If you want to make sure that you have a good soft opening for your establishment before having your grand opening, it might be useful to do more than one soft opening in order to get things sorted out before opening your restaurant, food truck, or food trailer. While there is no universally recognized way to do multiple soft openings, here is one method towards a multiple soft-opening approach.
Use an alpha soft opening to sort out any major problems.
In software development, developing software goes out on the following: Alpha, beta, release candidate, and then finally release.
In this case, use your “alpha” soft opening to get your major problems out-of-the-way. Maybe you don’t have enough wait staff, or one of your big menu items aren’t being well-received. Either way, use your first opening to make sure all the obvious problems that would give people a reason to hate your place are taken care of.
Use a beta soft opening (s) and start sorting the smaller problems.
Now that you got the bigger problems out-of-the-way, it’s time to take care of the smaller problems in your place, and possibly improve the solutions you came up with in between your “alpha” soft opening and your “beta” soft opening.
Regardless, you, your staff, and your establishment should be a LOT more comfortable by this stage, but still have a few kinks to sort out.
If you’re still feeling uncertain, do a release candidate soft opening.
While most people will do a soft opening in the equivalent of a “release candidate” stage, you could still do a release candidate stage as a rehearsal stage. In other words, you could do one last soft opening and treat it such as a “dress rehearsal” so your establishment is ready for opening night.
Wouldn’t multiple soft opening hurt than help?
Not unless your series of soft openings have been a failure. In any case, you should limit your marketing potential during soft openings anyway. Only invite people you trust or do a targeted invitation system so that word of your place’s mistakes aren’t so widespread that nobody’s visiting your place at all.