For many business owners, cutting the ribbon and throwing open the doors to your brewery, bar, restaurant, or bottle shop will be a dream come true. Most likely, your grand opening will be the most exciting and simultaneously scariest day of your life.
We understand that building a business from the ground up can be stressful. You’ll be faced with many challenges and hurdles along the way. But your grand opening is your first shot to shout from the rooftops that your establishment is ready to rock n’ roll.
And while planning the perfect grand opening can certainly be fun, it’s actually a very important day for many reasons.
When done well, hosting a grand opening will generate buzz for your establishment and set the tone for months to come. For that reason it should definitely be a part of your overall business plan.
But like we said, it can certainly be a fun day if you implement one of these seventeen grand opening ideas for your brewery, bar, restaurant, or bottle shop.
Basically a special celebration that marks the official opening of your business, a grand opening is a social event or party that introduces your brand to public.
Grand openings can help attract new customers, generate buzz, and instill goodwill with your community.
They're an essential business tool and one that you should thoughtfully consider. We've put together eighteen creative grand opening ideas to help you get started.
(Photography courtesy of Dan Gold | Unsplash)
A soft opening is kind of like a test drive for your establishment. You invite a select number of folks to attend a special event that offers a preview of your place. During that one night you can test out the kinks in your operations, menu, service, and logistics, while also collecting some information on the customer experience. Plan one several weeks before your official grand opening to learn valuable information about your operation. They’re an invaluable resource for generating early buzz and working out the kinks to your operation
Create a bigger item like a branded cooler and make it the feature of a social media giveaway. Or offer a couple of free beers. Watch the likes and impressions roll in as people vie to win this new item. You’ll be building a stronger social presence while again establishing your brand.
Reach the over nine million registered users on the world's largest social media networking platform for craft beer drinkers by creating an exclusive Untappd badge. In the Untappd community users check-in specific beers or at specific breweries to receive a badge. The more beer and taprooms an Untappd user explores, the more badges they’ll uncover and earn, with friends often competing against each other to see who can earn more. It’s kind of like a treasure hunt. For example, in the past one could “check-in” a new hard kombucha released by Sierra Nevada to earn the Strainge Beast Hard Kombucha badge, a Bell’s Oberon Ale during the month of June to earn the Always Inspired badge, or one beer from any independent brewery to earn the Brewers Association’s National Independent Beer Run Day badge. Consider building a limited-edition grand opening badge to help promote your new establishment in the app. This will be the perfect and creative opportunity to introduce yourself to new fans.
This is one of the more creative ideas with the potential to attract a lot of people. Who doesn’t want to be a part of breaking a world record? Pick something quirky and invite people to participate on the same day as your grand opening. Chances are after getting their name in the record books they’ll want to celebrate with a beer and some food!
Influencers can have a huge impact on your business. Those with large followings in your niche, whether that’s craft beer, a specific type of food that you specialize in, or even just someone well known in your local community, can draw in more followers for you. Find those influencers through Instagram and invite them to your grand opening. Go even further and send them a swag package so that even if they don’t attend your grand opening they’ll be encouraged to potentially create a post with your branded materials or even visit at a later date. Reaching these influencers' audience will potentially increase your own following exponentially.
If you don’t want to host your own how-to class, let someone else do the work for you! If you’re a brewery or a bar, you could bring in a pop-up food truck to support the event. If you’re a restaurant you could host a pop-up artist or series of vendors to display their wares.
(Photography courtesy of Hop Culture)
As far as grand opening ideas go, this one could have a bit more moving pieces. The concept would be to host a fun class. It could be how to make beer. It could be beer yoga in the production area. It could be pairing beer and chocolate or beer and cheese. The possibilities are endless, but offer just that extra bit of color to your grand opening. Chances are whatever class you host, folks will stick around afterwards for a couple more beers and maybe even a full meal.
Social media should be the backbone to any business strategy today. Tap into that buzz on social media by creating a specific hashtag unique to your brand. From there, encourage your employees, customers, and family and friends to use that hashtag as much as possible before and after your grand opening. A branded hashtag is essentially free promotion for your business.
You can also leverage Snapchat, another popular social media platform, to help promote your business before and after your grand opening. Create a geographical filter on the app to build buzz for your business. You can save images taken during the event and use them in later marketing campaigns.
If you’re a brewery, consider creating a collaboration beer with a well-respected brewery in your community. Offering something truly unique on opening day will be a great icebreaker for your business. Additionally, you’ll have the chance to immediately bring in fans of an already-established business. Even as a restaurant or bar, you could still leverage this strategy. Brew a special collab beer with a local, established business and you’ll bring in fans of that brewery right off the bat.
One of the best and simplest grand opening ideas is to team up with a brewery (or another brewery) for a tap takeover. Especially if you’re a restaurant or bar, hosting a tap takeover can be a great way to attract an audience. Partnering up with a popular brewery will tap into an already-established audience. If you’re a brewery-in-planning, it might seem contradictory to save some of your taps for guests, but again this will create a good relationship with your community and bring in a set of already-dedicated fans.
(Photography courtesy of White Lion Brewing Company)
Sure, this is the most traditional of our ideas, but it’s a classic for a reason, right? There is something so satisfying about inviting people to the front of your business, getting ridiculously oversized scissors, cutting a ribbon, physically opening the doors, and inviting everyone indoors. Additionally, these are great media opportunities. Newspapers, magazines, and other publications love the chance to print a picture of you cutting a ribbon. Holding a ribbon cutting is like a big neon sign saying “We’re Open.” Plus, you won’t have to spend too much money to make this happen. Combine a ribbon cutting with any of the other ideas on this list for a nice one-two punch of a grand opening.
Everyone loves free swag. Create branded items such as glasses, beanies, pins, or even simply stickers. Hand these items out during your grand opening. This is the perfect way to get your brand name out into the market.
The only thing better than free swag? Free or discounted beer and food. Entice people to attend your grand opening by offering some type of deal. It could be a discounted flight of beer or a free appetizer. You’ll be likely to see more foot traffic to your grand opening if you offer a deal or discount.
Instead of making the crowds come to you, go to where there are already established crowds. Connect with a local beer or food festival and set up a booth there. As folks walk around and drink beer, give them an introduction to your establishment. You’ll probably want to pair this one with a larger event, so consider a booth at a festival as a great way to promote your grand opening.
This idea has more of a lift. But the benefit of a block party is that it will connect you with your neighboring businesses. Asking everyone to team up could be a win-win for everyone and will introduce you to your fellow business owners, whose goodwill could be crucial to your long term success down the road. Additionally, a block party can attract an audience right off the street.
(Photography courtesy of Trace Brewing)
Another pretty unique grand opening idea, commission an artist to create a live painting during your event. Partnering with a local artist will build good will in the community and create a one-of-a-kind piece. Maybe you have an empty wall that needs finishing? Or it could just be something smaller that you can hang on the wall after it's finished.
Pulling the curtain back on your business for one day only will create some exclusivity around your grand opening. Offer to give your audience a grand tour behind the scenes. If you’re a brewery, show them the brewhouse. If you're a restaurant, show them the kitchen. This is your chance to show off your digs. Make the most of it!
This option could be a bit trickier to pull off, but if you have the means to bring in a band during your grand opening, it can have a huge impact. This is a great tactic to attract more folks on opening day because live music brings a bit of pop and panache to the day. But beyond elevating the day-of experience, it could potentially turn would-be customers into loyal fans.
While any of the above grand opening ideas will help your business stand out from the jump, each requires its own set of plans. However you choose to introduce your business to the world, consider these six things to help you plan your perfect grand opening
The idea behind your grand opening is to leave an impression. You want to attract potential customers to your establishment who you can turn into dedicated fans. Whatever grand opening idea you leverage, whether it's one of the above or something totally different, aim to make your grand opening memorable.
Your grand opening day shouldn’t be the first time people get to know your business. Start building your brand awareness way beforehand. Consider the grand opening the icing on the cake. But first, you need to write the recipe, mix the batter, and bake the cake. Start by building your presence on social media.
Speaking of social media, this should be a no-brainer when it comes to building your brand. It’s hard for a brewery, restaurant, or bar to succeed nowadays without tapping into a presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Loyal customers are the best customers. They’ll frequent your business more often and they’ll be huge promoters for your business. A great way to create a devoted following is by offering incentives—happy hours, membership clubs, or even customer loyalty programs can all go a long way to showing your customers how much you care about them. In return, they will care for you.
There has to be a balance between hosting an incredible event and spending an exorbitant amount of money. Running a business comes down to the bottom line, and you don’t want to start your establishment off on the wrong foot by over budgeting. Take the money for your grand opening idea out of your marketing budget. Consider your grand opening the appetizer and your business the overall meal. You wouldn’t overcharge someone for just the first taste because then they’ll never make it to dessert. Be responsible with your spending.
This might seem like a no-brainer, but you’ll want to make sure on the grand opening day that your staff is trained and ready to go. Once you open the doors it will be a full-on marathon. Having enough staff hired and properly trained will be paramount. You wouldn’t give your GT Mustang just any old regular premium gas; those high-performance sports cars need at least 93 octane fuel. Give your business the best fuel it needs to survive and thrive. That starts with your well-trained, well-cared-for staff.
However you choose to celebrate your grand opening, this is your day. By following these tips and leveraging some of these grand opening ideas, you’re equipped to set up your brewery, restaurant, bar, or bottle shop for success. So good luck and try to have at least a little fun!
Not an Untappd for Business Customer yet?
See why more than 20,000 venues around the world use Untappd for Business for menus, analytics, and promotion of their venue.