You’ve got your fridges full, your ovens ready, and waitstaff ready to take orders. There’s a real buzz when welcoming customers into your restaurant for the first time and it’s easy to see why so many people take the chance of opening their own food business despite the difficulty. Your recipes and service will not only come to support your livelihood but they will also build your brand within the community and potentially even further beyond.
Before that success occurs, however, you have to make it through one important period: the opening night. Depending on how big of a risk you are inclined to take, the success of an opening night can stir word of mouth or it can have newspapers and bloggers talking about your for weeks. But, for that to happen, everything needs to be perfect.
Soft Openings Are Essential
The opening night should never be your first night of active service, only your first night to the general public. Regardless of how well your dishes turn out and how confident you are managing a service, perfection is rare and mistakes are common. This is what soft openings are for.
Gather your friends, family, and associates together, especially those who are both experienced enough to offer the right feedback and trustworthy enough to deliver it. Opening your restaurant to a limited number of patrons will allow you to figure out any issues that can, and are perhaps necessary, to resolve before welcoming the public.
There are also no set number of soft openings allowed and you’re only limited by the number of guests you can find, so don’t be afraid to have a few soft openings over the course of a week to really fine-tune your dining experience.
Present A Simplified Menu
It can be tempting to show off your culinary skills on the opening night, impressing new customers with a range of delicious dishes. However, before you consider delivering an extensive or intricate menu, you need to get the basics right.
Consolidate your menu for opening night. Choose the key items and make sure you can deliver them to the table with the quality of your imagined brand. The interest to try your other dishes at a later date will also give those who arrive opening night to return.
Resolve Those Risks
Following your soft opening should be a review of your operational risks. Did any accidents occur? Were the chefs able to cook safely? Were your timber fire doors kept clear of clutter? These questions can properly be answered once you have experienced an entire service.
This should be the start of your regular risk assessment reviews and it is recommended that you check your paperwork regularly, along with significant service changes, such as menu changes. Bringing in new equipment or ingredients means adapting your safety measures.
Build the Right Atmosphere
Your customers won’t just make their impression on the food, they’re also looking to investigate your entire brand. A good restaurant goes beyond the table and delivers great service in a fantastic environment. Choose the right music, hire the right staff, and decorate with the right decor. It is the attention to detail that will win customers over.