Opening a bar can be an exciting venture, but plenty of responsibility comes with operating a new business. Long-term success is highly dependent on impressing new customers, and one of the best ways to get customers through the door is is to hold a grand opening. According to Quantified Marketing, you should allow at least 90 days to plan for this important promotional event.
Estimate when the bar will be ready to open for business. Select a date to hold the grand opening. If you hold the event too early, you may be rushed to have the location ready. Time it carefully so that you can prepare in advance, but don't wait too long or else the grand opening may lose its purpose and appeal. Avoid major holidays, and select a weekend day when your target audience will be most likely to attend.
Hire employees. If all goes as planned, you will have an abundance of customers at the grand opening and will need plenty of helpers. Depending on the size of your bar, you'll want to hire enough servers, bartenders, busboys and dishwashers to keep the event flowing without interruption. Although they should receive adequate instruction in advance, the grand opening is an ideal time for your employees to experience on-the-job training in their new positions.
Plan for giveaways and prize drawings to take place during the grand opening. Contact the companies responsible for the beer and liquor brands that your bar sells, and ask them to either sponsor the event or provide promotional giveaways. Customers love getting freebies and winning prizes, and they'll be excited to spread the word to their friends and family about an establishment that gave away free gifts. Have customers provide their contact information to enter the giveaway drawings, and you'll also begin to build a client list for future postal mail and e-mail advertisements.
Get the media involved. Negotiate for a radio station to set up outside of the event and broadcast the grand opening. Submit news releases or notifications to local newspapers, websites and TV channels to generate community interest in the event. Take plenty of photos at the grand opening, including ones of the contest and giveaway winners, so that they might be featured in local newspapers. You might even be able to barter services with a photographer who will take photos at the grand opening for free because you would be helping him develop his portfolio.
Distribute fliers and marketing materials in places where your target audience will see them. Ask local gyms to set a stack of fliers on the front counter, or place the fliers on car windshields in the surrounding area. Do everything within your means and budget to advertise within a 10-mile radius of your establishment. Eighty percent of your customers will reside within this area, according to Quantified Marketing.
Have a bouncer at the door to check IDs and make sure that every bartender and server knows the importance of checking for age verification before serving alcohol. You don't want your liquor license to be revoked just as business is getting started.
- Neon Open sign 2 image by Edward Stephens from Fotolia.com