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How to Handle Your Bar's First Customers: The Grand-Opening Crowd

Your bar's grand opening is a great opportunity to get lots of buzz going about your bar. Human curiosity makes people want to try out something new, so opening your place is likely to bring in a crowd looking to see what you have to offer.

Do it right, and that crowd will continue and build over time. Do it wrong, and that crowd will be the only one you get.

Here are some basic tips for building on your opening crowd:

  • Launch your website a month ahead of your opening. As people see signs of new life, and new life in the signage, they'll want to check you out online. Make sure you give them a reason to get excited.

  • Make sure your bar, kitchen, and waitstaff are ready to go. Train, train, train. Many bar owners recommend at least a week of solid training for all the employees in your new place.

  • Invite business leaders, local celebrities, beautiful people, and anyone else whom your demographic relates to or aspires to be.

  • Include Bloggers, media outlets, and local food writers so they can experience your place firsthand and share their opinions with their audiences.

  • Consider hiring a PR firm to spread the word about your opening. You don't necessarily need to sign a yearlong contract with a PR firm, but do seriously consider the benefit a firm provides for getting you off on the right foot.

  • Create a memorable invitation. Don't simply print up your invites on stationery and mail them out. Consider sending them in custom-printed pint glasses, on a coaster, or with logoed items like silicone bracelets, stress balls, or bottled water.

  • Invite people from the local luxury-car enthusiast club (along with their luxurious cars). Parking sweet rides right outside your door can set a very hip tone for your place.

Make sure you keep those customers coming back by running your bar the right way every day!

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