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The Ultimate Grand Opening Checklist for Franchise & Retail Marketing

From Restaurants to Home Services Stores (and everything in between)
Grand opening checklist for franchises, restaurants and retailers

Whether you’re welcoming the very first guests to a restaurant, a boutique shop, a hardware store, or even a new franchise location, a grand opening is always a cause for celebration. But to get it just right—to entice droves of customers not only to attend but to spend—takes a fair amount of legwork.

Yes, this includes all the logistics and heavy lifting that go into actually getting your space ready to welcome customers—stocking shelves, setting tables, setting up your POS system, training your staff, etc.—but we’re really focusing on is the marketing lift.

What does it take to introduce the community to your brand? What do you need to do to get them in the door on opening night? And, once they’re there, how can you encourage them to purchase your products during the grand opening and then leave the party excited to come back soon?

For retail and restaurant marketers, grand opening preparation is a big undertaking. Here, we’re making it easy by breaking it down into a detailed grand opening checklist of everything you need to consider as you get ready for the big day.

Connect with Consumers Online

Let’s start with introducing your brand to your community via online marketing channels, meeting them on their phone screens and laptops as they scroll social media or look for local recommendations.

Here are the key areas to consider:

  • Landing Pages: 97% of consumers go online to find and research local businesses. It’s important to create an online location page that’s easy to find and welcoming to customers. Be sure to provide key information like address, phone number, hours, and product or menu offerings. For restaurants, include information about making reservations, and for retail shops, add details about online ordering and pickup options. Also consider including complementary e-books, newsletter signups, and other content that offers value and uses automatic lead capture to drive real engagement.
  • Paid Search: The first page of Google search results is marketing gold. Increasing your store’s visibility in search engine results is a powerful way to bring in new customers, for the grand opening and beyond.
  • Social Media Marketing: Recent surveys have found that social media users spend an average of about two-and-a-half hours per day on social media. As they scroll, consumers are primed to encounter countless new brands and their offerings. All this exposure breeds familiarity and trust—the first steps on the road to purchase.
  • Email Marketing: Once customers are familiar with your brand—they’ve interacted with you on social media, subscribed to your newsletter, or downloaded content from your website—they’ll be primed to notice your name in their email inbox. Use this as an opportunity to introduce yourself a little more formally. Tell customers more about your business, remind them to save the date for the grand opening, and offer discounts or incentives to attend.

Digital marketing has a lot of moving parts to juggle, but it’s a key ingredient in familiarizing your community with your new store. Fortunately, you don’t have to go it alone. Learn about OneTouchPoint’s digital marketing services.

Connect in Print

Another touchpoint you won’t want to skip as part of your multichannel strategy is direct mail. This traditional marketing tactic is still one of the most effective tools a marketer can use to build brand awareness, attract new clients and maintain existing relationships.

Here are a few things to consider sending to your new neighbors via Every Door Direct Mail®.

  • Product Details: For retail stores, consider sending a direct mail piece showcasing a new brand or line you’re carrying in-store. (These could even include preorder opportunities so they can purchase items and pick them up at the opening.) For restaurants, send menus to your new neighbors to raise their appetites, highlighting any specials available at the grand opening.
  • Promos: Are you offering new customer specials? Grand opening deals? Loyalty programs? Let your community know via postcards delivered straight to their mailboxes. Show off the highlights on the cards, and use a QR code to invite them to visit a special landing page – or your website – for more details.
  • Invitations: While you’ll share grand opening details widely online, nothing makes guests feel more welcomed than a personalized, physical invitation. A month or so ahead of the grand opening, cordially invite your neighbors to the big event. Include the basic details of the day, and feel free to step it up a notch with RSVP cards, swag, or anything else that fits your brand and will catch customers’ eyes.

The benefits of direct mail for connecting with customers are undeniable. However, getting these campaigns just right — and integrating them seamlessly with other marketing channels — takes some expertise. At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on being just the right partner.

The Big Day

The marketing work isn’t finished once new customers arrive for the grand opening event. Now, it’s more important than ever to leverage print marketing strategies to create an in-store experience that makes customers feel welcomed, highlights products they’ll love, and entices them to come back for more.

Strategies for your grand opening:

  • Welcome Them In: From a banner over the door to window clings front and center welcoming guests in the entryway or at the host’s stand, both grand format and more standard signage can make a fabulous first impression.
  • Show Them Around: Remember, your space is brand new to attendees, so use directional signage is key. In restaurants, signage should indicate whether customers should seat themselves, wait to be seated, or order at the counter. In retail stores, it can point them to different product categories, grand opening activities, or customer service, for starters.
  • Highlight Must-Try Products: Overhead signage, shelf-talkers, corrugated displays, printed menus, and table tents are just a few of the ways retail and restaurant marketers can highlight featured products and promotions throughout the grand opening event. Remember, this may be the first time customers are encountering your brand in person, so don’t be shy about showing off the things they’ll love.
  • Close Out the Event: The last impression is just as important as the first, so be sure the check-out process is just as vibrant with value as the rest of the event. For retailers and counter-serve restaurants, think point-of-sale displays that highlight community involvement, loyalty programs, and upcoming events. For sit-down restaurants, consider how to jazz up a branded check holder with additional information and engagement opportunities.
  • Give Out Party Favors: Finally, no party is complete without party favors. Branded promo items go a long way in building brand recognition and reputation. Think through what kinds of items fit with your brand identity. This could be mints for a restaurant, frisbees for an athletic store, or dog bandanas for a pet store. Then create swag bags to help customers remember (and share) your brand, and get them excited to come back soon.

From signage to swag, the production needs for a grand opening are sky-high. OneTouchPoint can help there, too, with our full-service print and distribution solutions.

OneTouchPoint is Here to Help with Your Grand Opening Checklist

New openings are great ways to welcome new customers in, but come with a long grand opening checklist. At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on making every step of the process easier. We support everything from the planning, to opening day and every day thereafter.

Learn more about how we work with retail and restaurant clients to showcase their brands through impactful local marketing campaigns. We support multi-locations with online branded stores, warehousing and fulfillment, production, and shipping assets directly to each store location.

Then, when you’re ready, we invite you to contact us or request a quote on your next project. Or, to discuss how this grand opening checklist can help with your next store opening. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.

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