4 Ways to Make Your Business’ Opening Night a Success

Opening Event

To get a business in the service industry off to a flying start, you need to host an opening night event that is capable of dazzling prospective customers, generating great word-of-mouth buzz around your new venue, and ideally earning media attention in the process.


Get prepared with a soft opening

You don’t need to go all-in on a high profile opening night without first having tested the waters with a trial run.

By launching your bar or restaurant with a soft opening, you’ll have the opportunity to break in the systems and procedures you’ve put in place, and also give your team an opportunity to get to grips with their responsibilities, without it feeling like this is your only opportunity to shine. This also works well in other industries and contexts, such as retail, so it’s not just for eateries and watering holes.

A soft opening is ideal for identifying issues and ironing them out, so that when the grand opening rolls around, you are better equipped to succeed.


Incentivize customers to return in the future

It’s safe to assume that you’ll put together a comprehensive guest list for your opening night, but you don’t just want this to be a flash in the pan event. Ideally the people you serve during this initial flurry will also come back to patronize your establishment in the coming days and weeks.

It’ll be easier to convince them to rebook with you if they have a reason to do so that goes above and beyond the good will you’ve generated with them at your opening night. A great example of an incentive that really works is a discount coupon, which can be redeemed when they next visit.

Better still, if the discount is dependent on them bringing more people with them on their return, then it will bolster the profile of your new business even further in the local area. You could even set up a loyalty scheme which provides discounts when certain conditions are met, shoring up your business for the long term.


Train employees thoroughly and treat them well

It should go without saying, but if your team is well trained and enjoys a positive experience with the management as well as a good relationship with your guests, then the outcome of your opening night will be far better than if there are snafus that come from inexperience or tensions resulting from poor treatment.

Opting to employ seasoned servers makes sense in this context, but don’t assume that just because someone has a resume that’s overflowing with past jobs, they’ll be able to thrive in the environment you offer them. Give team members the support they need to succeed, and this will rub off on the guests as well.


Use social media to your advantage

Lastly, you can keep the momentum generated by your opening night going if you harness social media in the right way.

Don’t just share images and videos from the event online after the fact, but also encourage guests to add their own content from the night to their own feeds, again tying this into the promise of a discount if they do so.

With this framework for running your opening night, you should have a good chance of getting what you want out of the occasion.

Achieving all this isn’t easy, but it can be done with less stress and more success if you know what strategies will work best.

To that end, here are a few ways to make sure that your opening night is a sure fire hit, and leads to great things for your fledgling business.