Halloween is a great opportunity to boost sales at your restaurant and have some fun with your staff. This year Halloween falls on a Sunday, making it perfect for all-day family celebrations at your restaurant. Use the weeks leading up to Halloween to take advantage of the festive spirit.
We’ve put together the top menu suggestions, decorations, activities and marketing ideas that will make your restaurant the ghouliest in the neighborhood and draw hoards of trick-or-eaters.
Halloween Restaurant Decorations
Decorating in the ghostly spirit is a wonderful way to broadcast that diners are in for a freakishly fun Halloween at your restaurant.
You can’t go wrong with a classic display of pumpkins, cobwebs, ghosts and broomsticks around the entrance and at strategic places around the restaurant.
If you’re up for going the extra mile, set a theme or a storyline. Zombie invasion, pumpkin mutants, Frankenstein reborn or the spider abyss can all become a theme.
What about some free publicity? make your restaurant Instagram ready by decorating the area surrounding the entrance to your restaurant, while being mindful not to disturb the sidewalk or create litter.
According to one study, 43% of all restaurant customers relate the overall dining experience to the restaurant value. Add unique lighting outdoors and you’re sure to draw a lot more interest, as well as turn halloween-loving passersby to social media promoters.
Create a Spookishly Healthy Menu with Cheetah
Find a fun way to incorporate Halloween into the menu. Using a digital menu makes this much easier.
Promoting special dishes and menus is well worth the effort. They are great for boosting profit margins as diners tend to purchase more of them and accept slightly higher prices. Toy around with a “hidden halloween menu” that can only be found through a QR menu hidden underneath the table or chairs.
Your chef and mixologist will surely have their take on how fall staples like pumpkin, oranges, cinnamon and apples can create wonderful dishes and cocktails. Challenge them with unconventional ingredients that can be used for marketing too. How about ‘The Vampire Combo’ of bloody marys and a garlic based pasta? Name the menu items to fit your theme.
The trick-or-treat spirit draws us instinctively to sweets and food-coloring, but Halloween doesn’t have to be followed by a trip to the dentist. Quality, locally sourced food and even vegan options can be used smartly to cater to the more environmentally aware and health oriented customers, not to mention parents.
This Halloween, Cheetah has you covered with a wide variety of vegan and plant based alternatives that are both high-quality and healthy.
Fun Activity Ideas for the Whole Family
We remember a time when restaurants offered more than just food, it was a whole experience. Especially if you are understaffed, having a few activities prepared can be a great way to pass the time until the food arrives. Guests won’t notice the delay and it will create a memorable experience.
Here are some ideas:
- Young Kids: Color-in cartoons of critter infested foods and a Zombie maze.
- Adolescent and Parents: Prize winning truth-or-treat guessing game, the more difficult you make it the more interest it will get. Google is your friend here, try this overview of the historic roots of Halloween for some inspiring facts.
- For the whole Family: Haunted corner or treasure hunt.
Halloween Merchandise to Boost Restaurant Revenues
Leverage the Halloween spirit to boost merchandise sales. Some items to create could be:
- Halloween masks and hats
- Trick-or-treat buckets with your restaurant logo / web on
- Mugs with a spider hidden at the bottom
- Spooky cooking aprons
Halloween Promotions and Contests
These promotional ideas will drive more customers through the door during the weeks leading up to Halloween.
- Coupons – Add a Halloween Coupon to your takeout and delivery packages! Let them know you’re having a Halloween Special.
- Trick-or-treat – Offer a free treat, like your NEW Frankenstein Fudge, if guests can make your host laugh.
- Spooky Sunday Costume Contest – Run a contest on the day. All kids that come in to eat dressed up can get their picture taken. Whether raffled or judged by the staff, winners can get a treat, family meal or whatever you see fit. Remember to get written consent from parents if you plan to post the photos.
Post Everything on Social Media
Halloween is a very visual celebration. Capitalize on everything you create from colorful Halloween menu items to the family activities by posting and promoting on your social media profiles. Just a few minutes in the weeks ahead will go a long way to bringing in a few more tables.
- Post photos of your decorations and staff in costume.
- Take photos of your Halloween Specials and say a few rhymed words about them. Invite guests to try them out. This goes for food and drinks alike.
- Post about your promotions and contests.
- For every activity and photo-opp you create, find a way to make your customers post it on social media and tag you. For example, offer a free shot of your ‘Rotten Apple Punch’ or ‘Mulled Zombie Brain’ for every tag, follow or share.
- Don’t forget to spend 5-10 minutes every couple of days responding to comments from your followers.
For inspiration, check out the decorations at Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack or the Barby Mutilation Night hosted at Doc’s Clock. Not sure what to do with sliced up desserts? Pie Society’s FrankenPie is one creative way to go at it.