A Restaurant Opening Day can be just as challenging as it is exciting. There are so many tasks to do, so many people to manage, and so many things that could go wrong. And in business, you know, first impressions are always lasting ones.
To make sure that your grand opening day goes the way you planned it, here’s a checklist that should help managing the big day easier and with increased success:
Whether you’re a full table service kind of fine dining restaurant, or a counter-service fast food outlet, your staff is equally important especially on the big day. By then, they should have complete knowledge of your menu; so they can explain and answer customer’s queries about your items, and use the equipment with ease without making mistakes. They should also have their uniforms ready, SOP’s mastered, and their best customer service attitude forward.
POS and credit card machine.
The cash register should be ready even hours before you open. It is also wise to prepare small change to make sure that you will have enough change for the bigger bills in the first few hours. It should also be stocked with receipt paper rolls. The same should be true for the credit card machines.
They are some of the most important parts of your restaurant and are expected to function just as well as the rest of the crew. Don’t forget to do a routine troubleshooting and trial run just before opening to make sure they are working perfectly.
Everyone expects your restaurants to be new and clean and it should be exactly that. Your brand new restaurant should never be caught dead with dirty floors or tables and most importantly – you should have the cleanest toilets!
Announcements and private invitations.
Prior to the grand opening day, you should have spread the word about your event. The most effective methods are the usual banners, streamers, and flyers but you can also take advantage of available technology. There’s always Facebook’s event invites to begin with. You can also send out press releases and exclusive invitations to Food magazines, local newspapers, and food bloggers. Don’t forget to prepare special stuff for your press and blogger guests!
When choosing the type of entertainment or gimmick for your grand opening, make sure it is: (a) not distracting or disrupting to other establishments; (b) wholesome and suits your target crowd; (c) suits your restaurant’s concept.
Freebies or offers.
This is especially important if you’re running a new brand and not a franchise or a new branch. You have to offer them something that has more value than what they are willing to pay for – a reward of sorts for being brave enough to try out your place which is completely unfamiliar to them. It could be a little bag of souvenirs, free dessert, a prize for the 1st or the 100th customer, or extra sides. It could be anything – as long as it’s free and memorable.
Many restaurant-goers are quite friendly and lenient with new restaurants. They understand the challenges of a brand new staff and brand new equipment and the difficulties of trying to get familiar with things all too quickly. But they can only tolerate so much – even whilst your place needs a lot more time to be familiar with the usual demands of a restaurant.
That is where a soft opening becomes very beneficial. Soft openings, unlike grand openings, are a trial run of sorts for many businesses. They allow in limited people – by private invite or small announcements – to help the restaurant and the staff prepare for the big day. You should run a soft opening about a month before your scheduled grand opening.