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Why You Should Have A Soft Launch For Your Restaurant

By Expert Author: Allen Hill

When you start a new restaurant, there are always a few kinks to work on before the grand opening. New staff, kitchen equipment and décor styles can cause stress if subjected to the criticism of unlimited customers on the first day itself. The staff has not handled a full restaurant yet and may make mistakes. The kitchen ovens may stop working at a crucial moment, playing havoc on opening night. You may find that you have placed the concierge table at a less convenient location or that the bar has long lines of waiting people. Even with an expert media agency like AMGW by your side with in-house media relation services, minor slip-ups that make you flounder on your big day can harm your image.

There is one way of avoiding opening night disaster for your restaurant, café or bar. Plan a soft launch with little fanfare a few weeks before the actual opening. Invite only family and friends or serve on some days of the week only. You can provide a limited menu, giving a sneak peek to the complete range. This simple trick will do wonders for your planning and will ensure a successful opening in two ways.

• Your staff is new, your menu is new, and your décor is new. You need the practice of serving many people at a time. A soft launch will give you just that. Tell your guests that this is just the soft opening and they will be more forgiving of your teething problems. This way you can identify your weak spots and work on them. When you finally open your doors for the public, you and your staff will already have had a few weeks of experience and you will have perfected all aspects based on the feedback during the soft launch.

• A soft launch can also be planned as the start of your marketing campaign. It is a great way of telling people about you, giving you the chance to create anticipation and excitement around the actual opening. A preview of the menu makes them curious about you. You can build on this rising interest through freebies and discount deals, and even use social media to attract attention. AMGW’s in-house media relation services can help you out here.

Many famous restaurants that today allow diners only on reservation basis were launched with no hullabaloo. Instead they opted for the more subtle form of marketing by revealing themselves gradually over the course of several weeks. It was the word-of-mouth publicity of their great food, service and ambience that took to such heights. Such a strategy calls for an even more focused marketing plan for restaurants that involves building relations with customers and media critics, a service offered on amgwagency.com.

So whether you are starting a formal dining restaurant or a casual café, you will find many advantages of having a soft launch before you throw your doors open to the public.

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