How To Plan a Grand Opening

People having champagne.

How To Create a Memorable Grand Opening

Congratulations, you’ve decided to start a new company. You’ve done your research, registered your entity, found a suitable location, and gathered all the necessary resources and staff. You’ve put all the work and effort into a new venture. Now, it’s time to introduce your business to your target customers and get them talking about it.

How to Plan a Grand Opening

The best way to draw attention and get people excited about your new business is by hosting a grand opening event. A launch party helps create brand awareness for your target market. It generates that initial buzz with customers and enables you to build a relationship with your community.

Planning is vital when hosting a grand opening. You want to ensure your visitors have the best experience and that everything goes according to plan. Before you get swept away by all the excitement of your party, here is a comprehensive outline to help you host a successful and memorable affair.

Choose The Type of Grand Opening

Your first action point should be to decide on the kind of grand opening you want. You can choose to host a by-invitation-only event or one that’s open to the public. These two options will call for different preparation strategies.

A by-invitation-only grand opening, for instance, requires you to send an invitation card (by post or email) to your target audience. This type is ideal for a soft launch where you open quietly to a small number of people.

You can use a soft launch to evaluate your products and services, pricing, and the entire customer experience. The feedback you get from your guests will help you make necessary changes to ensure everything is perfect when you open your business to the public.

A grand opening that’s open to the public will, by contrast, call for a different marketing strategy. Rather than sending out invitation cards, you can advertise your event through social media, business signs, and so on. You may have to prepare for a larger capacity and offer incentives to motivate people to come to your grand opening.

Define the Look and Feel

The way you present your business matters in a grand opening. Remember that this is the first time your clientele is visiting your new business or store. You want to ensure the look and feel of your event is appealing to them, starting with the ambiance to the décor to the customer service. Try using branded decorations and colors consistent with your brand logo.

You may also want to set up a grand entrance to attract incoming visitors. For example, you can put out a red carpet, balloon, or banner at the entryway. You can also station someone near the entrance to hand out samples and coupons and welcome them to the grand opening.

Inside your venue, try drumming up the mood and excitement with live music, food, and any other forms of refreshments and entertainment. Your goal should be to ensure your visitors have the best experience. They shouldn’t get bored on your watch.

You can also consider making your grand opening a themed event where your audience dresses in costumes and colors that showcase your theme. However, you need to ensure the theme you select is consistent with what your business offers. For example, if you are opening an Italian restaurant, go for a theme that gives your audience an experience related to Italy.

Capacity Concerns

When determining the capacity of your grand opening, you want to ensure you choose a number that enables each guest to feel comfortable. Most people won’t enjoy being in a crowded and difficult-to-navigate space.

Start by assessing or calculating the size of your event location. Next up, figure out whether your visitors will be sitting or standing. Sitting visitors take up more space than standing ones. If guests are standing, work with 6-10 square feet per person. For example, if the total area is 600 square feet, your maximum capacity should be between 60-100 visitors.

Seated visitors require 8-18 square feet per person, depending on the sitting style. A classroom seating style calls for less space than conference table seating.

Another thing you may want to consider is whether you are hosting an open house where customers walk in and out at their free will. In this case, you won’t have to worry much about maximum capacity than if visitors came to stay for the whole event.

While we’re on capacity concerns, you need to ensure parking is available and sufficient for your guests. A lack of parking may deter guests from entering your event. It can also lead to fines for visitors who park at the wrong spots. Seek permission from your local county or neighboring businesses to ensure you have adequate parking spaces.

Apply for Permits and Licenses Required

Some states and municipalities may require you to get a permit to host a grand opening for your business. It depends on the time of the event, the number of people, and the level of noise you expect. You may also have to get a permit for your business signage.

Identify Your Audience

Knowing who will be at your grand opening will enable you to tailor the event to their preferences. It will allow you to select their preferred entertainment options and use themes and décor that appeal to them.

For example, if you target baby boomers, select music they like. It wouldn’t be a good idea to play electronica or hip hop. On the other hand, if your target audience is families with kids, you may want to have games and shows to keep the young ones occupied and entertained. Kids get bored quickly and once they do, parents may feel tempted to leave the grand opening early.

Pick Your Event Date Carefully

One of the main things to keep in mind when hosting a grand opening is choosing a suitable date for your event. You want to select a date that makes you the only event in town. It wouldn’t be a good idea to schedule it on a day set for another local function, for example, a concert or sporting event. Fewer people may show up. While at it, avoid the holiday season or days when the weather is likely to be poor.

Set Your Budget

Many small costs come with planning a grand opening. They may add up to a lot of money if not controlled, which is why it’s better to work with a budget. Set a budget based on how much you are willing to spend and commit to it. Remember to allocate funds for miscellaneous expenses and emergencies.

Once you have your overall budget, estimate the costs of individual items required for your grand opening. A good tip would be to overestimate the cost of each item rather than underestimate it. This way, the cost won’t surpass your spending limit.

Decide What to Give Out

One way to attract your target customers to the grand opening is by offering them an opportunity to win something. Giving gifts entices customers to come to your grand opening and stick around until they win something. Here are a few gift ideas to attract your target market:

  • Discounts and coupons
  • Free samples
  • Complimentary how-to-classes
  • Swag bags
  • Exclusive grand opening special offer
  • Huge giveaways


Partnering with influential people and organizations is a smart move when you want to attract many people to your grand opening. A good partner can strengthen your brand’s popularity in your community and maximize your return on investment. In most cases, you want to bring in a partner with an established reputation in the community. Here are some ideas for potential partners:

  • Local Charity

Partnering with a local charity may seem counterintuitive when launching your business. After all, you are yet to start operations; you don’t have any sales yet and no customers to drive revenue growth. Where will you get the money to donate to the local charity? Well, you can give the profits from your grand opening to them.

By partnering with a local charity, you gain instant favor with your target market. Partnering with them shows your customers that your business doesn’t exist solely to make profits, but also seeks to better the community.

Try targeting a local charity whose supporters are your potential customers. You might lose a few funds from your sales on the grand opening, but this is nothing compared to the favor and loyalty you gain. The charity can also advertise your event to its members and patrons.

  • Local Media

Local media organizations can also help you gain brand visibility in the community. Reach out to local newspapers and TV or radio stations beforehand and let them know about your grand opening. They may feature your event as a story and thus drive more publicity for your business. You can also partner with local magazine outlets, but target those with relevant content.

  • Celebrities or Influencers

Try finding local bloggers, celebrities, or influencers in your community and get them to come to your grand opening. If the influencer can’t make the event, you can still ask them to advertise it on social media.

The celebrity you select does not have to be someone big or famous. They just need to have some influence within your town. Try targeting an influencer who shares similar interests with your target audience. For example, if your business sells beauty products, you want to partner with someone interested in fashion and self-care products.

Develop Your Invitation List

If your grand opening is for a selected few, you may want to create the most beneficial invitation list. Aside from family and friends, including people who will find your products interesting. Remember that not everyone will come, so it’s okay to invite more than your venue capacity.

Decide on Food and Drinks

If there is one thing your guests will appreciate finding in your grand opening, it’s free food and drinks. It doesn’t have to be heavy meals. Light refreshments can work, too.

You have two options when serving refreshments at your grand opening. You can either do it yourself or hire catering services. It depends on your budget and the quality of food and service you want. Catering will be more expensive, but it removes the hassle of ensuring every guest stays satisfied.

Consider a Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony if Appropriate

Holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony is another sure way to attract the community to your grand opening event. Ribbon-cuttings don’t happen every day. It’s something that many attendees, even passersby, will appreciate experiencing. Try getting a high-profile community member, for example, the mayor, to perform the ribbon-cutting. They may help attract even more people to your event.

Create a Script for Your Staff to Say as Visitors Arrive or Tour Your Establishment

When hosting a grand opening, you want your target customers to view and experience all you offer them. It’s a good idea to train your staff on what to say when welcoming visitors and giving them a tour. You may also want to create a script they can follow when talking to guests. Prepare them to address all possible scenarios, whether questions, suggestions, or complaints.

Prepare Your Grand Opening Announcement

Now it’s time to announce your grand opening to the public or your selected guests. You can share your announcement through offline marketing avenues, like radio stations and newspapers, or online channels, such as social media and email. The communication channel you use depends on who you are targeting, your budget, and your location. Try making the announcement a couple of weeks before your grand opening so people can plan ahead.

After the Event

Once you host the grand opening, don’t end your relationship with your target clientele there. Send thank-you notes or emails to thank them for attending. Offer them discounts for future visits. Gather their contact information and update them about new offers in your store.


Hosting a grand opening is a great way to foster relationships with target customers and businesses within your location. It helps create brand awareness around your newly established entity and allows you to communicate what your business offers.

Planning is essential when hosting a grand opening. Start by choosing a grand opening type, then identify your target audience. Depending on the number of people you plan to invite and the time of your event, you may be required to get a permit or license.

Once you determine the total capacity, set a budget and date for your grand opening. Try not to select a date when another local event is happening. Lastly, offer your target audience food and gifts such as giveaways and swag bags to entice them to come to your grand opening.


Below you’ll find a collection of resources that will help with a grand opening. Most of the resources lead to search results and that’s by design to make sure you get the latest and most recent and popular resources!

Social Media Post Examples For a Grand Opening

By looking at examples of social media posts for promoting a grand opening, you’ll get ideas that you can use to create your own. I suggest creating several designs and testing them to see which one has more user engagement. See the latest Google search results for grand opening example posts.

Grand Opening Promotion Ideas

One of the keys to a successful grand opening is getting the word out. You may have the best grand opening planned, but your grand opening will fail if people aren’t aware of it. You will have spent your time, money, and efforts, and no one will show up to your grand opening.

There are many ideas listed online for promoting your grand opening.

Naturally, listing all the ideas goes beyond the scope of this article. But by using the following Google link, you’ll get the latest and most popular posts that can help you come up with ideas to promote your grand opening.

To-Do List

There are many details to attend to when planning a grand opening. So why not browse online for to-do lists that can help you ensure everything is covered. See the latest Google search results for grand opening to-do lists and checklists.

Gift Ideas

Gift ideas are a great way to think about those coming and attract people to your grand opening. Browsing gift ideas is a great way to get your creativity flowing. Take some time to browse and see what ideas are available to put into place for your grand opening. See the latest Google search results for grand opening gift ideas.

Gift Bag Ideas

Gift bags or another way to thank your attendees. In addition to gifts, you want to add some promotional items to attract customers. Again, the ideas are plentiful. Take some time to browse through them and see what ideas you relate to that make the most sense to you. See the latest Google search results for grand opening gift bag ideas.

Decoration Ideas

The look style and decorations for your grand opening are important issues to consider. You want to make your grand open memorable, and you want it to look greatly themed according to your business. One of the best ways to get your creativity flowing is to browse ideas that you may be able to use in your grand opening. See the latest grand opening decoration ideas.


If your grand opening is open to the public, you may not need invitations. Or you may be going after a select group where you will need invitations or a combination of both. Take a few minutes to browse the latest Google search results for ideas for creating grand opening invitations.

Poster Ideas

If you’re going to spend time and money on a poster, you want to get some ideas to get your creativity flowing and create a poster that’s attractive and draws people in. So naturally, you want a poster appropriate for your business and well-designed. Why not take some time to browse the latest Google search results for grand opening poster ideas. 


Books are another great source of information that will help you with your grand opening. Before I buy a book, I always read the back and flip through the table of contents to understand what I can expect from the book. Another point worth mentioning with nonfiction books is that you don’t have to read the book from cover to cover. Instead, you can flip through the table of contents and go to the chapter that interest you. View the most recent Google search results books related to a grand opening.


The news is another source of information you can use for tips and ideas related to grand openings. Using Google’s new site, you can type in a keyword and get the latest news stories covered by the media. You’ll also get a list of archive stories. So why not take a few minutes to see what’s related to grand openings in the news.

 YouTube Videos

YouTube is one of the most popular sites online today. With endless amounts of videos, you’re sure to find something related to a grand opening. One feature I like about YouTube is that you type in your keyword and get a list of relevant videos, but in addition, you get a list of related topics, and sometimes those topics are ones you haven’t considered. I often look at the topic I’m looking for, but I rarely leave the site without going through a related topic. See the latest Videos related to creating a grand opening.