Halloween is lurking just around the corner. Conjure up some wicked good revenue and treat customers to Halloween-themed LTOs and promos with these creative tricks.
Halloween is here, and for restaurants, it’s one of the busiest days of the year. The hungry crowds will soon emerge in search of grub, and with the right promos, they will be happy to haunt your restaurant.
Everyone has been stuck inside for a year and a half, and they will be itching to break out in search of somewhere fun to celebrate. This is a chance to get in on the action and boost sales by hosting a Halloween night with special treats, music, games, and more.
Host a costume contest with prizes for best or most creative costume such as gift cards or free drinks. Maybe even create a prix fixe event where one price gets them a free drink, apps, and a dessert. Special tarot readings, fortune tellings, and Halloween trivia could all be great incentives to drive customers to your business and get them to stay and spend a little longer while spending more.
If an official spooky soiree isn’t in your bag of tricks this year, treat customers to a discounted app or free drink if they come dressed in a costume on Halloween. Get your staff in on the fun too to set the atmosphere by having them dress up as well.
As soon as fall hits, it’s sugar, pumpkin-spice, and everything nice. But on Halloween, guests are howling for scary good eats. Research shows that patrons crave pizza over anything on this night, so whipping up scary pies is a foolproof plan. Mozzarella cheese displayed atop a pizza in the shape of a mummy face, or in the shape of ghosts, serve as great LTOs. Since pumpkin is king every season, adding a pumpkin hummus or soup as an LTO and pumpkin risotto for an entrée special are all safe bets to please the crowds. Renaming foods already on the menu is another great way to celebrate without hurting your bottom line. Bat wings or stake frites, anyone? How about some human spare ribs?
Don’t forget to deck out that menu. Guests want an entire experience on this night so printing up some special menus with vintage illustrations, zombies, or other spooky creatures can really bring the party the life. Even renaming menu sections such as “Eerie Entrees”, “Bewitching Beginnings”, and “Deadly Desserts” will get guests into the spirit of the evening.
Pick Your Poison
Fright night would not be complete without some spooky spirits to go alongside LTOs and themed dishes. Bust out the cauldron, your potions, and spell-inducing poisons for a “Haunted Hour” cocktail menu that will have even the toughest customer shaking in their boots.
Consider going with a movie theme for your cocktail specials. “Red Rum,” “Mother’s Martini,” or “A Nightcap on Elm Street” are examples of fun choices that will quench the thirst of your patrons. The possibilities here are endless and one of the best opportunities to get customers to spend a little more. For the brunch crowd, add Bloody Mary’s, Zombie punch, and Mummy mimosas to the drink specials menu since Halloween lands on a Sunday this year.
And be sure to stock up on garnishes for the perfect finishing touch for your creepy concoctions. Stock up on cocktail cherries, olives, and pearl onions or lychees to make eyeballs. Have orange, red, and black sugar to rim cocktail glasses, plenty of grenadine to resemble blood, and even dry ice for that eerie smoke effect.
Halloween candy holds a special place in most people’s hearts. Play on the power of nostalgia by offering Halloween-themed desserts such as candy apples, candy-filled milkshakes, or a peanut butter cup pie. A Halloween candy and beer pairing could also be a fun way to encourage guests to come out and spend a little more. Pair Tootsie Rolls with a stout, Smarties with a kettle sour, or even Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups with a roasty porter.
Call Upon the Masses
No need to bust out the Ouija board to find out how many people will venture out this year. Use the magic of social media to lure guests into your restaurant. Spread the word over all your social channels and website. Give followers a peek behind the curtain of what’s in store with photos of your spine-chilling cocktails, LTOs, or other themed dishes on Instagram and Facebook in advance to entice them to come in. Hashtags are an excellent and easy trick to increase reach and engagement for restaurants on Halloween, so get creative here and encourage patrons to share their photos from a night out with you.
Deck out the outside of your restaurant, your windows, and inside with scary décor to lure in foot traffic. An eye-popping window display is all it takes sometimes to ignite the curiosity of those passing by. Inside, embrace people’s love of the selfie. Decorate one wall with lights, pumpkins, spooky phrases, or characters from popular Halloween movies. Provide props to guests and encourage them to use your designated hashtag when taking photos. It’s a low-budget marketing idea to get more young people into your place.
Whatever you do this year, don’t let the competition seal your fate. Prepare for the hungry masses, and you will satisfy the thirstiest of appetites, boost sales, and just might survive the night.