Marketing starts early, way before the Grand Opening. Cannon says, "Write down your marketing goals. Formulate a plan. Build action steps. Then execute the plan. It's best to get professional help to create a marketing plan and build the appropriate action steps. Marketing is a very tricky game. It's worth every penny to find a firm or an individual who has played the game in the restaurant industry many times before. And, remember, your successful competitors know how to market themselves. If you want success, you'd better be doing some smart marketing."
A grand opening, regardless of when you schedule it, is critical to the opening of a restaurant. But it is only worth the trouble if it is memorable. Cannon says, “It’s called a grand opening for a reason. Make it a grand experience. A grand opening doesn’t have to cost a lot. Build yourself a realistic budget, plan some fun and exciting things, then execute them. Some of the fun things I have seen to kick off a grand opening in style are horse and carriage rides, circus performers, pie-eating contests, bobbing for apples, live music, and more.”
“Keep it fun, make it festive, make it memorable, and make it tasty! Try some cross promotions with local businesses, where they give away free products or services during your grand opening. This strategy will create goodwill in the business community, and your customers will love it.”
Howard Cannon is a highly-recognized restaurant expert witness, consultant, analyst, and speaker. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Starting a Restaurant© - found in 76 countries around the globe. Mr. Cannon is the CEO of Restaurant Consultants of America and Restaurant Expert Witness, and can be reached at 800-300-5764 or via the web at RestaurantConsultantsOfAmerica.com or RestaurantExpertWitness.com.