Hatch Communications
Hatch Communications
Hatch Communications

Thought Leadership

How to plan the perfect restaurant launch and get people coming back for more

by Emily Boswell

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The hospitality industry is one that is rife with competition. With so much choice available to potential diners, it can be difficult to cut through the noise when launching a new restaurant. Yet this is precisely what is needed to achieve long-term success, and to convert people into regulars.

As specialists in food and beverage, including the hospitality sector, we have managed hugely successfully launches for bars and restaurants across the country – from nationwide chains like Six by Nico, The Ivy, Individual Restaurant Group (Piccolino, Riva Blue and Restaurant Bar and Grill), to independent establishments like Blue Sakura and Salvos. Here, we share our advice on how to perfect your restaurant launch, to create a real buzz around the opening, and to maintain that buzz long after launch to keep people coming through the doors.

Phase 1: Make sure everyone who should know, does know

The marketing period for a restaurant launch needs to begin at least a month before opening – if not earlier – to ensure there’s enough time to drum up excitement and anticipation for launch day.

As our attention spans get ever shorter, this period needs to focus on creating a constant hum of noise, so that no-one can forget about the opening.

To do this, you need to create a strategy that reaches every touchpoint of where your audience consumes their content – from what publications they read and which social media channels they use, to which community and networking groups they’re a part of.

Once you’ve identified this, you can then plan what content you need to create to hit each of these touchpoints – from ‘first look’ walk-through videos on social media, to teaser menu announcements and interview opportunities in the press.

This means that by the time the launch comes about, you’ve already laid the groundwork to generate demand and bookings for a strong opening period.

Phase 2: Create FOMO around your opening

The strongest restaurant launches are the ones that create a feeling of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out), making the restaurant feel like the new must-be place for your audience.

The way to achieve this is to design your launch event to ensure it is packed full of ‘shareable content’ – things that will make attendees want to share pictures and videos to their own channels and network. Consider everything from how you present your drinks on arrival, to photo opportunities such as branded backdrops, and live entertainment.

Another way to increase the shareability of your event is to look at how you can make this even more interactive – for example hosting a cocktail-making masterclass with your attendees, or adding an additional layer of presentation to the meal which takes place at the table in front of the guests. Things that feel personal and unique for diners are sure to be shared on their platforms!

Ultimately, you want enough ‘shareable content’ from your launch that your guests are posting multiple photos and videos to their channel throughout the entire duration of the event.

Phase 3: Keep the momentum going

With new restaurants opening all the time, it’s important not to take your foot off the pedal after a successful launch.

The hospitality industry is fiercely competitive, and the only way to stand out against the competition is to maintain momentum and give your audience a reason why they should keep coming back. For example, our client Six by Nico offers the perfect incentive to keep customers returning – they change their menu every six weeks, with each menu only ever cooking once. So if you miss it, you miss out!

There are two factors to focus on to successfully maintain momentum; firstly, keeping yourself front-of-mind for diners who are deciding where to book, and secondly, creating demand for diners to visit on specific occasions.

A hard-working press office will help to keep you front-of-mind for your audience, ensuring a stream of regular news, from journalist reviews to new menu announcements, that will help your audience to choose you over your competitor when deciding where to dine.

Along with this, it’s worth considering tactics such as loyalty schemes and brand partnerships with key businesses or community groups, to boost long-term advocacy for your establishment over other brands.

This ongoing activity should then be supported with spikes of bigger activity designed to generate demand – such as themed events, take-over evenings and one-off experiences which provide that ‘why now’ for your audience to visit.

To find out how we can support you with an upcoming restaurant launch, drop us an email at hello@hatch.group!

The hospitality industry is one that is rife with competition. With so much choice available to potential diners, it can be difficult to cut through the noise when launching a new restaurant. Yet this is precisely what is needed to achieve long-term success, and to convert people into regulars.

As specialists in food and beverage, including the hospitality sector, we have managed hugely successfully launches for bars and restaurants across the country – from nationwide chains like Six by Nico, The Ivy, Individual Restaurant Group (Piccolino, Riva Blue and Restaurant Bar and Grill), to independent establishments like Blue Sakura and Salvos. Here, we share our advice on how to perfect your restaurant launch, to create a real buzz around the opening, and to maintain that buzz long after launch to keep people coming through the doors.

Phase 1: Make sure everyone who should know, does know

The marketing period for a restaurant launch needs to begin at least a month before opening – if not earlier – to ensure there’s enough time to drum up excitement and anticipation for launch day.

As our attention spans get ever shorter, this period needs to focus on creating a constant hum of noise, so that no-one can forget about the opening.

To do this, you need to create a strategy that reaches every touchpoint of where your audience consumes their content – from what publications they read and which social media channels they use, to which community and networking groups they’re a part of.

Once you’ve identified this, you can then plan what content you need to create to hit each of these touchpoints – from ‘first look’ walk-through videos on social media, to teaser menu announcements and interview opportunities in the press.

This means that by the time the launch comes about, you’ve already laid the groundwork to generate demand and bookings for a strong opening period.

Phase 2: Create FOMO around your opening

The strongest restaurant launches are the ones that create a feeling of ‘FOMO’ (fear of missing out), making the restaurant feel like the new must-be place for your audience.

The way to achieve this is to design your launch event to ensure it is packed full of ‘shareable content’ – things that will make attendees want to share pictures and videos to their own channels and network. Consider everything from how you present your drinks on arrival, to photo opportunities such as branded backdrops, and live entertainment.

Another way to increase the shareability of your event is to look at how you can make this even more interactive – for example hosting a cocktail-making masterclass with your attendees, or adding an additional layer of presentation to the meal which takes place at the table in front of the guests. Things that feel personal and unique for diners are sure to be shared on their platforms!

Ultimately, you want enough ‘shareable content’ from your launch that your guests are posting multiple photos and videos to their channel throughout the entire duration of the event.

Phase 3: Keep the momentum going

With new restaurants opening all the time, it’s important not to take your foot off the pedal after a successful launch.

The hospitality industry is fiercely competitive, and the only way to stand out against the competition is to maintain momentum and give your audience a reason why they should keep coming back. For example, our client Six by Nico offers the perfect incentive to keep customers returning – they change their menu every six weeks, with each menu only ever cooking once. So if you miss it, you miss out!

There are two factors to focus on to successfully maintain momentum; firstly, keeping yourself front-of-mind for diners who are deciding where to book, and secondly, creating demand for diners to visit on specific occasions.

A hard-working press office will help to keep you front-of-mind for your audience, ensuring a stream of regular news, from journalist reviews to new menu announcements, that will help your audience to choose you over your competitor when deciding where to dine.

Along with this, it’s worth considering tactics such as loyalty schemes and brand partnerships with key businesses or community groups, to boost long-term advocacy for your establishment over other brands.

This ongoing activity should then be supported with spikes of bigger activity designed to generate demand – such as themed events, take-over evenings and one-off experiences which provide that ‘why now’ for your audience to visit.

To find out how we can support you with an upcoming restaurant launch, drop us an email at hello@hatch.group!

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