The 5-ingredient Secret Sauce to Set Up for a Successful Restaurant Grand-Opening

Setting up for a successful restaurant grand opening

You’re gearing up to finally accomplishing your dream of owning your own restaurant. You’ve decided on a theme that reflects your passion and you hired the best staff to help you run the business. Your getting your final shipments of furniture and decor and the chefs are finalizing the menus. To prepare you for your restaurant’s grand debut, here’s the 5-ingredient secret sauce for a successful grand-opening!

As you prepare to announce the grand-opening of your new restaurant, it’s time to take advantage of all the free and low-cost marketing tools you have at your disposal. This includes social media, Google, TasteM8, Yelp, and more. Unlike print advertising, digital advertisements, reach new customers anywhere they go through their computers and mobile devices, making it the most effective way to advertise.

Share plenty of photos on social media for your restaurant's grand opening

1) Show off Your New Restaurant with Social Media

Begin your digital marketing campaigns by building your social media profiles. These platforms allow you to show off every awe-inducing, drool-worthy detail of your cafe. Post high quality, carefully curated photos to generate excitement for your grand opening. Here, customers get an exclusive preview on what they can expect when they finally get to visit your new restaurant!

As you post on your social media, maximize organic reach by utilizing hashtags, geotags, and shares to get the word out about your new restaurant. Include many relevant hashtags and a geolocation to make your posts discoverable. Then, encourage your friends and family to share your posts on their profiles as well. Think of social media as a digital form of ‘word-of-mouth’ marketing. The more people talk about your new restaurant, the better!

2) Irresistible Grand-Opening Promotions

As you use social media to create buzz about your new restaurant, come up with exclusive, limited-time promotions to build even more anticipation for your grand-opening. Everybody loves a great deal on food, so they’re not going to pass up on a rare opportunity to take advantage of an especially good deal. Grand-opening specials creates a strong incentive for people to set aside time out of their schedule to check out your restaurant.

Advertising platforms such as Yelp and TasteM8 allow you to set up promotions specific for your business. Popular promotions on Yelp include a free drink with a purchase of a meal or 20% off an entire bill. On the other hand, promotions that are limited to the first 50 people or 50% off signature dishes on the first week of your restaurant’s grand-opening are done with TasteM8. Whatever you choose to do for your grand-opening specials, be sure it is too good to pass up!

Invite local Influencers to spread the news about your restaurant's grand opening

3) An Exclusive Preview Just for Foodie Influencers

Now that you have a full online presence, the next step is to host a preview night for foodie ‘influencers.’ This event should occur about a week before your official grand-opening date. As their name suggests, these are the people who will convince the masses that your restaurant is “totally worth checking out” through their social media and blog outlets. Invite the maximum number of influencers you and your staff can accommodate to generate as much buzz as possible. However, keep in mind that everything from the presentation to the service needs to be top-notch. Don’t forget to be prepared for plenty of photo-ops and have staff handy to help influencers take plenty of awesome photos.

Pro-tip: Provide written descriptions of each for the influencers to take home to refer to for their posts. Also provide your social media handles, hashtags, and grand-opening details for them to reference as well.

4) Raving Reviews for your New Restaurant

During the preview event, take advantage of the opportunity to collect reviews for your Yelp and Google pages as well. With 155 million reviews on Yelp and 63.6% of customers checking Google Reviews before visiting a business, these platforms are the new ‘What’s hot and what’s not’ guide for places to eat. While pictures from on your social media pages are worth a thousand words, customers posts reviews to describe to their readers exactly what to expect when visiting your restaurant.The more raving reviews you have for your restaurant, the more customers you’ll have in the immediate future and long run. The preview event is where you want to shoot for those 5-star reviews!

5) Finally, Your Restaurant’s Grand-Opening!  

Finally, the big day to make your grand debut to the public arrives! This is when all your hard work and anticipation pays off. Prepare for long lines, lots of excitement, and hungry customers as they gather to finally get a chance to check out your restaurant. Bring on more stock, staff, and energy than you think you need, as it is better safe than sorry during your public debut. As you anticipate the long lines, the best way to curb any ‘hangry’ customers is by providing lots of samples for them to try as they wait in line! This is an opportunity for you to show your customers the delicious food and impeccable service waiting for them in your restaurant.

Also, don’t forget to have your camera ready! Grand-opening day means photos, photos, and even more photos. Customers are sure to snap pics as they try all of the yummy plates your restaurant has to offer. And you are sure to snap pics of all the excitement for your restaurant! Keep the buzz going by posting plenty of photos all over your restaurant’s Yelp, Google, and social media pages!

Cathy Vu

Cathy is a lifelong resident of Bay Area, CA and a serial FOODIE. She loves going out to eat and discovering all the delicious dishes the world has to offer. With her love of food, she also enjoys sharing about the places she visits as well! Check out her food journey through the TasteM8 blog and the many yummy pictures on TasteM8's Instagram.