Contact Login English

The Importance of a Soft Opening for Restaurants

Monika Kamińska

Monika Kamińska - marketing and communication enthusiast, psychologist by education. For almost 20 years he has been working in areas related to marketing activities, customer path and decision making. Experience has taught her that the most important thing is efficiency. She boldly sets goals and implements them by choosing online and offline tools. Her passion is the analysis of customer behavior and content marketing.
A soft opening is a trial period for a new business, during which the business operates in a limited capacity.

Table of contents

A soft opening is a trial period for a new business, during which the business operates in a limited capacity. This allows the owner to work out any kinks in the business before officially opening to the public.

Restaurant Websites

Your own branded restaurant website in minutes

Get a beautifully designed website that converts online visitors into customers and keep your customers coming back.

Start free trial

What is a soft opening?

For a restaurant, a soft opening may involve only serving dinner instead of both lunch and dinner, or it may be open to the public for only a few days a week. This allows the staff to get used to the new menu and operations, and it gives the owner a chance to make sure everything is running smoothly before officially opening. 

A soft opening is a great way to build buzz for a new restaurant. Inviting friends, family, and members of the community to come and try out the new spot can create excitement and help generate word-of-mouth marketing. 

A professional looking website is important for any type of restaurant, but it is especially important for owners that might be interested in soft opening. Well-designed website can help convey this to potential customers. Additionally, a website is a great way to showcase the menu and dishes that are available during your soft opening event. Upmenu.com can help restaurant owners create a professional looking website for their fast casual restaurant.

Theme store feature from UpMenu system

If you’re planning on opening a new restaurant, a soft opening can be a great way to ease into business. Keep in mind, however, that a soft opening is just a trial period—be sure to be prepared for a busy grand opening once you officially open your doors to the public!

What do you need for a soft opening?

You’ve finally done it. After months of planning and preparation, your restaurant is almost ready to open its doors. But before you start serving customers, you’ll need to do a soft opening. 

A soft opening is a dress rehearsal for your restaurant, a chance to test out your systems and procedures before the big day. It’s also an opportunity to work out any kinks in your service and get feedback from your customers. 

Loyalty Program

Customers who join the loyalty program often return and spend more

Get up and running quickly with our easy-to-implement loyalty program.

Start free trial

Here’s what you need to do to make sure your soft opening is a success. 

1. Choose a date and time. 

You’ll need to pick a date and time for your soft opening that works for your staff and your potential customers. Keep in mind that you’ll want to give yourself enough time to fix any problems that come up during the opening. 

2. Invite your guests. 

Your soft opening is not the time to try to attract new customers. Instead, invite your friends, family, and other people who you know will be supportive. Make sure to let them know that this is a dress rehearsal and that you’re still working out the kinks. 

3. Train your staff. 

Before your soft opening, you’ll need to make sure your staff is fully trained on your systems and procedures. This is not the time to try out new employees or to wing it. You want your team to be able to execute your vision flawlessly. For example, you could start with Upmenu.com’s menu builder that allows you to add descriptions to each dish, which is a great way to inform customers about what is in each dish and how it is prepared. Additionally, you can use the website builder to create a page where you can provide information about how you store and prepare food. This is a great way to show potential customers that you are a professional and reliable business.

Item description and labels feature from UpMenu system

4. Stock your kitchen. 

Make sure your kitchen is fully stocked with all the supplies you’ll need for your opening. This includes food, dishware, utensils, and anything else you’ll need to serve your guests. 

5. Promote your opening. 

Even though your soft opening is invite-only, you’ll still need to promote it. Let your guests know when and where to show up, and what to expect. You can promote your opening through social media, email, or even word-of-mouth. 

6. Be prepared for feedback. 

Your soft opening is an opportunity to get feedback from your customers. Be prepared to take note of any suggestions or critiques they have. This feedback will be invaluable as you fine-tune your restaurant before the grand opening. 

With these tips in mind, you’re ready to make your soft opening a success. Just remember to take your time, prepare your staff, and be open to feedback. With a little bit of planning, your restaurant will be ready to make a big splash.

How to plan for a soft opening?

Planning for a soft opening for a restaurant can be a daunting task, but with careful planning and execution it can be a successful way to launch a new restaurant. Here are a few tips to help you plan for a soft opening: 

1. Keep it small: A soft opening is not the time to invite everyone you know and try to cram the restaurant to capacity. Keep the guest list small and intimate, and make sure you can accommodate everyone comfortably. 

2. Keep it short: A soft opening should last no longer than a few hours, so that you can gauge how the restaurant is running and make any necessary adjustments. 

3. Keep it secret: Don’t announce the soft opening to the general public, or you may end up with more guests than you can handle. Instead, invite only close friends, family, and VIPs. 

4. Keep it low-key: A soft opening is not the time to go all out with a grandiose event. Keep the atmosphere relaxed and casual, and focus on providing great food and service. 

5. Keep it flexible: Things will inevitably go wrong during a soft opening, so be prepared to make changes on the fly. Be flexible and adaptable, and remember that the goal is to learn and improve, not to be perfect. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_poiLammzM
Source: StartAJuiceBar.com

By following these tips, you can ensure that your restaurant’s soft opening is a success.

How to execute a soft opening?

For many restaurateurs, the soft opening is an opportunity to work out the kinks before the grand opening. 

A soft opening allows you to: 

– test your restaurant concept 

– work out any issues with your menu, kitchen, and service 

– get feedback from customers 

Here are a few tips for executing a successful soft opening: 

1. Invite friends, family, and local food bloggers or media to your soft opening. Be sure to let them know that it is a test run and their feedback is welcome. 

2. Give your staff a heads up that you’ll be testing out the restaurant. This will help them be more prepared and understanding if things aren’t running perfectly smooth. 

3. Keep your menu simple to start. You can always add more dishes later on. 

4. Don’t forget the little details. Make sure your restaurant is clean, well-lit, and inviting. 

5. Take advantage of this opportunity to get feedback from customers. Ask them what they thought of the food, service, and overall experience. This feedback will be invaluable as you prepare for your grand opening.

Why a soft opening is important?

Opening a new restaurant is a huge undertaking. There’s a lot that goes into it, from finding the perfect location to hiring the right staff. And once you’re finally ready to open your doors to the public, you want to make sure everything is perfect. That’s why a soft opening is so important. 

A soft opening is a trial run for your new restaurant. It’s a chance to work out any kinks in your operation before you open it to the general public. And trust us, there will be kinks. No matter how well you plan, something always comes up. 

A soft opening gives you a chance to work out those kinks and make sure your staff is trained and ready to go. It’s also a chance to make sure your systems are in place and running smoothly. Basically, a soft opening is a dress rehearsal for your grand opening. 

And while a soft opening is not required, we highly recommend it. Here’s why: 

1. It Gives You a Chance to Work Out the Kinks 

As we said, no matter how well you plan, something always comes up when you open a new restaurant. Maybe your POS system crashes, or your kitchen gets backed up. Whatever the issue, a soft opening gives you a chance to work out those kinks before your grand opening. 

2. It Helps You Train Your Staff 

A soft opening is also a great opportunity to train your staff. This is especially important if you’re opening a new location. Your staff will need to be familiar with the layout of the restaurant, the menu, and your systems. A soft opening gives them a chance to get comfortable with everything before the rush of the grand opening. 

3. It Lets You Test Your Systems 

A soft opening is also a great opportunity to test your systems. You’ll want to make sure your POS system is up and running, your kitchen is prepped and ready to go, and your front of house staff is trained and ready to take orders. A soft opening lets you test all of these things before you open to the public. If you are soft opening you might be interested in Upmenu.com’s online ordering system which can be a great way to take orders and payments. The system is easy to use and can help streamline the ordering process. Additionally, the online ordering system is a great way to provide customers with a convenient way to order food.

Online ordering system order tab from UpMenu

4. It Gives You a Chance to Make Adjustments 

Finally, a soft opening gives you a chance to make adjustments. Maybe you realize your staff needs more training, or your kitchen needs a little tweaking. A soft opening gives you the opportunity to make those adjustments before your grand opening. 

A soft opening is a great way to test the waters before you open your restaurant to the public. It’s a chance to work out any kinks in your operation and make sure everything is running smoothly. So if you’re opening a new restaurant, we highly recommend doing a soft opening. It will make your grand opening that much better.

How to troubleshoot a soft opening?

When your business is ready to open its doors to the public, you want everything to go smoothly. But sometimes, things don’t go as planned. If you have a soft opening, where only a limited number of people are allowed in at a time, you may run into some problems. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you get through your soft opening: 

1. Make sure you have enough staff. This is one of the most common problems during a soft opening. Not enough staff can lead to long lines and unhappy customers. 

2. Have a plan B for bad weather. If you’re expecting a lot of people and the weather takes a turn for the worse, you may have to adjust your plans. 

3. Make sure your marketing materials are accurate. If you’re advertising a certain deal or promotion, make sure it’s actually available during the soft opening. 

4. Be prepared for technical difficulties. If you’re using new software or equipment, it’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in case something goes wrong. 

5. Have a realistic expectation of customer turnout. If you’re expecting a huge crowd and only a few people show up, it can be disappointing. On the other hand, if you’re not expecting many people and a lot of people come, it can be overwhelming. 

By following these tips, you can help ensure that your soft opening goes as smoothly as possible.

What to do after a soft opening?

After a soft opening for a restaurant, it is important to get feedback from customers in order to make any necessary changes. The soft opening is also a chance to work out any kinks in the operation of the restaurant. Here are some things to do after a soft opening for a restaurant: 

Get feedback from customers: What did they like? What didn’t they like? What could be improved? 

Make changes based on feedback: If customers didn’t like something, try to change it. If they liked something, keep it the same or make it even better. 

Work out any kinks: Did everything run smoothly? Were there any problems? How can they be fixed? 

Train staff: Make sure everyone is on the same page and knows what they’re doing. 

Promote the restaurant: Now that the soft opening is over, it’s time to start promoting the restaurant to get more customers in the door. 

A soft opening is a great way to test out a new restaurant before it officially opens to the public. By getting feedback from customers and making any necessary changes, you can ensure that your restaurant is ready for its grand opening.

Monika Kamińska

Monika Kamińska - marketing and communication enthusiast, psychologist by education. For almost 20 years he has been working in areas related to marketing activities, customer path and decision making. Experience has taught her that the most important thing is efficiency. She boldly sets goals and implements them by choosing online and offline tools. Her passion is the analysis of customer behavior and content marketing.

Related articles

We got you covered!

We are here to help when you need us, whether you’re a customer or not. 

Try for free,
no commitment!