies all throughout the year, on your schedule with ChowEasy.