21 Unique Grand Opening Ideas to Create Buzz
January 15, 2020
Opening a business can be one of the most exciting, yet nerve-wracking, experiences of your life.
In addition to the thrill of creating something from the ground up and finally getting to share it with the world, opening a business can bring on a lot of stress.
As a new business owner, there are many important aspects to consider for long-term success. One of the first being your business’ grand opening.
Best Grand Opening Ideas in 2021
- Soft Launch
- Donate Proceeds to a Charity
- Pop-Up Experience
- Hand Out Swag
- Offer Samples
- Offer Discounts
- Host How-To Classes
- Social Media Event
- Create a Branded Hashtag
- Snapchat Geofilter
- Local Celebrity
- Invite Influencers
- Partner with Local Businesses
- Have a Theme
- Break a World Record
- Custom Paper Promo Cups
- Snail Mail
- Block Party
- Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
A grand opening isn’t just meant to be a fun gathering to celebrate your new business. A grand opening paves the way for word to spread about your new business. It is a simple, yet full-proof way (when done well) to create buzz and market your business. In short, a grand opening should be a big part of your marketing strategy.
21 Unique Grand Opening Ideas for Your Restaurant or Business
1. Soft LaunchIf you’re looking for a way to settle your nerves a bit and ensure your grand opening goes off without a hitch, a soft opening is the perfect way to test the waters and release some of those nerves surrounded by supportive family and friends. A soft opening is essentially a trial run of the grand opening to allow you and your team a practice round with customers who you aren’t worried about losing due to tiny errors, but will give you honest feedback to better the big opening.
2. Donate Proceeds to a CharityWhat better way to attract more customers, build a great name for yourself, and help your community than to partner up with a charity to donate proceeds from your grand opening to? Partnering with a charity, or multiple charities, can help you build relationships within your community both within the charity and with community members who feel strongly about the cause. This can help you further personalize your brand, bringing more purpose to your business than just offering a good or service to the community. Additionally, why stop at the grand opening? These relationships you build can create successful business partnerships for future sales and fundraising events that benefit both parties. So, consider a few causes near and dear to you and start reaching out to local charities to see if the potential for a partnership is there – you can help a lot more than just your brand with your grand opening.
3. Pop Up ExperienceOffering a pop-up experience someone nearby your grand opening is an exciting way to grab potential attendees attention. Consider planning something like a flash mob or using brand ambassadors to flyer and table in a popular area like a college campus. Seeing an experience in person offers a better chance for your brand to remain in aFor a more simple experience, consider a pop-up restaurant offering food from a local neighborhood favorite or from your kitchen itself.
One of the best ways to attract customers to a grand opening is to offer the chance to win free stuff – and who doesn’t love free stuff?
Hosting a raffle with a limited amount of prizes instills a sense of urgency, enticing consumers to show up for the potential of winning a great prize that isn’t always available.
5. Hand Out Swag
Another way to entice customers to show up with free stuff that isn’t as costly as a giveaway might be is to hand out promotional products, or swag. The fact of the matter is that everyone loves the word free in front of an item – no matter what that item is.
Consider branded tote bags, pens, popsockets, koozies, and on – all these items are small and can be purchased in bulk for cheap. This swag gives the bonus of reminding the consumer and others that your brand exists, reminding them to use your business regularly.
Image via Eventbank.com
6. Offer Samples
Another effective form surrounding the idea of free giveaways is giving consumers who attend your grand opening free samples. Whether your product is a good or a service, give a small sample of it to give potential customers a taste of how great your business is and make them want more.
7. Offer Discounts
If you’re not looking to give stuff away for free, consider offering discounts for customers who attend your grand opening. ASpecial discounts for customers who attend an event make customers feel special, as though they earned that discount simply for showing up.
8. Host How-To Classes
Free samples and discounts aren’t the only offers you can give your customers. If you’re offering a product, you can host a how-to session in the best way to use that product. If you’re offering a service, you can host a how-to session on a way to complement the service provided by your business. Either way, the how-to class offers useful information that customers can only get from you at the grand opening.
9. Social Media Event
It’s no surprise that social media is a huge chunk of today’s marketing world. Social media is also one of the main ways people hear about events in today’s market.
Creating an event page on social media or even just using social media to post about your upcoming event is sure to attract visitors to your social media pages and actual grand opening.
Social media marketing for restaurants is a cheap and easy way to get the word out about your event, including location, time, and any important details such as giveaways or themes.
Above: Example of a 2ndKitchen hosted Facebook Event
10. Create a Branded Hashtag
Along with creating buzz using social media, it’s wise to create a branded hashtag for both you, your employees, and your customers to use before, during, and after your event.
Encouraging the use of hashtags helps increase buzz online with free promotion from consumers. You can also combine hashtags with giveaways and use hashtags as entries to raffle prizes.
11. Snapchat Geofilter
One social media platform that has recently become popular for promotional material is Snapchat. Creating a geographical filter nearby your business’ grand opening can further create buzz and is a cheap promotional tactic to use before and during the event. The images captured through the event Snapchat story can be saved and used as future promotional content, such as event recaps.
12. Local Celebrity
If possible, find a celebrity to attend your opening and draw people in. This does not have to be a big name celebrity like Beyonce, it can be a local celebrity with pull in your town. As long as the celebrity has influence within your community, they can help bring in more customers.
13. Invite Influencers
If you can’t find any local celebrities to attend your grand opening, consider inviting social media influencers from nearby. Regardless of if the influencers attend or not, you can send them a nice invitation with a small sample or swag for them to post on their social media pages. That way, these influencers can reach their audiences and further promote your grand opening and brand.
14. Partner with Local Businesses
Partnering with other local businesses is a smart move when you’re the new business on the block. Finding complementary businesses to partner up with can benefit both your brand and their brands. It can expand your audience and be an easy, inexpensive way to further promote your brand around town.
Additionally, at your grand opening, your partnered businesses can have stands or offer swag of their own in exchange for them promoting your opening to their established clients.
People love live music, and booking a band to perform at your grand opening can be a great way to increase the turnout. Similar to your partnership with local businesses, both you can the band you book can promote one another, increasing both of your audiences.
Live music is an exciting and unique way to bring people to your event. Additionally, it adds an uplifting backdrop and gives event attendees something to watch between breaks when they aren’t shopping. Not to mention, it makes your company more a place of enjoyment than simply a business establishment trying to make money from its consumers – instead, you’re giving them an experience.
16. Have a Theme
Themed parties are a very popular choice for events of all types. Consider a theme that your target audience would enjoy that fits well with your brand. This could be a decade, a movie or TV show, a nearby holiday, etc.
Go full out and use the theme to encourage social media posting. Themed events such as trivia nights and parties offer people the chance to dress up, and in today’s world when people dress up, they want to share photos of that look.
17. Try to Break a World Record
While this one may be a challenge and unusual, it is not impossible and is an extremely enticing way to bring people in. Everyone loves being a part of something monumental, like breaking a world record. So, the possibility that attending your grand opening can give people the chance to join in on something big is a unique and bold way to increase attendance. Plus, all it costs is whatever you need to break the record of your choosing.
18. Custom Paper Promo Cups
This one may seem simple, and you may be thinking “why waste paper?” Well, this route, depending on your business, can be an awesome way to spread the word about your event through other local businesses.
Of course, this method would need to be used with partnering with local businesses. It does not need to be for a long period of time, just enough to get the word out on something people wouldn’t typically think to find a promotional piece.
19. Snail Mail
Despite what many people today think, snail mail is not dead. In fact, writing personal notes to people you’re hoping will attend your grand opening is one of the best ways to get their attention.
Handwritten notes are always appreciated, even more so now that they aren’t received as often. So, if you’re wondering how to send invites that will really entice people to show up, get your stationary and start writing!
Image via Expresscopy.com
20. Block Party
Is your store near other business establishments? If you aren’t interested in officially partnering up with other businesses, hosting a block party is a great alternative that allows you to work with local business owners to create business for every establishment. Using a block party as your grand opening will also attract people just walking by and all the customers from the surrounding stores.
21. Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony
Last on this list, a ribbon-cutting ceremony offers something special that attendees will get to see and experience for themselves. A ribbon-cutting ceremony suggests something big and official is coming, and that’s true – it’s your business!
Hosting a ribbon-cutting ceremony gives attendees a better sense of timing to show up on time and experience the whole of your grand opening. Plus, it’s cheap, and can be combined with literally any of the other ideas mentioned above.
The above ideas are the general steps you can choose to include when opening your own business. However, every business is different and deserves a grand opening planned specifically for it.
Below mentions five key tips to consider when planning a grand opening:
1. Create an Experience
Your grand opening should do more than show potential customers who you are as a brand, it should give them an experience they’ll never forget that will make them want to keep buying into your brand.
Creating an experience is vital for remaining memorable, so make your grand opening interesting and give attendees something exciting to tell their friends about. Word-of-mouth is the best type of marketing, and it’s completely free to you!
Lean on local businesses to pick their brains on restaurant and bar promotion ideas to see what has been successful the past – and what you can repurpose for your grand opening.
2. Build Brand Awareness
If you want people to complete purchases with your brand and attend your opening, they need to know who your brand is!
Promotion prior to your grand opening is incredibly important to share your brand’s story, including how it started, its purpose, and what is plans to offer the community and its customers.
3. Generate Buzz and Media Attention
The best way to get attention in today’s world is by creating buzz through media outlets. Without buzz and media attention, it’s difficult for potential attendees to even know your grand opening is happening.
There are countless media outlets to choose from, including social media, radio, and TV. It’s best to choose more than one of these outlets so your name keeps popping up reminding local residents that your event is happening until they decide to check it out.
4. Build Loyal Customers
Repeat customers are essential for keeping your business afloat – it costs a lot less to maintain a relationship with a repeat customer than it does to convert a new lead to a sale.
Use social media to respond to feedback, post event photos and videos, create contests, launch customer loyalty programs, and more. Show customers that you’re here to stay and that you’re worthy of their continuous attention.
5. Keep a Budget in Mind
Last, but certainly not least, don’t forget to budget your grand opening. The worst case scenario is you create your dream grand opening only to find out it’s way over budget and simply impossible to pull off without the funds.
Your grand opening budget should be taken out of your first year of marketing budget – so when planning your grand opening budget, create your yearly marketing budget to ensure you don’t run out of marketing funds by the end of year one. Your budget should be looked at as a big picture, where as your grand opening is just the first 10 minutes of the film. Be realistic, but your grand opening is also not a time to be cheap –simply, be responsible and thorough with your funds.
Get Planning Your Grand Opening Event
You now have the inspiration and top tips to get your grand opening in the works.
Consider which of the inspirational grand opening ideas will work best with your restaurant, bar, brewery, or small business, and choose the ones you want to focus on. Remember, a lot of these ideas can be and should be combined and used together to create the most buzz and best grand opening you can dream of.
Additionally, don’t forget to consider the important factors listed above when hosting a grand opening: Give your customers an experience, create brand awareness and buzz through media attention, maintain relationships with your customers because repeat customers will keep your business afloat and budget accordingly.
Before Your Grand Opening, You’ll Need to Hire a Staff!
Are you opening a business and interviewing candidates for the first time? We have you covered. Download our restaurant interview template to help run a well-structured restaurant interview.