If there’s one thing every restaurant owner can agree on, it’s that COVID-19 has turned the industry upside down. Whether you’re one of the lucky ones who was able to pivot to online ordering and offset some of the losses due to in-store diners staying home, or had to completely close and are looking to get up and going again, a grand re-opening might be the best option.
Grand re-openings do a great job of creating excitement and buzz around a restaurant. And in a time when communities are rallying to support small businesses, now might be the perfect time to begin planning a grand-reopening of sorts for your restaurant.
Set a Budget
You have to spend money to make money. With that in mind, think about how you want your grand-reopening to look. Are you going to have live music? Maybe you want to do some giveaways.
Whatever you plan, set a budget and stick to it. Determine how much you need to make to break even after what you spend on the event. And remember, don’t spend so much that your marketing budget the rest of the year goes out the window.
Your budget should include:
- Food costs
- Party supplies
- Advertising costs
- The cost of anything you plan to give away
Every component of your grand re-opening should be built with the idea of creating lifelong customers. You don’t want people to just come in because you’re offering a great deal on a pizza. You want them to feel invested in your restaurant and attached enough that they keep coming back.
Offer to Give Back
During your grand re-opening, choose a charity in the community to give back to. This shows that while your restaurant is looking for community support, you are also sowing seeds of hope into your community.
Try to stick to a charity that everyone can get behind, like the food pantry, animal shelter, or after school snacks for kids.
You can choose to give back by:
- Donating a portion of profits to the charity of your choice
- Giving patrons an opportunity to donate any amount of their choice
- A mix of the two options above
Make It A Week Long Event
Your grand re-opening needs to look a little different than one big event. Most restaurants are down to about 50% capacity. This means that your promotions need to go twice as long as you might normally run them.
By making your grand re-opening a week long event you’re giving everyone a chance to take advantage of your promotions and giving more opportunity to allow for social distancing and smaller crowds.
Online promotions are going to be one of the best and more affordable ways to get your event in front of people. Run Facebook ads targeted to those within 5-10 miles of your restaurant. Try email marketing to your existing customer list. Post organically on your social media channels and encourage sharing.
Sometimes you might need to run a contest or sweepstakes to encourage people to spread the word.
And never underestimate the value of community groups. If you go on to local community groups on Facebook and share your story as a business owner, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll get support. Oftentimes, you’ll also get social proof from happy customers commenting on how much they love your food and encouraging others to show up. Just be sure to ensure promotional type posts are permitted in the group prior to posting.
Opening up post-COVID can be scary, but with the right approach your restaurant can have brighter days ahead. Looking for more information on reopening? Check out our guide to reopening post-COVID here.