Halloween & Thanksgiving marketing ideas for 2016
by Michael Dagostino ~ takeoutprinting.com
Are you sick of the same old thing every year? Halloween night; you’re packed with trick or treaters just coming in for free candy and not ordering any food, then Thanksgiving weekend rolls around and you wind up being slow because everyone is eating leftovers for 3 days straight. This can all change if you follow my simple restaurant marketing ideas. This can be your best holiday season ever!
Halloween is anything but a dead night for the restaurant & pizza business, no pun intended. The scary celebration brings people out of their homes for trick or treating, parties, dances and spooky gatherings and everyone needs to eat & feed their family. But how do you extend this monstrous mélange of business into November to keep your momentum up for the holiday season? Well, here are a few ideas to keep the ball rolling...
Schools, Churches Clubs & Parties
You have to do a little local research and find out who is doing what in your area. Visit local schools, churches and clubs. Read your local newspaper, check bulletin boards at supermarkets and laundromats. Find out how you, the restaurant owner, can provide your food and services to better these organization's Halloween parties & Thanksgiving gatherings. 95 percent of the time, the party organizers visit the restaurants. Get to them first before they visit your competition! Place a large sign in your front window or purchase an outdoor banner announcing you can cater to any holiday function. If you work out special deals with these organizations it could bring you a lot of repeat business for future functions.
Hey Kids, Candy is no good for your teeth
In these days of health concerns and safety concerns, it seems less and less wise to give out candy to kids on Halloween night. As a parent, I know I am wary of any candy given by strangers and tend to throw most of it out. When I was a kid I remember getting a fast food coupon for free kid's French fries. That was better then the whole bag of candy! I knew my parents would take us for sodas and burgers. You might think it was from a famous chain but it was from a local diner who still does this today and I am still a customer for over 25 years. They print these coupons on orange paper and photo copy them to sell to their customers for fifty cents each in 10 packs. The more packs you buy, the cheaper the coupons are. You can tweak this idea to fit your business. Free kid's soda, free kid's dessert, free kid's pizza etc…. Keep in mind you are not going to make money on the coupons at first. When the children redeem them they are more likely to come in with paying parents and siblings. Here’s the deal, you have a start date of November 1st, now you are getting them back into your restaurant. You are also building your brand with the children, whom studies have shown have a large part in deciding where families eat out. You can also sell discounted coupons to your customers. $1 off coupons could sell for 75 or 50 cents ~ to be redeemed on any future purchase ~ your customers can give these out to their trick or treaters instead of candy.
A few of my customers give them out for free to every business in their area.
Who cares? ... This is a great way to get your name out in the public & still get new customers to patronize your restaurant!
Hold your own costume contest.
Right in your restaurant, on Halloween! You can give 1 grand prize for the best costume. Have all the participants fill out a small ½ page form so you can capture their information for future marketing; get their name, mailing address, etc. Everyone who signs up should receive a coupon or certificate (again, valid starting November 1st) towards a future purchase. Remember to take lots of pictures and make sure all your contestants and their friends know that you will display these on your website & Facebook page. Ask your customers to like your restaurants Facebook page & to invite their friends to like it also
Thanksgiving has long been a slow weekend for the restaurant business. It doesn’t have to be like that anymore. You can go a little off the ordinary and offer to cook pre-ordered sides for your customers Thanksgiving dinner. Start a food drive and market to your local store owners on the busiest shopping day of the year.... Black Friday
You cook the bird, we’ll do the sides
You have the time, the oven space and all your help is just standing around. Put them to work. The first week of November place a large sign in your front window (right after you take down those Halloween decorations!). Make a small flier or box topper and place it in every takeout order, doggie bag and check presenter. Offer what I call the “sides solution”. You can make ½ and full tray portions of the Thanksgiving sides of your choice. Pick the veggies, starches and/or desserts you would like to offer. Everything will be pre ordered so you will know how much food to order from your supplier. Also, make your cut off date the Monday before Thanksgiving so there is no last minute chaos. Have your customers pick up their order Wednesday afternoon so you can close early and enjoy your holiday with a pocket full of money. Don’t forget to make extra sides for your family to make it easier on the person who has to do all the cooking in your house!
Hold a food drive
Contact some local charities and hold a food drive. Any customer who donates a canned good or clothing item receives a coupon for a future restaurant purchase. Have the charity pick up the donations daily so it does not clutter your restaurant. This looks good for your business and builds good community awareness. Contact your local newspaper for some FREE publicity announcing what you are doing. You can also build a relationship with these charities for future catering jobs for their fundraising functions.
Day Before Thanksgiving
Many people who do not cook on a daily basis try to do it all the night before Thanksgiving. If you tried this task it is not easy. While you are home cooking for the masses, you can forget about dinner for yourself. I call this the “You’re doing it all special” or how about the “don’t go out of your bird while cooking your bird” special. Have special takeout only deals for this night; i.e. personal portions or family package deals for all those behind the hot stove. Also give them a coupon to use at a future date
Black Friday is the Busiest Shopping Day of the Year.
The day after Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day of the year in malls, stores and shops, but the restaurant business is always slow with people eating leftover turkey all weekend long. You have to go where the people are! Go to all your local malls and shops the first week of November and offer to cater lunch to their workers on this day. Explain to them if your workers are hungry it could effect your bottom line and they can give bad service. If the workers are well fed with a nice meal paid for by the boss they will sell,sell,sell! This will put them in a good mood and give them the energy to get through the long day. Also offer free coupons to the stores to give to their customers when they purchase an item at that particular store.
Don't Forget Small Business Saturday & Cyber Monday Have Become Huge Shopping Days Also
Have an open mind and try at least one of these ideas. If you make extra money that would be great, if you make a lot of money that would be awesome, if you make no money that would be your fault. Talkers talk and doers do, so be a doer! It is your job as an owner to market your own restaurant. Remember - a lost day in the restaurant business is a lost day. There is no way of making it up.
Good luck and Have a Spooky Halloween and a Happy Thanksgiving season