October is finally here, which means that the streets have become a rather frightful sight! Skeletons, cobwebs, and bats have begun to bespeckle neighborhoods, and pretty soon you will be visited by all manner of ghosts and ghouls. These signs can only mean one thing: Halloween is here! To make the season more spooktacular for your restaurant, incorporating one—or multiple—Halloween-themed promotions not only will make things festive, but it will also generate buzz for your business.
Here are five fun Halloween restaurant promotions and activities you can use to attract customers in 2019.
Host a Costume Contest
You can’t have Halloween without costumes, so celebrate the season by hosting a costume contest. This promotion will take a bit of planning, as you will need to figure out:
- When will you host the costume contest?
- What prize(s) will be awarded?
- Who will win a prize?
Determining when you should host your costume contest is dependent on your clientele, and should be planned accordingly. If your restaurant is family-friendly, consider hosting the contest on a Saturday or Sunday during the early afternoon so that kids can attend as well; if you cater more to an adult clientele, consider hosting it during a weeknight or weekend evening.
As far as prizes go and who should win them, award goodies to the scariest, funniest, best group, and best-in-show costumes. This allows for creativity from your customers, and generates a fun competitive atmosphere during the contest. For the prizes themselves, consider awarding winners gift cards or vouchers to your restaurant that they can use during their next visit. You could also partner with other local businesses for additional prizes, or give away branded swag like t-shirts or mugs.
And make sure you and your patrons post about the costume contest on social media (more on that later)!
Treat Customers to Limited-Time Offers
Whether you have sales all October long, or just on Halloween night, providing your customers limited-time offers is a great way to scare up some business.
What sorts of promotions can you offer during Halloween season? Consider fun promotions like:
- Complimentary trick-or-treat candy
- A discount for Halloween costumes or apparel (Example: “Kids eat free if they’re in costume.”)
- Perks for sharing a Halloween-themed food item on social media
- Specials on Halloween-themed food items
No matter which sales promotion you choose, make sure you take your customers into consideration, and gauge what will be a real treat for them.
Throw a Halloween Bash
Perfect for all your patrons, throwing your own monster mash is sure to be a graveyard smash. This is also a great way to incorporate your Halloween costume contest, and you can easily promote the event in your business, on your website, and on social media.
Hosting a Halloween party is also perfect for adult clientele, since adults are always looking for a way to celebrate the holiday. If your usual customers are mostly mature, consider establishing yourself as a Halloween hotspot this year. And don’t forget the decorations!
Conjure Up Halloween-Themed Food
Put a spooky spin on some top menu items as a festive flair this Halloween. Additionally, you can serve up some limited-time only dishes to entice customers. These can be made or modified with already in-stock ingredients, or you can incorporate a unique food item to make it extra special. An easy way to do so is to incorporate a seasonal flavor or staple fall dish. What else says “Happy Halloween” like a stuffed bell pepper dressed as a jack-o-lantern?
If you serve handcrafted cocktails or specialty beers, make some devilishly delightful Halloween-themed drinks to sell during October, or include seasonal brews into your menu as a way to switch things up. You can evoke creepy graveyard fog with dry ice, create a monstrously macabre concoction with blood red ingredients, or conjure a few special spirits for a unique and palate-pleasing experience.
No matter what you do this Halloween season, remember to share on social media and encourage your patrons to share all month long. Rolling out a special Halloween night menu? Give a sneak peek on your Instagram. Hosting that party and costume contest? Create an event and make sure your guests use a special themed hashtag during the party.
Social media is also an excellent way to promote your limited-time specials and offers to generate hype. You can even go batty with a sponsored ad on Facebook and Instagram, and geo-target customers within an established radius so they can see what frightful fun you have in store.
If you’re ready to scare up some tricks or treats for your customers this Halloween, then try out these promotional tips during Spooky Season. And if your kitchen seems to be haunted, Parts Town has you covered with the most in-stock parts on the planet should you need to repair your equipment.