Opening a new restaurant is an exciting yet challenging endeavor. As the project manager, you play a critical role in ensuring a successful restaurant launch. One important question is: when should you, as the pmp, visit the restaurant?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: plan to visit the restaurant at least 2-3 weeks before opening day. This allows enough time to identify and resolve any outstanding issues.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover when and why the pmp should visit the restaurant leading up to opening day. We’ll provide tips on what to look for during your visits to keep the project on-track and set the restaurant up for success.

Conduct a Walkthrough 2-3 Weeks Before Opening

As the opening day of a restaurant approaches, it is crucial for the Project Management Professional (PMP) to conduct a thorough walkthrough of the establishment. This walkthrough should ideally take place 2-3 weeks before the scheduled opening date.

By conducting this walkthrough in advance, the PMP can identify any potential issues or areas that require attention, ensuring a smooth and successful opening.

Get a status update on construction and renovations

During the walkthrough, the PMP should obtain a comprehensive status update on the construction and renovations of the restaurant. This includes checking if all necessary permits and licenses are in place, ensuring that the plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are functioning properly, and confirming that the interior and exterior spaces are nearing completion.

Verify layout and design elements are complete

Another important aspect of the walkthrough is to verify that the layout and design elements of the restaurant are complete. The PMP should ensure that the seating arrangements, kitchen area, bar, and restrooms are all in accordance with the initial plans.

This includes checking for any discrepancies in the placement of furniture, fixtures, and signage.

Test lighting, sound, and ambience

Lighting, sound, and overall ambience play a significant role in creating the right atmosphere for a restaurant. During the walkthrough, the PMP should test the lighting fixtures to ensure they provide adequate illumination and are in line with the desired aesthetic.

Additionally, it is important to check the sound system for any issues and ensure that the overall ambience aligns with the desired atmosphere of the restaurant.

Review front-of-house and back-of-house workflows

The walkthrough provides an opportunity for the PMP to review the front-of-house and back-of-house workflows. This includes assessing the functionality of the POS system, checking the organization and cleanliness of storage areas, and evaluating the overall efficiency of the restaurant’s operational processes.

Any necessary adjustments or improvements can be identified and implemented prior to the opening.

Pinpoint any final changes needed

Lastly, the PMP should use the walkthrough to pinpoint any final changes or adjustments that may be needed before the restaurant opens its doors to the public. This could involve rearranging furniture for better flow, adjusting the placement of equipment for optimal functionality, or addressing any other issues that may have been overlooked during the construction and design phases.

Revisit 1 Week Before Opening

When preparing to open a new restaurant, it’s crucial for the Project Management Professional (PMP) to revisit the establishment one week before the grand opening. This visit serves as a final check to ensure that everything is in order and ready for business.

Here are some key areas to focus on during this crucial visit:

Confirm construction/renovations are complete

Prior to the one-week revisit, the PMP should ensure that all construction or renovation work has been completed. This includes verifying that any necessary permits have been obtained, and that the building is up to code.

It’s important to double-check that all plumbing, electrical, and HVAC systems are functioning properly to avoid any last-minute surprises.

Ensure decor and furniture has arrived and is placed

During the one-week revisit, it’s essential to confirm that all decor and furniture has been delivered and properly placed. This includes checking that tables and chairs are set up in the dining area, and that any artwork or decorative elements are hung or displayed as planned.

It’s also a good time to ensure that the overall ambiance of the restaurant matches the intended design and theme.

Review menu and kitchen operations

The one-week revisit is an ideal opportunity to review the menu and kitchen operations. The PMP should ensure that all necessary ingredients and supplies have been ordered and received, and that the kitchen staff is trained and ready to execute the menu effectively.

This visit may also involve tasting some dishes to ensure they meet the desired quality and standards.

Observe staff training and readiness

Another important aspect of the one-week revisit is to observe the staff training and ensure they are ready for the opening. This includes confirming that all front-of-house and back-of-house staff have been hired and trained, and that they understand their roles and responsibilities.

The PMP should assess their readiness to provide excellent customer service and handle any potential challenges that may arise.

Complete final walkthrough with contractor and designer

Prior to the grand opening, it’s essential for the PMP to conduct a final walkthrough with the contractor and designer. This allows for any last-minute adjustments or touch-ups to be addressed before customers start coming in.

The PMP should ensure that any outstanding issues are resolved and that the restaurant is fully prepared to welcome guests.

By revisiting the restaurant one week before opening, the PMP can address any potential issues and ensure that everything is in place for a successful launch. This final check allows for any necessary adjustments to be made, ensuring a smooth and memorable dining experience for customers.

Conduct Trial Runs Days Before Opening

Before a restaurant officially opens its doors to the public, it is crucial for the Project Management Professional (PMP) to conduct thorough trial runs. These trial runs help identify any potential issues or areas that need improvement, ensuring a smooth and successful opening.

Oversee server training with menu tastings

During the trial runs, the PMP should oversee the training of the restaurant’s servers. This includes conducting menu tastings to ensure that the servers are knowledgeable about the dishes being offered.

By doing so, the PMP can ensure that the servers are prepared to answer any questions the customers may have and provide an exceptional dining experience.

Review inventory and supply orders

Another important aspect of the trial runs is reviewing the inventory and supply orders. The PMP should ensure that all necessary ingredients and supplies are in stock and ready for use. This helps avoid any last-minute surprises or issues that could disrupt the restaurant’s operations.

Observe kitchen trial runs

The PMP should also observe the kitchen trial runs to ensure that the chefs and kitchen staff are working efficiently and producing high-quality dishes. This includes checking the timing of food preparation, the organization of the kitchen, and the overall flow of operations.

Any necessary adjustments can be made during these trial runs to optimize the kitchen’s performance.

Confirm staffing schedules

It is crucial for the PMP to confirm the staffing schedules during the trial runs. This ensures that there are enough staff members available to handle the anticipated volume of customers. By carefully planning the staffing schedules, the PMP can prevent any staffing shortages or overstaffing situations, providing a seamless dining experience for customers.

Run through service flows from reservations to checkout

Lastly, the PMP should run through the service flows from reservations to checkout. This involves checking the efficiency of the reservation system, the accuracy of order taking, the speed of food delivery, and the smoothness of the checkout process.

By doing so, the PMP can identify any potential bottlenecks or areas that need improvement, ensuring a positive experience for customers.

Verify Readiness on Opening Day

Opening day at a restaurant is an exciting and busy time. As the Project Management Professional (PMP), it is crucial to ensure that everything is in place and ready for a successful launch. Here are some key steps to take on opening day to verify readiness.

Arrive early to oversee staff prep and setup

Arriving early gives the PMP a chance to observe the final preparations and ensure that all staff members are ready for service. This includes checking that the front-of-house staff is properly dressed, the tables are set, and the POS system is functioning correctly.

By being present during this crucial time, the PMP can address any last-minute issues and provide support where needed.

Greet guests and gauge reactions as they arrive

As guests start arriving, the PMP should be at the front of the restaurant, welcoming them and observing their initial reactions. This allows the PMP to gauge the overall customer experience and identify any potential issues.

Taking note of guest feedback and reactions can help the PMP make improvements and adjustments as needed.

Check in with kitchen and servers during service

During the opening day service, it is important for the PMP to keep a close eye on the kitchen and servers. This involves regularly checking in with the kitchen staff to ensure that food is being prepared correctly and delivered timely.

Additionally, the PMP should communicate with the servers to address any customer concerns or requests promptly. By staying involved in the day-to-day operations, the PMP can ensure a smooth and efficient service.

Discuss any opening day issues with staff

Throughout the day, it is inevitable that some issues may arise. Whether it’s a problem with a dish or a miscommunication between staff members, the PMP should address these issues promptly. By having open and honest discussions with the staff, the PMP can find solutions and prevent similar issues from happening in the future.

It is important to maintain a positive and constructive approach when addressing any challenges.

Thank everyone for their efforts after close

After a long and eventful opening day, it is essential to express gratitude to the entire team for their hard work and dedication. Taking a moment to thank each staff member individually and acknowledging their contributions can go a long way in boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment.

The PMP should also provide feedback and discuss any areas for improvement, setting a positive tone for future operations.

Remember, opening day is just the beginning of a restaurant’s journey. By verifying readiness and actively engaging with the staff and guests, the PMP can lay a strong foundation for success.

Follow Up Post-Opening

After the grand opening of a restaurant, it is crucial for the Project Management Professional (PMP) to follow up and ensure that everything is running smoothly. This follow-up phase is essential for identifying any issues that may have arisen during the opening week and implementing solutions to address them.

By taking proactive steps to address any concerns, the PMP can help the restaurant thrive and provide an exceptional dining experience for customers.

Meet with staff to debrief opening week

One of the first tasks for the PMP after the opening week is to meet with the restaurant staff for a debriefing session. This meeting allows the PMP to gather feedback from the employees and gain insights into their experiences during the busy opening period.

By listening to their perspectives, the PMP can identify any challenges faced by the staff and address them accordingly. Additionally, this debriefing session provides an opportunity to recognize and appreciate the hard work of the team, boosting morale and fostering a positive work environment.

Review customer feedback and sales data

Another important aspect of the post-opening follow-up is to review customer feedback and sales data. By analyzing customer reviews and ratings, the PMP can gain valuable insights into the customers’ dining experiences and identify any areas for improvement.

This feedback can help the PMP make informed decisions on how to enhance the overall dining experience and meet the expectations of the customers. Additionally, reviewing sales data can provide useful information on the popularity of certain menu items and help in making data-driven decisions for future menu planning.

Identify areas for improvement

Based on the information gathered from the staff debriefing and customer feedback, the PMP can identify specific areas that require improvement. This could include issues related to service quality, menu offerings, operational efficiency, or any other aspects that may have been highlighted during the opening week.

By pinpointing these areas, the PMP can develop strategies and action plans to address them, ensuring a better dining experience for future customers.

Implement solutions for any lingering issues

Once the areas for improvement have been identified, the PMP can work with the restaurant management and staff to implement solutions. This could involve training sessions for staff members, revising standard operating procedures, updating the menu, or making any necessary changes to improve efficiency and customer satisfaction.

By taking swift action to resolve lingering issues, the restaurant can continue to evolve and enhance its offerings, ultimately leading to greater success.

Celebrate successes with the team

Lastly, it is important for the PMP to celebrate the successes achieved during the opening week with the restaurant staff. This could include recognizing outstanding performance, rewarding the team for their hard work, or organizing a team-building activity to foster camaraderie.

By acknowledging and celebrating the achievements, the PMP can boost team morale and motivation, creating a positive work environment that will contribute to the continued success of the restaurant.


As the pmp, visiting the restaurant in the weeks and days leading up to opening is critical for a successful launch. By being onsite to oversee progress, workflows and readiness, you can proactively identify and resolve any issues.

While the work isn’t over once the doors open, your diligence in the pre-opening stage gets the restaurant off to a strong start. With a thoughtful approach and solid execution, you can ensure your restaurant opening goes smoothly and sets the business up for longevity.

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