Making dough with Diane: 7 ways to scare up Halloween business

Diane Chiasson
August 25, 2010
By
Halloween is around the corner, so it’s time to step up your marketing and promotions to scare up some extra business for your pizza operation. Here are seven savvy marketing ideas for making this Halloween a fun, festive and profitable one.
 
Create spooky and fun displays
Halloween is a big holiday and people happily fall prey to all the gimmicks they can get. To draw in extra customers (especially kids) turn your pizza operation into a haunted house. Visit your local Halloween store and purchase inexpensive decorations, or invest in more high-end, mechanical decorations that you can use year after year. Kids will be begging their parents to visit your operation over and over again. Remember, the creepier your store, the better your chances of keeping your young customers returning and of boosting sales.
 
Carve pumpkins
If spending hundreds of dollars on decorations isn’t in your budget this year, consider carving a bunch of pumpkins to display all over the store. If you don’t enjoy carving pumpkins, or are not very artistic, hold a pumpkin-carving contest. Have customers come in to carve a pumpkin to receive a free slice of pizza. The winning pumpkin could receive a whole pizza. You could create a whole pumpkin gallery to attract interest from passing traffic and your regular customers.
 
Dress up in costumes and host a parade
Get into the spirit of the holidays and have your staff dress up in costumes for work. Hold a costume parade a few days before Halloween. Invite all the kids in your neighbourhood to come in the Saturday or Sunday before Halloween and march them around the block while holding some signs advertising your pizza operation. Give the kids a small slice of pizza and a bag of candy for participating. Take photos and post them in your store. A parade gives children another opportunity to wear their costumes. Parents will appreciate seeing the costumes getting an extra day of use after spending a small fortune on them.
 
Give out candy
Kids are crazy for candy and will want to go where they get it. Hold a special promotion to include bags of candy with every pizza order, or set up a big candy bin for kids to help themselves when they leave your restaurant.
 
Hold a special pizza promo for Halloween night
Halloween is a big night for pizza operators as most families are holding parties or busy getting their children ready for trick-or-treating. Make sure that you send out direct mail advertising a great Halloween special for your pizza for “one night only.” Include some fun items such as rubber masks, fake teeth, rubber spiders or loot bags.
 
Create a pumpkin pizza
Use your imagination to create a pizza that looks like a jack-o-lantern. Use orange cheddar cheese to create the orange hue, and decorate with black olives and green peppers. Or use slices of roast pumpkin to recreate the look on the pizza. Try the pizza first to make sure it tastes good!
 
Get your staff involved
People love holidays because they are fun. In order to create the right ambience and atmosphere in your establishment, all of your staff must be involved. Get your staff to dress up, crank up the music and boost enthusiasm all around. If your staff is having a good time, it will rub off on your customers. And if your customers are having a good time, they will more than likely come back for more.
Up the ante this Halloween with some extra haunting to scare up a better bottom line!
 

Diane Chiasson, FCSI, president of Chiasson Consultants Inc., has been helping restaurant, foodservice, hospitality and retail operators increase sales for over 25 years. She is recognized as one of the best restaurant consultants in Toronto. Her company provides innovative and revenue-increasing foodservice and retail merchandising programs, interior design, branding, menu engineering, marketing and promotional campaigns, and much more. Contact her at 416-926-1338, toll-free at 1-888-926-6655 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , or visit www.chiassonconsultants.com .

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