Halloween is one of those holidays that people either love or hate. It certainly doesn’t have the same appeal as Christmas or Thanksgiving, so for many it’s just an excuse to stock up on 50% off candy November 1st. But as a Halloweenaholic, I’m here to tell you there are plenty of reasons to celebrate just a little bit harder than years passed. As one of the only holidays that isn’t built around the dinner table or backyard grill, Halloween is the perfect opportunity to create foodservice promotions to increase sales. Best of all, because it’s such a fun and creative holiday, you are limited only by your own imagination — which, if you’re still feeling limited, read on as I walk you through a couple of my personal favorite foodservice promotion ideas.
Chipotle offers an amazing example of how you can leverage Halloween not only to generate increase sales, new customers and social media props, but also a method of garnering some great good will. Every year since inception in 2008, Chipotle hosts a BOOrito promotion and the rules are simple: come in dressed up, get a burrito, bowl, salad or taco for $3, and proceeds from sales (up to $1 million) are donated to the Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, a nonprofit focused on food health and sustainability. The promotion has evolved over the years, but the results remain the same: Chipotle gets nationwide attention, increased revenue on an otherwise average day of the year, and can promote their good deed for the rest of the year. Who wouldn’t want that sort of press!?
In another stellar example of how to leverage Halloween to the bottom line’s advantage, look no further than IHOP. The pancake giant takes a different approach to Halloween and focuses on children’s sweet tooth. Last year they offered children the opportunity to decorate their own scary face pancakes using strawberries, whipped cream, oreos and candy corn for free. Of course the money maker in this equation is whatever the parent purchases for their own meal while their child eats free, and it’s genius because pancakes are extremely cheap to make! Additionally IHOP encouraged parents to snap a photo of their child’s creation and post it to Instagram for a $50 IHOP gift card giveaway. What’s the benefit of the giveaway? Social media exposure and good will, another win-win!
One last example of an amazing Halloween foodservice promotion idea, this time from the folks at Wendy’s. Every year, for as long as I can remember Wendy’s has done a special promotion throughout the month of October. Patrons can purchase a $1 coupon book that includes coupons for five free Frosty treats. The book proceeds go to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. The five free frostys have a tiny cost associated with them but the good will and subsequent sales increase certainly make up for that cost. Ideally people end up coming back with their coupon and get their frosty with a full meal purchase as well. A quick look through Wendys’ facebook also revealed that many people give these out instead of candy! How’s that for market penetration?!
There you have it. Three companies doing a Halloween foodservice promotion right. Certainly not every idea is right for everyone, but if your business got creative with a special Halloween offer, think of how much you could benefit. Whether the promotion is tied in with a fundraiser or just a fun way to celebrate the season, your patrons will be sure to love your Spooktacular foodservice promotion.