Restaurant Opening Timeline: From a PR + Marketing Perspective 

If you’re opening a restaurant and are considering engaging a public relations partner, you’ve probably heard the phrase “you’re only new once.” Resist the urge to roll your eyes, because it’s true – you only have one chance to make a first impression with guests, media, influencers, and industry peers. It’s more important than ever to allocate some of your precious pre-opening funds to engaging an agency partner that will help ensure your opening is as successful as possible. Read on for a few tips and a timeline to keep in mind.  

First, a disclaimer: At Sprouthouse, we craft strategies for each client based on their unique needs and goals. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to a successful restaurant opening, but there are consistent elements that all businesses should consider in the months leading up to their opening.  

Six months before opening: 

  • Identify and engage a communications agency, determining a scope of work that will take you through opening and beyond 
  • Claim website URLs and social media handles 
  • Create a visual identity for your brand that will help guide development of your website, interior design, menu layout, social media presence, and more 


90 days before opening: 

  • Kick off work with your agency partner, begin the development of press materials, and map out your opening communications strategy 
  • Launch your social handles with a teaser post/grid; launch a splash page for your website with links to social handles, restaurant contact, and media contact 
  • Begin to generate buzz for your concept by starting to share select details with your community as well as local, regional, and national press 


60 days before opening:  

  • Secure a professional photographer to capture photos of the space, team, and offerings in the weeks leading up to opening; ensure you will have rights to share those photos on your website and social media platforms as well as with media 
  • Determine the format, target invite list, and tentative date for opening events, such as a friends & family preview, soft opening, opening party, press preview, etc. 
  • Work with your communications agency partner to conduct a media training for your key leaders to ensure they can speak comfortably about your concept with journalists 


30 days before opening:  

  • Hold opening photo shoot(s) as opening menus are finalized and interiors are completed 
  • Work with communications partner to strategically announce opening date to press and on social media channels; this can include an exclusive press roll out to maximize exposure 
  • Share sneak peeks through your social channels to generate excitement and grow your following 
  • Enable reservations on preferred platform (if applicable) 
  • Ensure your online presence is accurate and up-to-date, including Google Business profile, social media geo-tags, Apple maps location, etc. 


Opening week:  

  • Launch your full website and any paid digital ad campaigns 
  • Host opening events 
  • Hold a staff training on how to handle VIP guests, including restaurant critics  
  • Open the doors and celebrate your success! 

Once you’re finally open, the real work begins. Your communications agency partner should have a strategy in place to ensure the opening buzz continues in the weeks and months after you welcome guests for the first time.  

If you’re interested in learning more about how Sprouthouse can help with your restaurant, bar, or hotel opening, we’d love to hear from you! Drop us a line at