GRAND OPENING. The phrase is both exciting and terrifying. A new restaurant is full of potential and possibilities. But one of the first great challenges is to get the word out. The task is more complex when it’s an independent restaurant because you may be going it alone.
Luckily for the independent restaurateur, the SM3 team has handled new store openings before. They know how to utilize channels like social media and e-mail to create buzz and anticipation. Here’s some advice based on direct experience straight from one of SM3’s veteran Social Media and Email Specialists, Cacie Waller.
- Build buzz with consistent social media posts prior to launch. Regular Facebook posts about the progress of the restaurant are key to getting and the attention of potential guests. Consider posting pictures showing progress, like the sign on the front of the restaurant being put up, the wait staff uniforms, menu reveals, staff setting the tables the day before opening, etc. Although these may seem like mundane updates to you, it’s a great way to build anticipation to your restaurant’s opening.
- Leverage any other established social platforms you already have. A cross promotional campaign can attract the eyes of those already committed to your brand, if not your newest restaurant. In one case we encouraged fans of a sister restaurant’s Facebook Page to Like the new restaurant’s Facebook page and join their email list to be entered to win a $25 gift card.
- Lock in revenue before your restaurant opens. In previous cases we’ve promoted the restaurant’s gift cards prior to the opening via Facebook posts and enabled Fans to purchase them right on Facebook via a Facebook Tab.
In the case of one SM3 client, we were able to gain 729 Facebook fans and 229 email members over four months before the restaurant even opened its doors, providing a great base to start their marketing efforts. Remember: when it comes to new restaurant marketing, start early, but make sure you have something to say!