Soft Opening vs Grand Opening – Are they Different?

A grand opening is the dream of every restaurant owner. After going through all the hard work, you deserve to make some buzz. But thousands of ideas might be popping into your mind at this point.

This is when you should try the concept of soft launching. But what actually is the difference between a soft and grand launch?

A soft opening is when you open your restaurant for a test trial. Only a limited number of guests are invited to get feedback. You can change a few things depending on the feedback. 

While for the grand opening, you hold celebrations and welcome the general public to dine in your restaurant. 

A soft opening restaurant for a test trial
A soft opening restaurant for a test trial

But even for a soft launch, you need to plan things wisely. Luckily, our professional chefs and marketing team has some tips that’ll help you out.

What Is Soft Opening Of Restaurant? 

In a nutshell, a soft launch is a trial to get feedback to make any improvements.

Remember, having it is not mandatory, but a soft opening generally helps many small businesses.

Should You Care Enough?

Yes, whoever you invite will come and judge the interior, service, pricing, and food. So, it’s best to be prepared for every possible circumstance. 

With a soft opening experience, you can change the restaurant table spacing or lighting at the last moment. 

How Soft Opening Can Benefit Your Restaurant?

It creates a buzz in your city. By the soft launch, you can test and get feedback to make any improvements. 

Doing so will attract more visitors to the main grand launch.

Soft Opening Announcement – Ensure To Host A Successful Event

Soft Opening Announcement - Ensure To Host A Successful Event (1)
Soft Opening Announcement – Ensure To Host A Successful Event (1)

Preparing for soft launching can be tricky sometimes. There may be multiple ideas that you want to try. Try our experts’ advice and create a buzz instantly.

  1. Make A Guest List

Start by writing the names of the people you want to invite. It is best to go for a maximum of 30 people.

The best strategy is to send an invitation at least one month ago. Then, inform your guest again one day before the soft launch.

Whom Should You Invite On Restaurant Soft Opening?

  • Family and Friends
  • Social Media Influencers
  • Local Businesses Owners

Your family is your biggest support, so they’ll ignore any mishaps. You have to impress influences as they will notice every small detail.

  1. Create A Delicious Menu

Some critics say that you can skip this step. But what’s the point of inviting people over when you’re not offering them food?

So, it is best to plan a three-course meal. If your place is going to be a soup delicacy, you can add it too.

How To Plan Menu For Restaurant Soft Opening?

  • An appetizer is a must
  • Keep the portion size medium
  • Must include a signature dish
  • Ask your guest for any allergies

It is best to tell a little bit about your cuisine before you serve it. Plan your menu in such a way that no one feels over-eaten or goes home hungry.

  1. Decide Pricing

Isn’t it rude to ask your friends and family? Well, we have a perfect solution for you.

Once you’re done serving the food course, ask everyone to pay what they think is a suitable price for every dish.

This will also help you give an insight into what people think about the worth of your food. That’s why it’s important to tell a bit about the ingredients.

Do You Charge For Soft Opening?

Yes, it is best to charge for a soft launch of your restaurant. Being an owner, you have to pay for ingredients and chefs.

During the trial phase, you can give a discount, but nothing should be free.

  1. Ask For Honest Feedback

Once your guests are done with all the testing and payment. Ask them to be brutally honest and give feedback.

Ask For Honest Feedback
Ask For Honest Feedback

Ask them about taste, serving size, and overall interior. Don’t make the common mistake of not asking about your restaurant lighting design.  

Show people around and tell a bit of every detail. This will show your confidence, and this will also impress the invited influencers.

  1. Request Your Guest To Spread Words

People always talk. So, why not promote your newly established business with this strategy? 

Request influencers to use the hashtag of your restaurant name. This will help to create a buzz on social media, and you can target more visitors.

How To Create Buzz With Soft Opening?

Ask your friends and family to recommend your place to other people too. Eventually, this will benefit your business.

Invite local press and influencers to your restaurant. Request them to provide honest feedback. Use paid social media marketing to create a buzz in your city.

How Long Should A Soft Opening Last?

A soft launch maximum lasts for two weeks. In this time period, invite multiple people over and get as many reviews as you can.

Don’t prolong this period, as it will affect your business’s credibility among the general public.

Things To Avoid At Restaurant Soft Opening

Remember, the soft opening is your trial phase. Any mishap can ruin your reputation. Here’s your checklist:

  • Don’t set a dress code. People are coming to enjoy; don’t expect they’ll be happy with a specific theme or dress code.
  • No matter what happens, don’t yell at your staff. 
  • Don’t forget to greet everyone personally.
  • There must be no mess on the plate. 
  • Don’t take feedback personally.

Lastly, you don’t want your place to be labeled as a “restaurant where I got food poisoning” by anyone, So use fresh ingredients.

After this specific period, you’re ready for a timeless grand opening. Here’s everything you need to know for planning an elegant grand launch.

Restaurant Grand Opening

Restaurant Grand Opening
Restaurant Grand Opening

A grand opening is hosting a special celebration to welcome the general public to your new business.

After the final launch, you can’t close your restaurant for a small renovation. Doing so will ruin your diner’s reputation.

Unique Grand Opening Ideas – Make Your Event Unforgetful

It is the dream of everyone to ensure people remember their grand launch for ages. So, here’re some of our tested tips that will attract more customers.

  1. Take Social Media Help

Spread the word using social media and use catchy lines to attract more customers.

Write posts about your signature dishes. Tell people what makes you different from others.

  1. Offer Huge Discount

What do people love more than food? It’s discounted food! So, the best strategy for new businesses is to offer discounts.

You can try our “out of box strategy” and offer discounts on the second visit. This will ensure repeat customers.

  1. Donate To a Local Charity

Why not count your blessings by donating a part of your earnings from the grand launch to charity?

This will also be a positive promotion. It will bring more people to your diner.

  1. Give Food Vouchers

You can give food vouchers for the next visit. Another thing you can do is give away some big prizes.

You can also hold a food-eating competition. Eventually, this will be a great free promotion stunt.

  1. Buy Three At the Price Of Two

Buy one, get one would work ten years ago. Now, you must try something unique to attract your audience.

So, introduce the buy three at a price of two. By the end of the day, you’ll have thrice of sales and satisfied people who’ll recommend your place to friends.

Things To Avoid At Restaurant Grand Opening

At this point, your restaurant is fully functional. On the big day, if anything goes wrong, it will be hard to manage. Here’re some tips to follow.

  • Avoid the “reserve table” culture.
  • Don’t discriminate against your guests.
  • Never use rotten or bad products.
  • Ensure to ask for any allergies.

The worst thing at the official opening is your customer having an allergic reaction. Or someone suing restaurant for food poisoning

What’s The Difference Between Soft Opening And Grand Opening?

A soft opening is the testing phase of your business. During this phase, you can adjust minor changes to your restaurant. Apart from testing, it is mainly used for the grand launch promotion.

After the grand launch, you charge everyone a fixed amount for our services and the food you serve.

The main difference is that no one can go to a soft opening as you need a special invitation. On the contrary, the general public is welcomed at the official opening.

Editors Endnote

A soft launch is essential to make changes at the last moment before you welcome everyone to your business. 

Don’t take it easy, and plan it wisely. A soft opening can either spread good words or any rumor about your restaurant. 

In the restaurant business, never compromise on quality. Before the grand opening, taste every meal on your menu. 

Until the grand launch, you have to redesign anything. But, after the final launch, closing your business will cost you money and a reputation.

Steve here! I like to research and write about best kitchen and home appliances. If you are on the hunt for the best products, quick hacks, and interesting food options, my writing will surely help you out!