Go black & orange: Decorate your restaurant in black and orange. Visit a dollar store for inexpensive items you can use to put some Halloween flair around. If you have a window display, you can go all-out creative. Be sure to find cute centerpieces or table decoration—they can be as simple as pumpkin-colored candles. Small pumpkins and gourds make great centerpieces and last a long time.
Host a party: Halloween parties are fun. Host a costume party or a pumpkin carving or pumpkin decorating party. If you run a kid-friendly place, have a coloring contest. Bring in a face painter or a balloon artist. Hire a local storyteller or fortune teller to tell stories or read palms in your lobby or waiting area.
Wear costumes: You and your staff can dress up for Halloween, too. How cool would it be if your server is a Mummy, a Pirate, a Vampire or a Princess even? Send a couple of your staff members out on sales calls to local businesses the week before Halloween inviting them to your party or to sample a special Halloween menu. Have the chef make Halloween treats for them to take along on the calls.
Create a special menu: Special menus are fun. Usually, you can take your regular menu and spice up the names of your dishes to give them Halloween flair. Odds are your chef can come up with some great ideas, too.
--Any red soup (tomato, beet, etc) can be Vampire’s Blood
--Chicken fingers can be Zombie Fingers
--Spaghetti can be Slithering Snakes
--Mac-n-Cheese can be Brains-in-Cheese
--Buffalo Wings can be Bat Wings
--Olives can be Eyeballs
--If you serve pancakes, draw spider legs around them with chocolate and call them Spider Cakes.
--Re-naming works for drinks, too. You can call anything Spider Juice, Monster Juice, etc.
It takes just a few minutes to rename some of your dishes and create a flyer-menu on orange paper for Halloween.
Partner up Partnering with a fellow business can be a win-win for both of you. Partner with a costume shop and give away each other’s coupons. You could give all your diners discount costume rental coupons and they could give their customers coupons for a free appetizer with dinner purchase.
You can do similar deals with party supply stores, local Haunted Houses or Corn Mazes, "haunted" or paranormal tour companies, even candy stores or ice-cream shops.
Alternately, you can promote your favorite non-profit. Perhaps you give them a dollar for every person who comes in on Halloween, or for every purchase of a special menu item (maybe a special dessert or drink, or even a special pre-fixe menu.)
Pump up the PR Send a press release to the local media as well as to your partners telling them about whatever you are doing for Halloween. Post notices on your website and your Facebook pages, Tweet about it and send an email blast to your mailing list. You can also pre-sell your events by having flyers on your tables a couple of weeks in advance.
Halloween can be a great business-building opportunity. Just unleash your creativity monster and try these Halloween marketing tips for restaurants to help you grow some ghoulishly-good revenues.