There are few things as stressful and time consuming as opening a new restaurant or bar. You are essentially balancing the pressure of moving with what is a major change in your business. Free moments are going to be few and far between.
But don’t use that easy excuse to ignore the opportunity to build the foundation of your social media presence. It may seem to be low on the priority list as you are wrangling vendors and eying budget, but this a critical time for the social media component of your marketing strategy.
Getting your business linked to the major social media platforms – Facebook and Twitter – provides an opportunity for potential customers to feel as if they’re a part of this process. That kind of connection will naturally lead them to become invested in your efforts and you could eventually find them among the first people in the door when you open.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help when it comes to hours, menu or even design. The biggest decisions will obviously be decided by your vision and your budget, but giving your potential customers input when it comes to more minor aspects has benefit. At the end of the day these are the people you’ll be expecting to make the purchases; why not ask them what they want?
You may want to put in seven pool tables because you love pool, but a quick poll of your social media followers might let you know that no one has any interest. Perhaps someone might tell you another bar just opened doing exactly the same thing.
Another thing to keep in mind is that social media can have a secondary effect: Free recruitment. Don’t be surprised if your marketing efforts pay dividends when the new GM needs to fill-out the dining room or kitchen staff.
Use the time building up to the launch to share photos of the construction, menu items, new hires, etc. Get your soon-to-be customers bought into your business, not just as customers but as friends and people who are going to make your business great once you open your doors.
Once you have a launch date in mind, start a countdown. 14 days out, share 14 great things about the new business. 13 days out, mention that 13 is unlucky for some, but lucky for you because we open in 13 days, etc.
Above all, use this opportunity the right way to build anticipation and excitement. By the time you open your doors, you’ll have customers lined up outside the door with their friends in tow, already familiar with your business and ready to spend their hard earned cash.
What could be better than that?