Maven Business Plans

7 Restaurant Soft Opening Ideas for Entrepreneurs

7 Restaurant Soft Opening Ideas for Entrepreneurs

After months of meticulous planning and uncountable hours of hard work, it’s now time to open a restaurant finally. The quickest way to solidify the presence of a new restaurant is by holding its soft opening event. The most challenging part is coming up with simple yet effective ideas an entrepreneur can follow to set an event apart from the rest.

Moreover, when starting a restaurant, the owner must put careful thought into organizing the entire layout to meet the goals set forth in the menu. Hiring a competent staff food, beverage purchasing, food preparation, food service, receiving/storing products, food cleaning/dishwashing, public relations, marketing/ sales, accounting/ auditing, and bar services, there’s too much to handle. Consider all the roles!

Looking for a grand opening checklist ahead of the restaurant launch?

Here are the ideas.

1. Start with a Soft Opening

What Is a Soft Opening? Why Do Business Owners Do It?

A soft launch (not for the general public) is the opening of a business for a limited number of people (friends/colleagues) to test its services and make improvements. What better way to celebrate a soft opening filled with loved ones? Not only will it give a business person a little practice run before the restaurant’s grand opening, but it’ll also give a chance to get honest feedback from friends and family members about the taste of the food and other things.


  • Get essential feedback
  • Iron out logistics of the location
  • Prepare the staff
  • Build anticipation
  • Make adjustments

2. Offer Free Perks

Customers love free things, simple as that. It would be great to serve them with a glass of complimentary juice or other meal—it makes people feel special and will also help develop positive associations with the restaurant and brand.

3. Have Multiple Events Leading Up To the Opening

Having multiple events generates a buzz. Also, host a friends-and-family night to thank the staff for all of their hard work. Moreover, it would be great to consider having a private reception for local business owners and journalists. These series of events could even count as a new business (restaurant) soft launches, too!

4. Invite Influencers

The fourth leg of a restaurant opening celebration is an event for influencers who come in a variety of forms. At this point, an entrepreneur has still not opened up to the public, but getting close to them. There are local and regional social media influencers who can take the business boost up within a short period of time. One Instagram post or Tweet from them can inspire thousands of people to make their way to newly establishment eatery.

Reach out to every single blogger, local celebrity, social media bigshot, reporter, and public speaker. Throw them a party—if an owner delivers respect and a great experience, influencers will show their support. 

5. Don’t Forget Social Media

Nervous about getting on Face book or other platforms? Don’t be. The power of social media can take a new or any existing business to the next level––never neglect these platforms. Start an Instagram and Twitter account, fire up a Facebook page, and keep posting to grow a following. Remember, don’t overload; all it takes is one post or two a day.

By the time restaurant grand opening day arrives, the business owner will already have a dedicated audience waiting for the grand opening. Besides, there are plenty of simple social media tips and tricks that entrepreneurs must follow.

6. Draw People Attention with Unbeatable Deals & Discounts

Leading up to the big day—public grand opening event — start with passing out invitations to people in the community of the restaurant. Include a coupon for a special promotions/ deals redeemable within the first few days of opening.

The promotion must be inspiring that requires a purchase. For example, “Buy one get one free” or “get a free drink with purchase of Y meal” or “X% off all bills over a certain amount”. The goal is to impress and start generating revenue, so don’t offer completely free meals.

7. Set a Budget and Stick to It

Estimate the total startup and running costs (on a day-to-day basis) before thinking about other things. It is better to create a business plan and predict next year’s revenue to know what things are essential to staying in business. After this, assess the amount of money to use as startup funding, and analyze how much more need to arrange.

As for the business plan of a restaurant, it is advisable to hire an experienced business plan consultant who could research the market and come up with accurate findings. Furthermore, a consultant gives owners a realistic look into the financial section and helps them to prepare future expenses.

Restaurant business plans vary, depending on the type and location of a restaurant. Below, we have highlighted the key steps a business owner needs to take when writing a restaurant business plan.

Executive Summary–– Mission statement, Proposed concept, Execution, Brief look at potential costs, Expected return on investments

  • Company description––Name of the restaurant, location, and other relevant information.
  • Market analysis–––Industry and competition analysis
  • Menu––along with the pricing
  • Employees–––Restaurant management team
  • Design––Everything from the design of the restaurant to kitchen equipment
  • Location––Square footage to typical demographics
  • Market overview­­­­­––– micro and macro conditions of the site, including economic factors
  • Marketing––PR company on the board
  • Financial analysis–––3 to 5 years projection
  • External help

Last words

There’s a lot to consider when establishing a big restaurant and further to stand out from the competition. Regardless of how many countless hours you’ve spent on thinking about the concept or how many friends or family members have assured you, it will be a huge success, without properly planning for it (financial and non-financial) your restaurant is doomed for failure.

Thank you for reading!

Follow these nifty tips to have a flawlessly financed grand opening to kick-start your newly established restaurant’s business. And, share this article with others.

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