4 Tips for Marketing Your Grand Opening
You had a dream, and now it’s a reality. Your menu is set, the inside of your restaurant is perfect.
Now it’s time to introduce your community to your restaurant. In this article, we look at four tips for marketing your grand opening.
Your big introduction is critical to the success of your restaurant. It sets the tone for your business moving forward because it establishes your brand image.
First impressions are made in the initial 90 seconds, so planning a strategy for your grand opening is vital.
Tip #1: Offer Freebies
You probably already know that people like free things. When it comes to your grand opening, that might mean free drinks, appetizers or even a free T-shirt.
There are a couple of ways you can market your freebies. First, consider Chipotle’s grassroots marketing back in the day before everyone knew their name.
As they began open new stores, Chipotle hired college students to attend community events like outdoor concerts, sporting events and festivals.
These students randomly threw T-shirts wrapped like burritos into the crowd. The best part of this marketing strategy was the coupon for a free burrito lurking inside the T-shirt.
Using this kind of community outreach tool generated a lot of buzz, and it’s a tool you can implement in your own community.
Likewise, you can hand out coupons/flyers in shopping malls and through various internet channels as well.
Another idea for giveaways is to host a booth at a local market or community event. Give the public a taste of your restaurant by handing out samples from your menu.
By giving potential customers a taste of your signature items makes them hungry for more. Count the free samples as part of your marketing budget.
Be sure and hand out coupons or flyers at the event with an invitation to your grand-opening.
Tip #2: Host Multiple Events
Consider hosting multiple events leading up to your grand opening. This creates excitement and buzz over a period of time. (tweet this)
For example, you might:
- Host a friends and family night.
- Have a private reception for journalists and influencers in your community.
- Host area business owners and provide them your take-out menu as they leave.
- Ask your staff to bring several people and host them all for lunch or dinner.
During each of these events, be sure and invite everyone to your grand opening. Encourage them to bring guests as well.
Tip #3: Partner with a Charity
This is another tip for marketing your grand opening and a great way to introduce more people to your restaurant while showing you care about your community.
Since you don’t have a substantial email list yet, by partnering with the right charity, you’ll have access to theirs for invitations.
Making your grand opening about the charity encourages people to attend because they want to spend their money helping others. Choose an organization that’s special to you or someone on your staff.
Include this special partnership in all of your grand opening marketing materials and ask the charity to do the same.
This type of event where your grand opening is a benefit for the charity sets the tone and puts your brand in a positive light.
Tip #4: Offer a Comeback Perk
For the people who come to your grand opening event, you want to offer them a reason to “bounce back.”
For example, you might offer them a coupon or gift certificate to come back several weeks later. Give these out to anyone who attends your vent.
The ultimate goal is to get them to return as soon as possible so you solidify your image in their minds.
Once they’ve tried your restaurant several times and liked it, you’ll have customers and brand ambassadors for life.
How to Market Your Grand Opening
Now that you have some tips for your grand opening, let’s look at a few more ways to attract people to your event.
- Use your website to advertise the event.
- Set up your social platforms and start talking about your event well in advance of the date. Get people talking and sharing the news.
- Send invitations to influencers such as your local chamber, business bureau, city council, school administrators, local celebrities, news personnel or respected culinary people.
- Advertise on community digital boards or print avenues.
- Take flyers and posters around to local businesses.
The Grand Opening
Once the day arrives, the most important part of your restaurant’s grand opening is great food and superior service. (tweet this)
You want to pamper your guests and make them part of a very special group of people. These are the ones you want to become regular diners and brand ambassadors.
Make sure that your grand opening event presents attendees with the very best side of your new restaurant.
Your kitchen should be well-versed and practiced in handling crowds. Your wait staff should be trained exceptionally well in the art of customer service.
Schedule entertainment, samples and giveaways for your grand opening event. Have an old-fashioned ribbon cutting. Set up tables of samples and drinks for your guests.
You want to provide guests with some collateral as they leave your restaurant. This is the place for comeback coupons, loyalty information and your takeout menu.
Above all, you’ve got to impress, so it’s incredibly important that your staff is well-trained and well-rehearsed. Your grand opening is not the time for mistakes or training.
You are building the first part of your customer base. These are the folks who’ll turn around and tell others about you. Don’t forget, you won’t have another chance to make a great first impression.
Your restaurant’s grand opening is an essential part of your overall marketing plan. It establishes your brand and generates excitement for your restaurant.
This initial brand awareness and buzz can stick with you for months into the future.
You’re after initial patrons, but ultimately, you’re after lifelong customers who are loyal to your restaurant. So, go all out for your grand opening celebrations and do everything you can to exceed expectations.
You’ll find you can ride the wave of the grand opening right into success.
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