Are you opening a bar, nightclub, brewery or distillery this fall? If so, let us be among the first to say congratulations and we wish you many years of success! Since you’re opening in the fall we assume you zeroed in on your concept long ago, have dialed in the design details, and are chomping at the bit to open your doors. You’ve got your cocktail program set, your beer list finalized, glassware is on order, branded materials are on the way… You’re a rock star.
Have you been building anticipation for your launch? Generating buzz is a key component that cannot be overlooked. Even if you’re opening a speakeasy, you need to create excitement for your opening. Since everyone is tweeting, gramming, snapping, and blogging, your location and rules for gaining access wouldn’t be a secret for long anyway.
Here are some effective ways to create hype for your fall opening.
Get it Poppin’
There’s no denying the popularity of the pop-up bar or restaurant, and there’s no denying the marketing power of the pop-up. As the season changes from summer to fall, there are plenty of seasonal events that provide opportunities to get your concept and brand out there before you open your venue. Shake hands, talk up your concept and staff, tell everyone about cocktails and/or beers, explain your connection to the community, brag (in a nice way) about any accolades you’ve received… Spread the word about how awesome your venue is going to be and when it will be opening. Serve both signature and seasonal cocktails, beers and/or food.
Stalls are great for charity events, special local events, and festivals. Taking over an event space can give customers a taste of your full menu, service, and aesthetic. Popping up in an existing restaurant, perhaps a venue that isn’t open during your planned hours of operation, could be a viable alternative for you to taking over an event space. Just be sure to plan for access to water, electricity and other utilities, and be certain to have the proper temporary permits to operate your pop-up legally.
Forget sprinkling in hashtags; now is the time to douse your social media posts with #fall. Since websites still matter, make sure you’ve got one that’s clean, concise, and mobile-friendly. The argument can be made that since you’re not open yet, your website is going to be the first place people look for detailed information about your coming-soon venue. Also, follow these tips to make social media your b*tch, making sure to include easily found buttons that lead to your social media channels. Search for trending hashtags relevant to your concept, grand opening and the season in order to become more discoverable. The more people who discover you, the more people you can have a conversation with about your grand opening. Follow and reach out to local social media influencers who will like and share your posts. Create hype for your menus by posting pictures of cocktails, beers, and food.
Want to leverage the power of Yelp, Foursquare and other review sites? Be proactive and create your listing now, with the addition of “- Coming Soon” after your venue’s name. Not only does this make you easily discoverable, this lets you communicate your location, hours of operation, website, menus, and other pertinent information before you’ve even opened for business. Deck out your listing with a well-written summary of your concept, a “meet the owner(s)” section within the summary, and images of your menu items. Make sure to mention planned fall seasonal menu items in the summary.
Online food and drink resources such as Eater can help generate massive buzz for your impending opening. Eater, as an example, regularly posts regional lists of grand openings. Reach out to their editors and contributors, share information about your opening, and see if they’ll include you in a posting. Foodie and cocktail aficionado sites have loyal followings and their coverage can get your name out there. Know of a respected food and drink blogger? Reach out to them as well.
Local newspapers and culture publications are also a valuable resource. Contact their editor or the writers who handle reporting on restaurants and bars to find out if they’d be interested in publishing an article or blurb about your bar, nightclub, restaurant, etc. It doesn’t hurt to have a press release at the ready in case they ask you for one.
You know who else likes press releases? We do! That’s right – send Nightclub & Bar a press release about your grand opening. While we can’t publish all of them, we just might publish yours, so send them on over.