You’ve finally signed the lease for your restaurant space! Now, you’re just waiting to hire your chef and key staff members, acquire the necessary permits and begin the new build out for your venue.
What’s next? It’s time to kick-off your pre-launch marketing strategy. It’s never too early to create some excitement for prospective customers and local media before your doors open.
Check out 4 ways to generate buzz and ensure opening day success for your new restaurant.
Get your branding on point
Your brand needs a solid foundation, so ask yourself: What does your business do? What is the value you promise to deliver to your customers? And what is your unique value proposition?
Your responses to these questions will help you define your beliefs, purpose and values.
The next step is to communicate and bring those ideas to life through strong branding elements, including logo design and color, in conjunction with your restaurant concept and personality.
Draw upon the origin story for your business as inspiration for the design. What do you want your customers to feel when they look at your visual elements?
In addition, the look and feel must be consistent with the overall interior design, menu and staff uniforms. It’s important you obsess over every detail because you’re setting up the stage for your restaurant’s long-term success.
Design a simple website
Customers experience your restaurant long before they walk in the door through your website and social media presence.
The website doesn’t have to be entirely fleshed out, but it does need to align with the overall look and feel of your restaurant experience. Basic information should include your address, social media links, a newsletter sign-up feature as well as a Coming Soon announcement with either the soft or hard launch date.
Here are additional tips on how to create an impactful restaurant website to help drive business growth.
Set up your social media accounts and start posting
You want to claim your handles on every social media platform as soon as you can, just like your website domain.
Ideally, when you do open, you already have a lot of people who are ready to be there during your grand opening and you have fans on your social media pages.
Share photos and videos of construction and other behind-the-scenes moments to capture the interest of your local audience while creating suspense and anticipation. People love process, so take this opportunity to talk about the details and get people excited about all the work that’s going into making it special to your target customers.
Highlight your team. Putting a face to it can humanize your restaurant and help you build more meaningful and personal relationships with your customers.
You can also collect feedback on social media by posing questions, such as “What’s more important to you: more beer on tap or wine on tap?” As a restaurateur, you probably know what you want, but you’d be surprised at some of the suggestions.
Next, spread good vibes from the very beginning by interacting with your neighbors on social media. That way, you’re showing that you’re excited to be the new addition to the neighborhood and not trying to take any business away.
Even if it’s small amount of posting, it’s good to get started as early as possible. Checking in once a week by talking to your neighbors online and making small announcements is plenty.
Build your email list
During the pre-opening period, build your email list by getting people to sign up for your newsletter through Facebook or website.
The opt-in form should clearly be visible on your website’s front page. Unsolicited emails can harm your brand image, so allowing people to sign up on their own can be a great opportunity to build trust and excitement leading up to the grand opening.
After they sign up, make sure you follow-up immediately with a thank-you email to express your appreciation.
Eventually, you’ll want to use your email newsletters as a chance to showcase new menu items and recipes, celebrate success and share special discount offers. Offering discounts and perks is a smart way to boost business during slow periods.
The bottom line: Great marketing comes from great marketing plans. Building up buzz well in advance will help build momentum that extends beyond opening night!