Your grand opening is a celebratory occasion, but it can be equally frantic and stressful, particularly if you aren’t prepared.
Leaving anything to chance could mean leaving a negative impression with your customers, who may not return to your place of business if their experience isn’t what they’d hoped for.
Here are six strategies to help you get ready for your restaurant’s launch day.
Make A List Of Everything You Need To Do
Your brain is not a great storage device. If you attempt to keep track of everything you need to do in your head, something could easily slip through the cracks. And that’s really the last thing you want as you’re preparing for launch day.
Regardless of how much progress you’ve made so far, make a list of everything you need to do before you’re ready to open the doors to customers. If you have yet to decide on a location or theme, start there. If you need to hire, develop your menu, or purchase furnishings, add these to-dos to your list. And if you haven’t thought about marketing and press yet, it would be wise to start crafting a strategy around promotion as well.
You might have to add additional items to your list as they come to you, or as you complete other steps. Don’t get stressed out. Just keep at it, and eventually you’ll have everything in order.
Put Together A Budget
There are a variety of costs associated with launch. If you don’t plan how you’re going to spend your money in advance, you could end up spending every penny available to you.
Once your budget is set, you can veto suggestions and ideas that don’t match up with your overall vision and plan. You may also need to make some adjustments based on new information, but at least you can be prepared for a situation like that if you’ve budgeted properly.
Obtain Permits & Licenses
In some cases, getting the permits and licenses you need can be a lengthy and costly process. It’s best to begin sooner rather than later, find out what paperwork you need to file, and get it all done.
Deal With Parking Challenges In Advance
Keep in mind that launch day will likely be one of the busiest days for your restaurant. In addition to backup supplies, it would also be a good idea to start thinking about potential parking challenges.
Even if you have a sizable parking lot, it may not be enough. Think about alternative locations where overflow guests can park, and create a strategy for how to point them in the right direction should your lot become full.
Prepare Your Team
If your grand opening goes as expected, your location is going to be overflowing with customers. If you aren’t adequately staffed, you’re not going to be able to keep up with demand, which will result in a less-than-ideal customer experience.
If launch day doesn’t turn out to be as busy as planned, you can send extra team members home. Better to be overstaffed than understaffed.
Secure Your Restaurant
The unexpected can happen – especially in a busy restaurant. For launch day, it’s worth bringing security resources to help you protect belongings (both those of the staff and the customers), and if major disturbances occur, you’ll be prepared to handle them.
The above strategies are a good starting point. But there are so many variables for a restauranteur to be thinking about, it can quickly become overwhelming.
Seeking out the mentorship of experienced businesspeople or trusted colleagues can help you prepare and get a better idea of what to expect. At the very least, you should do some research to gain a better understanding of what will be required of you.