A launch event is a good opportunity to make some noise around the opening of a new restaurant. Depending on your budget and how much time/effort you want to put in, there are various different ways to drive awareness amongst press and consumers to let everyone know your restaurant is open for bookings.
It is also a great way to convey the personality and vibe of your business. For example, a high profile party with celebrity guests and press will send a different message to a small gathering for the local community.
Here are 4 ideas for restaurant launch events:
Digital influencer dinner
A great way to generate talkability through social media is by working with digital influencers. Invite a group of food/lifestyle influencers with a strong following (look for number of followers plus engagement rate) for an exclusive dinner.
The trick here is to make the dinner as ‘instagrammable’ as possible and showcase as much of your menu as you can. Serve dishes that are beautifully presented which the guests will love to post on their feeds and will likely receive lots of attention and interaction from their followers and in turn drive interest and bookings.
If you don’t already have one, having your own Instagram account for your new restaurant is super important for this idea, so the influencers can tag you in their pictures which will help drive more followers to your own account.
Another great way to create an air of exclusivity and to drive word of month and press coverage is by doing press nights. Rather than an official event where everyone is grouped together, invite top tier journalists in with a guest on a special opening night or selection of nights. You can either invite them to choose what time they want to dine or offer two different sittings.
Aim for food editors and lifestyle writers who will have the opportunity to write about you in their pages / on their website. As well as driving media coverage, this is also a great way to generate social media coverage as many journalists have strong social followings.
Local community night
If media coverage and social posts are less of a priority for you and you want to win over the locals, consider a community event. Invite owners of other businesses located near your site and those in the area you know. Post on your social media/website that you are inviting locals to pop in at a certain time to see your new space and enjoy a complimentary drink and some nibbles. You can keep it affordable by offering house wine/beer and some small tasters from the menu.
This is a great way to get people in the local area excited and help drive bookings. You can also offer those who attend the party a special discount during the opening month if they make a booking on the night.
A big launch party is an exciting way to open your new restaurant and can drive a lot of awareness and talkability. You can opt for an exclusive event with press, influencers and VIPs/celebrities (many of which will usually expect to be paid to attend); or do a mixture of press as well as local consumers. This is a good opportunity to showcase some of the best bits from your menu such as a stand out cocktail or a special dish in a canape form. As with the influencer dinner, ensuring the food, drink and space looks great will encourage social posting.
A party can be a lot of expense and work, but it will likely lead to a lot of social media coverage which is great for making an impact for your opening.