With fall in full swing and Halloween soon approaching, you’ll want to maintain seasonal footfall. Here are our top 6 ways to attract guests for restaurants on Halloween in 2021.
Are Restaurants on Halloween Busy?
The short answer is it depends on where you are in the world.
In the UK, for example, both bars and drink venues traditionally enjoy more popularity.
Nevertheless, one thing is certain: as one Google report has demonstrated, Halloween is steadily increasing its attractiveness to international customers.
Restaurants on Halloween should take advantage of this trend and prepare to make the most out of increased business in October.
1. Adapt to a Seasonal Menu
You’ll want to adapt your menu, to make sure it fits the season. So it’s time to incorporate selections appropriate for this time of year.
A seasonal menu, referring to fresher foods shortly after they’re harvested, is a cost-effective way to keep up with demand. Sourcing food locally, it is also a cleaner and more sustainable practice — especially if you’re working with farmers within a few miles of your venue.
For instance, root vegetables such as pumpkins and turnips are a touchstone of the Halloween season. The UK grows pumpkins in abundance — an estimated 15 million per year.
As many top-grade restaurants now transition to exclusively vegan menus, vegetarian food is currently trending in restaurants. News of world-renowned restaurants — such as Eleven Madison Park, New York, that have gone almost fully vegan — is representative of this.
So incorporating such vegetables is not something to underestimate. Starbucks, for example, launched their own pumpkin-based coffee in 2003 and within a decade, it became their top-selling drink.
Autumn’s selection of versatile vegetables can be put to multiple uses, from soups to salads. Some restaurants have even explored pumpkin-based pasta recipes, pumpkin risotto, and pies.
With an adapted menu, you’re guaranteed to bring in a seasonal eating crowd, those supporters of your restaurant’s sustainable practices. Otherwise, if not suited to your taste, you can always use Halloween vegetables for decoration!
Mini-pumpkins by Thad Zajdowicz via Flickr
2. Host an Event and Decorate
This is especially good if you would like to attract group bookings. Appeal to families who are looking for a big day out over the weekend; throw an event that children would find attractive.
One writer at the Financial Times on restaurant Halloween dining recently presented some good advice. He reminisced of all the times he spent Halloween at restaurants with his parents, highlighting fun food with seasonal designs — pizzas with cheese-shaped ghosts! — and the dark, cool-looking atmospheres that these restaurants set out to create.
This establishes a memorable experience for both groups and families, experiences — as shown in the above example — that usually stay with them for life. If anything this can successfully guarantee a return in the months ahead, allowing your customer base to grow, guest by guest.
Always check local government websites to authorise your events. Covid regulations may still be in place in your area — for example, for restaurants on Halloween in London, see their dedicated events page.
If hosting an event, make the most out of digital technologies for restaurants on Halloween. You can advertise your events on Google, for instance, using their free event markup feature. This strategically lets your event show up on the web when people search for, say, “restaurants on Halloween near me”.
3. Use Social Media
A quick social media campaign is never a scary task. In fact, it’s rather simple.
The advantages of making the most of social media are pretty straight-forward. It easily permits you to reach more people via the web — that is, your customers’ phone screens.
You could share the news with followers, letting them know everything about your restaurant’s upcoming Halloween arrangements. Get people excited with spine-tingling photographs of your decorated interiors.
We recently discussed the merits of social media coverage — essentially explaining that it’s a heightened form of word-of-mouth for the digital age. It’ll help you leave an impression on regional audiences, your potential guests, with no additional expenses required.
One great method is to encourage users to share their own Halloween experiences. Halloween-themed stories, for example, can get everyone engaged. Even if it’s not restaurant related, the effort will certainly get your name out there for all to see.
Lastly, you could ask followers to tag you in their online posts. Whenever your customers tag you in their posts, they inform friends and family of your services. Simply encourage visitors to do so in your account bio.
4. Get Crafty with Spooky Hashtags
Go a step further and incorporate a few hashtags into your social media presence.
These are a great way to increase reach and engagement for restaurants on Halloween. A nifty way to make your restaurant discoverable, a well-placed hashtag will increase your restaurant’s visibility online.
So that means they must be relevant but not overly precise. Striking a balance, restaurants on Halloween can use multiple hashtags as a tool to steady their business.
The best method is to use them in combination. Generic hashtags (e.g. #Halloween2021; #Spooktacular) alongside a hashtag of your own creation, will create a signpost for your restaurant, a shout-out (or scream!) for the public to find out what’s going on with your business right now.
Hashtag by Susanne Nilsson via Flickr
5. Provide Incentives for the Coming Months
In terms of business, all restaurateurs know that some months are better than others.
Some writers have observed that the autumn months tend to see restaurant crowds decline, but of course this varies from place to place.
The best way to counter such a problem is to encourage customers to come out post-Halloween rather than stay in.
Coupons, for instance, are a sure-fire way to encourage steady trade over the end-of-year months. Granted — this is a common strategy, and restaurants on Halloween enjoying the increase in footfall may not think introducing coupons is a very attractive idea.
However, when November arrives and customers prefer to stay indoors to stick out the winter season, exclusives will certainly go a long way. Hand out coupons to diners on Halloween night to encourage their return.
With this in mind, you’re presenting diners with a bargain rather than an indulgence — a key attraction when winter is in full swing and people are saving money for the holidays. So when Halloween is over, the rationale is this: filling seats is better than witnessing empty ones.
6. Offer Both Reservations and Walk-ins
With many people hitting the town this October, many guests will enter the places they happen to stumble across.
So if you’re a reservation-only restaurant, it’s probably a good idea to open up to foot traffic — even if it’s a temporary measure.
Carbonara App specialises in helping restaurants make the most out of their spaces, both small and large. We’ve designed our service to help restaurants on Halloween ensure that they make the most out of the holiday weekend, providing digital features for all venue types, from walk-in venues to reservation restaurants.
Discover how we can help restaurants on Halloween and beyond — for all seasons!