One of the most recognizable names in the Philippine restaurant industry is Medonkoro Ramenba. Foodies and critics alike tout the restaurant's quality, rivaling Japan’s best ramen bars. The restaurant is so renowned that it makes news whenever a new branch opens.
The secret behind Mendokoro’s success? Well, besides excellent food, it’s word of mouth. We can chalk up the restaurant’s success due to how much its regulars comment on its quality.
But how do you organically create buzz for your new restaurant?
The best way to get the word out on opening a new restaurant is a soft opening. In a soft opening, you can vet your initial guest list to include essential people like food critics, trusted friends or family, and of course, the local press to generate the most buzz.
To help you, we’ve gathered the best tips and tricks to help you plan your restaurant's soft opening.
A soft opening or launch is an initial test period for a restaurant where it opens its doors to a particular set of guests. The restaurant invites a set of special guests to sample the menu and evaluate the restaurant’s ambiance before opening to the public.
A soft opening allows the restaurant to gather feedback to improve the menu and furnishings further. In addition, it enables the restaurant to fine-tune itself before its full launch.
And let’s be honest, a soft opening allows the restaurant to get the word out and test out everything before you open to the rest of the public. Plus, you’ll get to build early buzz if you host a successful soft opening. Who doesn’t wanna be a VIP?
The secret to a successful soft opening is adequate planning. First, you have to build a game plan and execute it flawlessly. Otherwise, a soft opening can have the opposite effect. An improperly prepared soft opening can do more harm than good and could instead stir controversy for your burgeoning business.
To successfully plan a soft opening, here are the steps you have to take.
The first step of an effective soft opening is crafting your menu. In addition, it’s essential that you highlight your best offerings to generate good word-of-mouth from your guests.
To ensure you get a positive response from your invitation list, you have to answer these questions for planning your soft launch menu.
When deciding between a full menu or a limited menu, you have to consider factors like:
A soft opening can be held for a single day or across the duration of a week. The duration of a soft opening will depend on your goals and your budget. If you want that exclusive feel, then longer is better. Just use The Shed at Dulwich as an example, they saw how much hype they generated by being exclusive—and they weren't even a real restaurant.
First, your budget will be a significant constraint for your restaurant’s soft opening. Secondly, you have to consider when you plan for full-time operations. For example, if you schedule your soft opening far before your full launch, you’ll get enough time to tinker with the menu to address guest feedback.
On the other hand, by scheduling it closer to the official opening, you’ll benefit from building hype for the full launch. The time frame for your soft launch is an important factor to consider and you’ll have to choose what works for you at the end of the day.
When pricing your soft opening menu, you have 3 options available for you:
But, pricing your menu isn’t the only consideration for a soft opening. You also have to decide who’s allowed to attend before anyone else, which is more strategic than you might think.
Selecting an appropriate guest list is vital for your soft opening. After all, if you just invite your friends and family, you might not receive adequate feedback to address improvements. But, on the other hand, just inviting critics might discourage you.
Instead, you need to build a balanced guest list.
When you send out invitations, you need to include details such as:
With a good guest list, you can have a successful soft opening.
Soft openings can be the perfect opportunity to generate hype for your restaurant. You can host an excellent soft opening by inviting the right people and building the right menu. Through this, you can create enough hype to ensure your official launch is a hit.
And of course, you need the right tools to help ensure your opening goes well. Looking for the right POS system for your new restaurant? Mosaic has a cloud-based POS and all the data analytics you need to help you get started.
Contact Mosaic Solutions today to see how you can use the latest technology to ensure your restaurant operations are running smoothly.
Image by Pexels