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Restaurant Soft Opening Checklist

Make a great first impression with the help of this free restaurant soft opening checklist.

restaurant owner going through a checklist before soft launch

What You'll Find in This Restaurant Soft Opening Checklist:

  • A list of the most important things to do for your restaurant’s soft opening
  • A timeline of when you should complete each step
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Make a great first impression with the help of this free restaurant soft opening checklist.

A restaurant soft opening can be a powerful way to get your new business off the ground, but organizing one can be a lot of work. You want every detail to be perfect for the first people in the doors, but how do you make sure you’re not missing the mark? By planning ahead and staying organized, you can ensure every detail is perfect for your soft opening.

Our free restaurant soft opening checklist can help you prepare for the big day and blow your first guests away. Keep reading for more context around a soft opening and what to expect from the checklist.

What Is a Soft Opening for a Restaurant?

First things first, you might be asking yourself, “what is a soft opening anyway?” A restaurant’s soft opening is its unofficial launch. A soft opening can range from something as simple as quietly opening to the public before announcing your grand opening, to a full-fledged party for family, friends, and media.

Benefits of a Soft Opening for a Restaurant

No matter how you choose to approach your soft opening, it can help your restaurant in several ways.

Practice Makes Perfect

A soft opening gives your team experience executing on your menu, technology, and customer service standards before the pressure is on after your official opening. When customers know you’re doing a soft launch, they’ll understand that everything is still a work in progress and will be more forgiving of errors or longer waits. It’s best to give away free or discounted food during this time to avoid upsetting customers as you’re working out operational kinks.

Generate Buzz

The soft opening for your restaurant will inevitably drum up buzz before your doors are officially open. Whether you host an invite-only event with media and influencers, or serve passersby during your soft launch, press and word-of-mouth marketing will help spread the word about your new restaurant.

Get Feedback

A soft launch gives you the opportunity to gather feedback from customers about everything from menu items to playlists to ordering processes. Request feedback from customers, whether informally through a satisfaction check, or formally through a survey. A good way to generate feedback is to give customers free or discounted food in exchange for agreeing to take a survey.

Use the time between your soft opening and grand opening to improve operations.

Why Do You Need a Restaurant Soft Opening Checklist?

Organizing a soft opening involves many moving parts. A checklist simplifies the planning process by helping you stay organized as you juggle all of these steps.

What to Expect From This Restaurant Soft Opening Checklist

Our free restaurant soft opening checklist was created to help you prepare for an invitation-based event. When you download the checklist, you’ll find a timeline of what to do six weeks before, four weeks before, two weeks before, one week before, day of, and after the event. For example, one week before your restaurant’s soft opening you should:

  • Finalize your guest count
  • Conduct a dry run with the full team
  • Set goals for the event
  • Finalize a feedback collection method

For the full checklist and even more tips, download our free restaurant soft opening checklist today and make sure your first impression is a great one.

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