With restaurants popping up on almost every corner, it’s critical to have a solid plan when opening a new restaurant. At Aspen and Fort Lauderdale-based public relations agency Durée & Company, we have over 20 years of experience in launching restaurants for numerous brands in Miami and Aspen and everywhere in between. We know what it takes to get publicity for a new restaurant, and it starts with a well thought out strategy.
We’re dishing out 7 tips to successfully launch a restaurant:
- Create a Launch Timeline – When opening a new restaurant, it’s important to create a timeline of all deliverables. Opening a restaurant has a lot of moving parts therefore it is important to stay organized so that there is enough time to strategize and execute the launch properly. Also, many public relations tactics require significant lead time. Your launch plan should include evaluating the market and competing restaurants, creating a SWOT analysis, determining price points for menu items and ROI as well as branding and marketing the restaurant.
- Connect with the Community – Understanding your restaurant’s target demographic is key to its success. Knowing your community and who will dine at your restaurant is a crucial part of creating a successful business. It’s important to learn what drives your customer and their dining habits. Joining the local Chamber of Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureau, concierge associations and other local community organizations can help you do just that. These organizations can also provide marketing support for your restaurant through eblasts, social media posts and community events.
- Host Mock Services – A successful tactic to train your restaurant’s staff is hosting mock services for friends and family. Invite guests in to experience the restaurant prior to its opening at a complimentary or reduced rate. This allows your staff to practice what they’ve learned in a forgiving environment. Be sure to include comment cards and collect their emails for future communication.
- Send Out a Press Release to Announce the Opening – When writing a press release to announce the opening, ensure that it has everything a journalist needs to craft a story. The release should include the who, what, when, where, why and how, and links to the brand’s website and social media channels. Your press release should also offer up a key spokesperson or executive chef from the brand that the reporter can interview. Also, remember, in the food industry imagery is key. You should include a working link to photos of the restaurant, food and lifestyle shots. When sending out the release, it’s important to research and identify journalists, food critics and influencers that are appropriate in your restaurant’s market. Cooking demonstrations on local TV stations are also a fun way to tease a restaurant opening. Pre-publicity is important for creating a buzz for the restaurant!
- Host a Media Sneak Peek – Invite media and influencers to preview the restaurant prior to its opening for an exclusive sneak peek. Pre-publicity is often secured by media and influencers experiencing the restaurant firsthand. Give guests a tour of the restaurant and allow them to sample different menu items and signature cocktails. At the event, ensure that there is a brand spokesperson and chef who can educate guests about the restaurant and its menu offerings.
- Host a Grand Opening Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with Key Community Members, VIPs, Media and Influencers – Everyone loves a good party! Host a grand opening celebration that your guests will never forget and so that they can get to become familiar with the restaurant. When planning the event, determine if entertainment such as a live band or DJ aligns with your brand. Curate a guest list of VIPs, media and influencers who will introduce the restaurant to their following. Welcome guests with a sampling of menu items and specialty drinks. Create a fun “Instagrammable” moment (plus a custom hashtag!) that will encourage guests to post about their experience on their own social media channels. Don’t forget to create a gift bag with items your guests will love with your logo on it!
- Invite Media and Influencers to Experience the Restaurant – Once the restaurant is open, leverage food bloggers and media to increase restaurant traffic and generate brand awareness. Invite these contacts into the restaurant for a complimentary media dine to try various menu items, with the hope that they will write, post or blog about the experience. By trying the restaurant, these individuals can provide a true review and become brand ambassadors. Leveraging these relationships will often result in great content for you and them to share.
About Durée & Company
Durée & Company, Inc. is an award-winning, full-service public relations, marketing and special events firm founded in 1999. The firm has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Aspen, Colorado. Durée & Company serves the corporate, agency and nonprofit arenas for local, national and international clients. Services include public relations, social media, marketing, content development, advertising, special events, branding, radio promotions and more. Durée & Company clients include well-known names in business, fashion, hospitality, travel, wellness and CBD, marine & yacht, art and culture, nonprofit organizations, legal and professional services and real estate. Durée & Company is a member of PR Boutiques International™ (PRBI), an international network of boutique PR firms. To learn more, go to https://dureeandcompany.com/, visit Durée & Company on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DureeCoPR/, Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/dureecopr Twitter at https://twitter.com/dureecopr or YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/user/DureeAndCompany, or call 954-723-9350.