Opening a restaurant can be a very exciting at first.
Putting in many hours and days and even months in anticipation of your restaurant grand opening.
You have created your concept, you have decided on your menu, the decor has been picked out, you have hired your staff. And now your are ready for your first customer.
So what is the big deal? Showcasing your restaurant before the opening day can be very stressful. Or maybe not!
Let’s go over five common mistakes of a restaurant grand opening.
1. Lack of Planning
It takes allot of effort and time to put together a well orchestrated restaurant grand opening. You have to understand that this is your first chance to show off your establishment to your potential customers.
Remember the old saying ” you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”.
Making a scheduled timeline of everything that needs to accomplish before the grand opening is very important. Remember” the world makes room for those who know where they’re going.”
2. Having it Too Early
The Grand opening misconception is that it needs to be on opening day.
On the contrary, waiting for some time after you have ironed out some of the operational issues will make the grand opening look like this isn’t your first rodeo.
In the industry, we call this “a soft opening.”
If you are going to be open Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner you need to open each meal period one at a time. Opening all three in one day will frazil your staff and not to say you.
3. Lacking or Improper Marketing
If you think that just opening the doors will be enough to create a successful Grand Opening, think again.
Weeks prior to the date you need to be in contact with local organizations that will help spread the word of you Grand Opening.
Contacting your Chamber of Commerce, newspaper, utilizing social media, local food bloggers, and having you own website will help you stay in touch.
Depending on what kind of restaurant you are, local radio stations can do remotes with prizes and giveaways also.
4. Lacking Community Involvement
You can’t spread the word enough. Any civic club organization would be glad to have you as a speaker for their meetings.
Offering breakfast to your city council, or taking samples of your menu items to the local businesses, police or fire department and having a booth at the farmers market will get the word out.
5 . Lack of Training
Training for the opening day is the most important aspect of your restaurant business. It’s one of the biggest mistakes that restaurants make.
When we talk about first impressions, your serving staff will set the tone when your customers come in.
You as the manager or owner is responsible to have enough staff on to take care of your customers.
Same goes for food, food not well prepared and not being hot when it arrives at the table will give you your customer the second bad impression.
Two bad impression in one visit from your customers will be a toxic mixture of you not knowing how to run your restaurant.
Thoughts to ponder!
Will you offer some specials for the opening?
What will be your expectations from the evening?
Will you have entertainment?
What about children activities?
Will the Grand Opening be scheduled for more than one day?
What will you do to stimulate repeat customers?
Will you offer smaller portions or samples of other menu items?
As you can see that there is allot to think about planning your grand opening. Planning out your opening correctly can help prevent mistakes from happening down the road.
One thing everyone missing is during your grand opening, have a photographer take photos of all the festivities and the people attending your opening. People like being photographed. Photos in the local newspaper and magazines are FREE advertising.
Monitor media and newspaper feedback of your opening and if there are any concerns you can address them promptly.
Your Grand Opening should be just that “Grand.”
Understanding and orchestrating your big night will ensure it will be all that you imagined. Bon Appetite!