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Idea Fair

Getting it Right: Soft Opening Training Games



We opened a new fast casual restaurant at the Club to glowing member reviews. The successful opening was a result of exceptionally high attention to detail in training and preparation, and most importantly: soft opening games.

Soft opening training games are a special twist that can be added to soft opening days. We selected a different focus for each day to stress different parts of the operation, and guests were given specific instructions on what to order, and often, how to act or what to do. For example, large groups were directed to order food coming from a single station to create high-volume pressure on that particular worker. One in every seven guests was also given a unique scenario aimed to create chaos or confusion in the dining room or in the line.

The games allowed us to evaluate the preparation of our team and created a culture of fun energy and attention to detail.


Clubs should consider the unique challenges of their new upcoming restaurant and work backwards to add fun obstacles that need to be overcome during the soft openings. A typical soft opening includes bringing in members and guests and having them order from the menu, testing the kitchen and the service model. By changing up the soft openings each day, more testing can be accomplished. Focus on the unique challenges of the restaurant environment, and then organize a creative team to think about ways to test those conditions.

About the author

Ryan Bender

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