Spooky season is here. Skeletons are adorning yards, costumes are being planned, and pumpkin spice everything is taking over menus. It’s time for your restaurant to follow suit and plan, promote, then analyze the results of your Halloween festivities. Halloween drinks and decorations are Instagramable incentives sure to lure in your regulars as well as attract new patrons. In addition, restaurants with seasonal menus see 26% more orders! Plus we’re going to walk you through it all, from determining your offer, to promoting on social media, to analyzing the success of your event by evaluating your Sestra data.
Planning Your Halloween Offer
Your restaurant has infinite options for getting guests excited to celebrate Halloween at your venue. Determine when you’re going to kick off your promos as well as what you’re going to offer and how you’re going to decorate.
Establish Your Timeline
Will your restaurant celebrate the day of Halloween or all month long? A one day event means exclusivity while month-long food and beverage specials mean a bigger window to sell. Either way, it’s time to plan and launch your brilliant and spooky ideas.
Offer Speciality Drinks
Create custom cocktails or promote seasonal beer and wine. Save on cost, labor, and time by dispensing your beverages on tap. Specialty Halloween drinks and festivities are sure to draw a crowd so you want your service to be as seamless as possible. For cocktails specifically, serving from kegs can save several minutes per beverage and produces a consistent cocktail every time. Seasonal glassware and garnishes are extra special touches that add to the customer experience.
Decorate Your Restaurant
People love Halloween and you may be surprised at the buy-in you get from staff. You could even turn decorating into a contest- divide your staff into teams and have each team decorate a section of the restaurant. Either choose the winners yourself or have your guests vote. Award the winning team food and drinks from the restaurant, a day off of their choice, or something else you agree on ahead of time.
Whether you do it yourself, hire a team, or get your staff involved, decorating can be as generic as pumpkins and skeletons or hit on a more specific theme like:
Harry Potter (decorate your restaurant according to the different Hogwarts houses), Beetlejuice (just don’t say his name three times), or spooky classics like Dracula and Frankenstein’s monster.
Your options are as plentiful as your imagination! Whatever your theme, the only way people will be excited about it is if they know about it…
Promote Your Halloween Festivities
Update Your Menu
Update your online menu to promote your beverage specials and/or upcoming event. Take it one step further by updating the QR code placards, encouraging guests to scan to learn more about your Halloween drinks and festivities. If you haven’t already implemented QR codes and online menus at your restaurant, read Bring Your Own Device in the Food and Beverage Industry for tips to make your guests’ technology go further.
If you’re going to cap the headcount for your event, use a platform like Eventbrite to gather RSVPs. You can even connect Eventbrite with your Facebook page, allowing guests to RSVP through either platform without receiving duplicates.
With over 2.8 BILLION active users, Facebook is an accessible platform for growing brand awareness, sharing specials and events, and eliciting RSVPs. Wherever your business has an online presence, use those platforms to promote your Halloween festivities. Note that each social media platform has different features and best practices and, while you don’t want to overwhelm your followers by posting too much, not every follower is going to see every post you publish. Promote your specials at least once a week and be sure to repost user generated content. How can you get your guests to post? While your Instagrammable drinks and decorations will have your guests snapping photos, a branded hashtag can help you track their posts related to your Halloween promos.
Choose a branded hashtag specific to your Halloween festivities. Use this hashtag to promote your specials and encourage your guests to use the hashtag when posting their own photos. Why can’t you just ask guests to tag your business? You definitely can and should ask guests to tag your business when they post! A hashtag specific to your Halloween promos allows you to easily find and quantify your user generated content revolving around your event. The user generated content can help when measuring the success of your promotions. While sales are going to be the biggest determinant of success, user generated content means brand awareness beyond your own sphere of influence.
Measure Your Success
Sestra’s Smart Dispensing platform uses IoT technology to connect your otherwise siloed data. Each beverage and serving size can be tracked, allowing you to ensure that pours are aligned with the sales that were actually rang in. Compare your typical sales with the sales from the dates of your promos as well as the sales of specialty drinks vs. your typical menu throughout the dates of your promos. Our customers use their Sestra data to determine what beverages are bringing in the highest ROI and switch out offerings that aren’t as popular. We also help venues create promotions to rotate inventory more effectively and predict ordering needs to capitalize on seasonal trends.
Whether you celebrate spooky season with drink specials or go all out with decorations, Halloween promotions at your restaurant help welcome both regulars and new customers to your venue. And don’t stop at Halloween- use these tips to implement any seasonal specials or holiday promotions. If you don’t already have Smart Dispensing implemented at your restaurant, contact us today to learn how we can connect your technology and deliver actionable data. Already working with Sestra? Contact your customer care representative to help you set up your customer portal and analyze your seasonal trends.