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Starting a restaurant requires months of research, budgeting, and planning, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. When you are ready to open your doors to customers, you will want to make a big splash in both the local community and in the media.

How do you do that?

You launch the restaurant with a grand opening event. A restaurant launch can be as simple or as extravagant as you wish it to be, but it needs to let as many people as possible know that you are open for business.

Here are six essential tips to keep in mind when planning a restaurant launch.

1. Start with family and friends 

A soft launch can be a great way to practice your opening but with less pressure. For example, inviting family and friends to an invitation-only dinner gives you the experience of serving a full restaurant but with guests who will be more sympathetic to teething issues. Encourage them to take photos and share their positive experiences on their social media pages in order to start spreading the word before your official launch.

2. Invite influencers 

Social media is certainly something you should be considered for the official launch. Invite some social media influencers and bloggers who have thousands of followers. A single post or photo mentioning your restaurant could go viral and build awareness of your restaurant on a wide scale.

3. Include a local charity partner

Consider associating your launch event with a local charity. You could, for example, run an auction or raffle to raise funds for the charity and to increase awareness of the cause amongst your guests and the media. This will widen your appeal and boost your coverage by showing you are involved in the community.

4. Run special promotions

Incentives and special offers can be very effective when trying to encourage people to try a new restaurant and build interest in your event. You may want to offer free welcome drinks or free appetizers, but you should also offer vouchers which can only be redeemed when customers visit again in the future.

5. Invest in marketing 

The right marketing strategy will ensure that all of your other efforts are as effective as possible. There are plenty of traditional advertising options including print media, billboards, and radio, but these can be costly. Digital marketing tactics such as search engine advertising and social media advertising are not only cheaper but can be targeted towards specific audiences such as those in a target region. For maximum exposure, bring in a professional event management PR in New York service to give you access to high profile media outlets.

6. Book live entertainment

Providing live entertainment for your guests is a great way to give the event a sense of occasion. Depending on your restaurant’s theme or style you may want to choose a relaxing string quartet, a pianist or even a live rock band.