You only get one chance to make a first impression. To help you do that, we’ve put together a list of grand opening ideas you can use for your bar, restaurant, gym, or store.
What is a grand opening?
A grand opening is a fancy term for announcing that you’re opening a business. “Grand” doesn’t mean you have to blow the entire annual budget…but it does have to be impressive.
Why hold a grand opening?
In general, a grand opening is a great opportunity for you to introduce yourself to the local community you’ll be doing business in. Let’s look at some of the reasons you might want to do a grand opening.
1. Create brand awareness
A grand opening is a good talking point, but it’s also the first time potential customers get to interact with your band. Make sure you make a good impression and get people talking about you.
Tip: Read more about how you can market your grand opening to create brand awareness.
2. Gauge people’s interest
Take this opportunity to try out a few things to see if it resonates with people. You might think something is a good idea, but the opening will confirm whether or not it is in the real world.
Tip: You can also gauge market interest in advance to avoid disappointment when you open.
3. Form lasting relationships
Another reason to host a grand opening is to form lasting relationships in the industry. Customers are not the only people you should bond with. Local vendors are important, too.
Tip: Check out this slideshow on how to maintain good relationships with vendors for some tips.
14 best grand opening ideas you can use
We’ve collated a list of grand opening ideas and sorted them by business category. The ideas aren’t necessarily exclusive to those categories, so feel free to mix and match.
1. Bar grand opening ideas
If you’re opening a new bar in the neighbourhood, you’ll likely have plenty of competitors already. Use these grand opening ideas to stand out from the boring crowd of pub chains.
Host live music
Music venues are closing left, right, and centre. Use this opportunity to contact some local bands and put on a night of live music to kick off your new business.
Tip: Read our guide on how to organise a successful music event to help you plan.
Another idea is to start your business with a fancy dress-up theme. Decorate your bar and ask your staff to dress up in a fun and festive way to make the locals talk about your bar.
Tip: Look at this list of themed bars to find inspiration for your grand opening theme.
2. Hotel grand opening ideas
Hotels are already great venues for events like conferences, weddings, and networking dinners. Use the grand opening to attract new customers by spicing it up with one of the ideas below.
Nothing attracts people to a venue like the promise of meeting a celebrity. You could invite local celebrities or social media influencers over to add some star quality to your newly opened hotel.
Tip: Read this guide on how to host a grand opening with celebrities as the main attraction.
Go back in time
Take your new guests back in time by creating, say, a 1920’s theme complete with jazz bands and flappers. Or pick another interesting decade and put your staff in appropriate costumes.
Tip: If you like the 1920’s idea, check out this guide on how to throw a Roaring 20’s party.
3. Restaurant grand opening ideas
Restaurants generally tend to have a theme, so you should already be covered in that department. But you can still make your grand opening a bit more interesting with these ideas.
Host a tasting session
Showcase your restaurant’s entire menu by hosting a tasting event where everyone can try each of your specialities. Make sure to invite any local food bloggers for extra points.
Tip: Use our guide on how to organise a successful food and drinks event to help you plan.
Organise an art exhibition
Restaurants have long been a great way for artists to exhibit their latest work. Jump on the trend by inviting over a few local artists to exhibit their paintings for your grand opening day.
Tip: Check out these tips for selecting the right art for your restaurant’s grand opening.
4. Gym grand opening ideas
Gyms are not typically associated with events, but that doesn’t mean you should miss an excellent opportunity to stand out from the other gyms in the area.
Teach free classes
Your gym will likely teach different classes, so why not offer free taster sessions at your grand opening? Invite the whole neighbourhood down for a sweaty session to get the blood pumping.
Tip: Look at these free fitness classes for inspiration.
Try to break a record
A record-breaking attempt will definitely attract a crowd to your newly opened gym. Invite all the bros over to see who can do the most push-ups or hold a plank for the longest time.
Tip: Check out The Guinness World Records website to see how you can break a record.
5. Retail store grand opening ideas
If you’re opening up a retail store, there are extra ideas you can use to attract your first few customers. However, it might involve giving out freebies or heavy discounts.
Give out goody bags
If you’re selling relatively cheap items, you can put together goody bags with samples and hand them out to anyone who pays you a visit on your grand opening day.
Tip: Learn how to put together a goody bag for any occasion.
Offer huge discounts
Another great way to attract new customers is to put up a big yellow sign that says “Today only: 50% off on all items.” You can limit the discount to certain items if you’re afraid of the impact it might have on your business.
6. Online store grand opening ideas
E-commerce stores are a different beast compared to physical retail stores for the simple reason that they’re…online. But that doesn’t mean you should enter the new market quietly. Enter it with a bang!
Open a pop-up shop
Just because your store is online doesn’t mean you can’t have a physical presence, even if it’s just temporary. Open a pop-up shop to showcase some of the unique items you sell online.
Tip: Read Shopify’s guide on how to set up a pop-up shop with your best-selling items.
Give out prizes
You can also advertise attractive prizes for the first 50 people that visit your online store. That could be a free gift or a big discount on some of your best items.
Tip: Read about prizes and other tips in this guide on how to promote your online store.
7. Unique grand opening ideas
Phew! If you can’t get enough ideas for your first day of business, we’ve got a couple more. Check out these unique grand opening ideas you can use for any business.
Create a publicity stunt
A publicity stunt is sure to attract a lot of media attention if done properly. Get the local newspapers to give you some free exposure by organising a flash mob or parade.
Tip: Look at these 14 brand PR stunts to find some inspiration for your own.
Support a good cause
Nothing will make you more welcome in the local community than supporting a good cause. Team up with a local charity and organise a fundraiser at your business venue.
Tip: Read our guide on how to organise a successful charity event to help you plan.
Grand opening event checklist
There is a lot involved in opening a store or a restaurant, so it’s easy to miss some important details. Use this grand opening event checklist to make sure you’ve covered all the bases.
Ready to open your doors?
Use any of these grand opening ideas to make a good (and lasting) impression on your new community and your future customers.
If you’ve already opened your doors to the public, let us know how you hosted your grand opening in the comments section below.