Crazy opening week

So just thought I’d share here. I closed my other shop 6 months ago knowing i was going to move it. It took longer and cost more than i thought it would, but we finished build out and opened on Monday.
I did no advertising on purpose, it’s busy season and i wanted us to grow into it slowly. We have 155 seats and a full liquor bar. I thought i had plenty of servers and bartenders, even though the hiring process is crazy these days. Well the guy from the local paper calls me and says he wants to do a feature on us, this is 2 days after we opened. I agreed to do it of course. But we got our assess kicked pretty good after the article came out the next day and every day since. I’ve decided i have to hire a manager to help me. The amount of prep that goes into doing everything from scratch was one thing when we were doing 2k day, but this is a different animal. I’m stressed all day until dinner service starts and then I’m in my happy place. We started with 4 servers on busy nights but I’m going to change to 6. I just feel like i can’t get any systems going with no help. I’m just fixing problems at this point all day. Working 8am to 1130pm 7 days week is a lot, my bones are sore I’m so tired. But this is a good problem to have, i recognize that. 2 nights in a row were on an hour wait. People get mad but what can you do? We do need to get the service down pat quickly, and my awesome cooks are happy with the overtime, but i need to nail these things down. Anyway that’s my vent. You guys are great, anyone else been in this spot?

Congrats buddy! I’ve opened 20+ restaurants and no matter how ready you think you are, it’s always a growing process at first until you find a rhythm. Sometimes it takes a couple days and sometimes it takes even good management a couple weeks. The media can put you in overdrive before you’re ready. I learned a long time ago not to announce an official opening day.

I opened a restaurant and did a piece with the local newspaper for their Sunday edition. We had planned to open on Thursday and told them so. They printed we would open on Tuesday and when it came out other media outlets piggybacked on it. I was forced to make a decision between all of the free publicity of a grand opening or hope a retraction could be made to correct the opening date however retractions don’t go out until the next day and not many folks read the Monday paper as much as Sunday. We opened on that Tuesday, I moved everything up and we had all of our permits anyway and employees in training. To me at the time, it was a disaster. Things weren’t going as smoothly as they always were at my other restaurant. I was crazy stressed and all over the place just worrying about every little thing and making sure every member of the staff was fine and doing well. Turned out, the opening went great and we had a couple critics dine at the opening as well and got rave reviews. We got lucky really in my opinion but I was mentally exhausted like never before with that situation. Could’ve been a lot worse in hindsight. If it had gone bad, you’re already digging yourself out of a hole on Day 2. First impressions are so important.

I now tell people we’ll be opening on Thursday, but in reality we open up softly on Monday or Tuesday pending the size of the place and the experience of the staff in place. Going from a medium operation to a giant operation like your have now, there’s a lot of moving parts. You’ll likely be needed those hours you’re working currently for the next 4-6 weeks at the minimum just to ensure the place develops said rhythm and grows as it should. With that being said, we all need a mental day off and as soon as you see some daylight, take that day and just relaxxxxx. Being off one full day a week after working 7 days a week for 2 years is like a God send.

We opened 10 months ago with no paid advertising but the media covered it. I held off the TV for 3 months because it was just too crazy busy. We continue to have ongoing media stories but thankfully things have slowed down to a wonderful pace that our old bones (60 and 64) can handle. Another thing I have seen happen over and over again is new places get swamped and then slow down as the months go on. Now we are rolling very steady on the register and I am working 50 +/- 5 hours a week. I make all the dough, pizzas, and most of the prep stuff. My wife and I have had to continually focus on keeping our mental and physical health intact and thus have turned away business, stand firm on our split shift hours, will not pay for any advertising, no specials/coupons/discounts, no deliveries, no booze, and closed 2 days a week. Our place is the top rated Yelp pizzeria and restaurant in Reno and our customers gladly pay our prices and accept our limited menu/hours. We also close for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and will close for 2 - 3 weeks in the summer. We are a mom/pop with only a handful of part time employees with disabilities and 3 non disabled employees at 4-12 hours each a week. This along with low rent, off the beaten path location, high profit on each product sold, is allowing us to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and make a nice living and still have a life. Walter

I opened a new store (Domino’s) back in 2001. It was late November and it was a Thursday- we were not even sure if we would open that day, the next day… or what. Ovens were up an running- Coke cooler was stocked and the cooler was full of food.
I looked at the consultant and said “$#@& it… let’s hit it”
Hit the neon and my whole world exploded.
No LSM… nothing. I had 50,000 Grand opening postcards in the basement ready to go. I always believe in a soft opening- work out the kinks, don’t disappoint people right off, etc. Some go the other way (hard) but I don’t think it makes sense.
We planned on opening at around $10K… maybe a bit more… hopefully?
First week was $23,000. The parking and traffic was unreal for WEEKS. Local PD had a cruiser there for 3 hours every day (5-8pm) enforcing parking, making sure there were no accidents, etc. It was freaking pandemonium. I still don’t get it, or understand it! We held at $24,000 for 8 months and then leveled off.
Started with 5 drivers- needed 20+ Had 4 inside, needed 4 just on phones! Ugh.
It was not enjoyable or understandable but I did put some $ in the bank.

Love that! Good for you guys.