To charge or not to charge...
August 25, 2011 3:57 AM Subscribe
Any advice about restaurant soft openings?
posted by slimceagirrl to food & drink (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm in the process of opening a restaurant and am now finally at the point where a real opening date is within sight.
I am considering a "preview" night for close friends and family of the staff, and then continue a public soft open period for a few days after that.
I've read on other sources on the internet that the friends and family night is typically a night where all food is offered for free, and even the drinks are discounted if they are even charged at all. But in exchange, a generous gratuity is left. In light of this economic climate, is this style of soft open still the norm? Would it be in poor taste to charge my guests on this preview night at all, even if the prices were drastically discounted and all guests were informed that there will be a nominal charge when the invites are sent out?
For now, my general inclination is to fix a uniformly low price for all menu items for our friends and family night, as we've already held extensive "focus panel" nights where all food and drink was served free of charge. Most of those invited for friends and family night will be the ones who previously attended one of our free menu testing nights. This time around, we're hoping to gauge the efficiency of our workflow and service.
If anyone here has experience conducting/attending a friends and family preview night, please give me some insight as to the best course of action.
Thank you in advance.