Opening your first franchise can be an exciting event, but also one filled with anxiety. Will people show up? How can I turn new customers into repeat customers? What if something goes wrong? These are just some of the questions that will likely run through your mind.
However, by preparing for the big day, you can put your mind at ease.
Start with a Soft Opening
A soft opening should always be completed in order to work out any kinks, bring employees up to speed, and make the necessary operations adjustments. A soft opening means hosting a friends and family event, fundraiser, or quietly opening your doors.
Choose the Right Date
First, you want to make sure you give yourself enough time to generate buzz about the grand opening and give your new customers time to take notice of the event. Choose a date and time that will give you excellent exposure, so you may want to skip major holidays. Also, think about the season – opening a pizza franchise on Jan. 2 may not lead to a large grand opening as people tackle New Year’s resolutions.
Market the Event
The Hungry Howie’s marketing team offers grand opening support for franchisees that includes print, digital, broadcast marketing and more. When planning your grand opening, media advertising such as TV, radio and/or print media is always helpful. Send a press release to local media outlets alerting them about the grand opening and your new business could be on the local news. You can also generate some excitement through social media. A countdown is a great way to get new customers and community members excited about the grand opening.
Get Community Support
If you’re inviting the media, seek out other community leaders such as city council members or the mayor. While not everyone will be able to attend, it will alert them to a new business opening in the area, and future networking opportunities.
Make it Fun
Stress the “Grand Opening” theme and make it fun; balloons, ribbons, and signs can all attract attention. Having games, giveaways or promotions for repeat customers can also lead to a larger appeal for those with and without families. You may even be able to partner with a local radio station for a remote broadcast, which generates lots of enthusiasm on the day of the event.
The weeks leading up to a grand opening can be a stressful time, but by following these steps, you can create an outstanding and successful grand opening.