How To Open Your New Cafe With A Line Out The Door

A Cafe Launch Marketing Strategy That Doesn’t Break The Budget Or Use Outdated Marketing Strategies


Are you quietly freaking out about opening a new cafe and it being a flop? Do you need help determining what marketing works to cut through the noise and open with a line out the door? 

An effective launch marketing strategy removes the anxiety of opening a new cafe. The best news is that making it effective doesn’t have to break the budget, it just takes thoughtful planning. In this blog, we're sharing the strategy we've personally implemented to open our own cafes with a line out the door. 


Marketing your new cafe starts well before you are open. Here are the activities you need to do before open day. 


Stand out by opening with a ridiculously irresistible offer that draws in a crowd. It’s not enough to think you can ‘build it and they will come.’ You need a compelling offer that mitigates the risk people feel when trying something new. We offered free coffee all day. That was the focus of our marketing for opening day. We also marketed our opening as an event with free live music. 

To reduce the cost of running the promotion on free coffee, try negotiating with your supplier to provide some coffee free of charge. It’s a win-win for your supplier because your promotion is going to mean more coffee sales for them. You will be providing the staffing for the day as well as the other marketing so most suppliers will be willing to meet you in the middle.

Depending on the number of coffees you serve, the total cost of free coffee for the day could range between $300 - $600. But if you’ve negotiated with your supplier, the expense can be $0.

Organic Social

Launching your social media platforms in the lead up to your cafe opening is a given, but what do you post about? Leading up to our cafe launch, we posted behind-the-scenes content during the fit-out process and owner’s interviews sharing our vision for the venue. What you do will depend on your brand but focusing on building rapport with your community and generating excitement about what you will be offering is a good starting placed. 

The total cost of this was $0.

Paid Socials

We ran ads to increase the reach of the launch day event. We ran this campaign with creative that announced the launch day and the free coffee offer. We filmed our owner talking to the camera providing the launch event's details - super simple to create without much editing required and it shows your community who is behind this new business. 

The total cost of this was $300 which was a budget of $10/day for the 30 days leading up to the opening.


Before you put up the newspaper to give privacy to the fit-out, put launch day posters in the windows. We opted for a simple date and QR code that went to a landing page on our website with further details of the launch plan (free coffee, etc). 

The total cost of this pre-launch signage was $40 (designer plus printing). 

Launch Day

Make It An Event

Create a Facebook Event and Invite Everyone You Know 

You want your cafe to look busy from day one - call in as many favours as possible. Even if your friends and family just stand around out the front so the place looks packed! No one takes their chances on an empty cafe - you want your cafe to look busy for the social proof it provides when people walk past and decide if they are going to come in or not. 

You could choose to run paid social to the event invite to increase your reach. 

The total cost of setting up a Facebook event was $0. 

Book Live Music

It’s great for the atmosphere, and great for creating a buzz. Music attracts the attention of passers and gives people a reason to linger. 

Be sure to book an act that is family friendly and approachable and ask that the volume doesn’t detract from being able to call out take away orders!

The total cost of the live music was $400.

Personally Invite Neighbouring Businesses

We printed flyers to do this. We didn’t hand out as many as we should have due to time constraints but meeting the neighbouring businesses (who are potential regulars) and making a good first impression is super important to embedding yourself and your business into the community as quickly as possible. Build those relationships and help each other win.

The cost of the flyers was $40 (design and printing).  


Get great images from launch day. This will form part of what you send to PR later and can be used as content for your ongoing organic social content. 

The total cost was $600.

Google Reviews

Ask for Google reviews on launch day. Reviews are so important for your search credibility. They give your business social proof, but Google reviews also help your search rankings so that you are at the top of the results for relevant keywords (such as best coffee in your area). Reviews will help your business grow. 

Get a review tap card to make leaving reviews easier. We didn’t get tap cards for launch day, we got them as an afterthought. They would have made asking for reviews on launch day so much easier. 

Also, ask people to follow you on social media. 

It’s best to ask for this stuff on launch day when you’re creating goodwill by giving away good coffee and creating a vibe that gets people in the mood to share the love. 

Keep asking for reviews after launch day. The best time is when someone gives you great feedback on your coffee or food. “Thanks for the great feedback, could you do me a favour and leave that as a Google review? It helps us show people what we’re doing here and helps us become more visible on Google when people search for coffee.”

The total cost was $0 - but we suggest the tap cards which are about $50. 

Post Launch 

Marketing doesn’t stop when you are open. It’s an ongoing process. Here are activities you should do after you open to keep the momentum going so you can stay busy. 


Email local food and beverage publications and send them a press release and photos from the launch day. You can see one of our articles here. Never written a press release? You can find templates and tips online. If you have one publication in mind, be sure to read their articles and you can then tailor your press release to match their style. 

Contacting tourism media publications such as the Australian Tourism Data Warehouse is another way to increase your visibility and social proof. 

You can also reach out to local tourism media. We contacted a couple in the local area and did collaborator posts with them. They came in and filmed the content too. You can check out our posts here and here

Another tip, when a media publication, such as the Weekend Edition, writes an article, you can turn the article into content also. You can use social media platform features such as "green screen" and use a screen shot of the article to let your followers know about the article. 

The total cost was $0.

Post Launch

Organic Social 

Continue creating and posting amazing content. If you have great photos from the day, you will have a bank of content that you can use for months. Customers actively stay involved with your business on social media. Don't let it slip even as you get busy.

The total cost was $0.


We cannot recommend enough having a few activations planned prior to launching. Once business kicks off it can be tricky to strategise and plan an event. Venue activations are so key to keep building that community, drawing in new customers and providing you with marketing opportunities. These activations can be events or themed gatherings. They don’t have to be extensive or complex. They can be simple, such as new mum meet-ups, business owner networking, etc. What you decide upon will be dependent on your target customer cohorts. 

The total cost of activations will vary depending on the type of event or gathering you plan. 


If you opening a new business and want to create hype and buzz for the opening, an effective plan increases your chances of success. The three-phase plan outlined above helps you open your cafe with a line out the door and doesn’t break the budget.

If you want to go deeper on this plan to execute it more effectively, fill out the form below and let's schedule a time to chat about your cafe marketing plan.

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