Panic stations! Halloween is but days away and you’ve done absolutely nothing marketing-wise for your restaurant that could even remotely be described as ‘spooky’.
Don’t worry. There’s still time. In fact, this time of the year is all about surprising people and catching them off guard, so a bit of last minute promotion isn’t a bad thing at all.
In the UK, Halloween used to be the only day of the year when it was acceptable for kids to knock on their neighbours’ doors and ask for money or some form of sugar-based treat while dressed as Frankenstein. Now, it’s rapidly becoming the big event Americans have long celebrated.
There are some fascinating statistics relating to Halloween. For example, did you know that 55% of UK shoppers are now intent on buying fancy dress costumes at this time of they year? For a traditionally reserved nation, that’s quite a stat. But perhaps of more interest to restaurant owners will be the amount UK residents are willing to spend come the end of October. In 2015 alone, it was predicted that £300 million would exchange hands on Halloween-related stuff.
You deserve a piece of that pie, which is why we’ve got some last-minute marketing ideas you can put into practice this Halloween.
1. Decorate the restaurant
Who says you need to do anything proactive at this time of year? The relatively simple process of decorating your restaurant in order to make it Halloween-themed will get people talking just as much as email-based marketing campaigns.
Go mad; spray the place with fake cobwebs, line every surface with pumpkins containing candles and encourage staff to don their best fancy dress costumes. It may all sound rather tacky, but tacky sometimes works – particularly during annual events that are inherently silly.
2. Spookify your menu
Why not give your menu a little tweak for Halloween? There are plenty of pumpkin-inspired recipes you can choose from and the simple practice of introducing a dab of wordplay into your regular menu (i.e. ‘Are you brave enough to try our Devilishly Spicy Chilli?’) will work wonders.
3. Run a promotion
Check out this Halloween promotion from Carrabba’s:
It’s simple, requires only a minor bit of design flair and the offer should be tempting enough to draw in the target audience.
Promotions have long been a staple in the restaurant industry for one very good reason: they work. At Halloween, you have the perfect opportunity to come up with something that is of low-cost to your business but of high value – and relevancy – to your diners.
In other words, you don’t have to give too much away!
4. Wish your diners a Happy Halloween
This still feels rather alien in the UK, but the more Americanised our culture becomes, the more we can take advantage of the traditions that make their way across the Atlantic.
By sending out a simple email campaign and companion social media effort that wishes your past and potential diners a ‘Happy Halloween’, you’ll also get the chance to push the promotion devised in tip 3 and place your business front and centre within their minds.
Who knows – you may catch certain people just as they’re wondering how to escape the inevitable barrage of trick-or-treaters on the night itself…
There you have it – four Halloween marketing ideas for your restaurant. Each one simple, easy to implement and low-cost. Recycle them every year, if you like, and don’t worry if it turns into another last minute campaign next time; sometimes, the best promotional ideas arrive very late in the day.