Outside Insights | October 2016

4 Tips to Turn Your Restaurant Into a Halloween Destination

Want to get people in your restaurant’s seats this Halloween? Then it’s time to get creative
Decorating the restaurant is a sure-fire way to attract guests on Halloween. thinkstock

Come Monday night, friends, family, and parents everywhere will be wondering where they should take their costumed-clan for this year’s Halloween festivities. Groups of friends will be out looking for a quick bite before they embark on a party-hopping extravaganza for the cat-eared masses. And restaurants and bars should be eagerly awaiting everyone’s arrival.

Want to get people off their feet and in your restaurant’s seats this Halloween? Then it’s time to get creative—and fast. Here are some ideas to get your spook, silly and fun going on this Hallow’s eve. 

Decorate

This one may seem like a no-brainer, so if you’re not into the decorations, perhaps you should reconsider. Get your team involved and they’ll have a blast getting tangled in the cobwebs pre-shift. Provide the decorations (think dripping candles and pumpkins) and let them go to town. Dimming the lights also adds a layer of spook that’s mood-setting (and cost-effective). Turn up the spook with some music and your ambiance will have everyone in a haunting mood. It isn’t really Halloween until we’ve overplayed Monster Mash a few dozen times.

Dress Up

If you’re running low on time and your team seems a little on edge for not getting his or her shift covered, encourage everyone to dress up. If they share their costume on social media with a “We’re having so much fun, come visit!” message, send a little something their way. A $10 Starbucks gift card can even be enough incentive for everyone to promote the fun. Remember, your workforce is tech-savvy and can reach a wide audience. One Twitter post has the potential to bring in lots of guests—new guests.

Specials

Drink specials are a sure-fire way to get your guests’ attention and traffic through your doors. No need to go all out—simply changing your Monday night special to a more ghoulish name can garner results. For example, if Monday you typically have a $5 house margarita, switch it up to: Witches Brew, and stick a spider ring on the edge of the glass. Make sure to promote your offer through your social media networks.

Gimmicks

Chipotle notoriously hosts a Halloween fundraiser every year, encouraging guests to visit any Chipotle in costume and get a food offering at a massive discount. This year, up to $1,000,000 of the proceeds will go directly to the Chipotle Cultivate foundation. If your restaurant doesn’t currently have a go-to foundation check out your local charities that would be willing to help you promote the offer and your restaurant in exchange for donations. You can get great media coverage in the process.

Any of these sound like too much of an investment? Create your own face-in-a-hole board. Here’s our two-step approach:

  • Paint ghosts and goblins on the front
  • Post a sign for participants to post on social, tag your location
  • Boom. You’re festive.
 
Laura Price is the manager of the content team at HotSchedules. HotSchedules provides mobile, cloud-based technology for the restaurant, retail, and hospitality industries. The company is committed to serving those who serve others through a comprehensive suite of solutions that make working for and in restaurants–and beyond–more rewarding and efficient. The product suite solves the challenges associated with recruiting, training, scheduling and labor management, back office operations, and communications. HotSchedules is proud to serve more than 2 million users in over 130,000 locations across 26 countries.

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