With Halloween approaching and COVID-19 lingering, many parents are wondering how to make this year’s festivities as ‘normal’ as possible. Operators are no different. With most restaurants still not operating at full capacity and contact with consumers is limited, it can put a damper on the usually fun time of year. If you’re longing to create that special touch point with your audience but not sure how to, we created a list of ideas for you to execute. Whether you’re limited to drive-thru only or allow socially distanced dine-in eating, there’s sure to be something for every operation.
1. DRESS UP FOR A DISCOUNT
Chick-fil-A has successfully demonstrated time and time again that no matter the age, people are willing to dress up as a cow for a free chicken sandwich. Whether you keep it simple with a spotted shirt and a pair of ears or go full out in a cow-themed onesie, Chick-fil-A will reward you for your participation. So why not apply the same idea for Halloween?
All you have to do is provide an incentive of some sort—could be a free item, a gift card, a discount or even a BOGO. To sweeten the deal, and to encourage consumers to return, provide a coupon they can utilize at a later date!
2. STRIKE A SPOOKY POSE
When I worked at Firehouse Subs, the franchisee would hold a competition between her stores every October. Our goal was to create a Halloween-themed display promoting our catering business. Personally it was fun for me, but it was also effective at catching people’s attention.
Start your own competition using posable skeletons. Each employee receives a skeleton and is tasked with decorating and posing them throughout the store. Not only will it help build morale, but it’s an opportunity to engage your consumers by having them ‘cast their vote’ in store for the best skeleton.
Take it a step further and turn it into a giveaway for consumers. Participants must take a photo with their favorite skeleton, post it to their story and tag you (the operator) in it as a submission for a drawing. Not only would it increase your social media activity and following, but it could increase your exposure to other audiences who viewed their friend’s or family’s profiles.
3. CASHIER CANDY CHUTE
By now you’ve probably heard someone mention they’re building a candy chute for trick-or-treaters this year. It’s the perfect solution for those who want to pass out candy but still follow social distancing guidelines.
If dine-in is an option, adding a candy chute to your cashier counter could be a responsible, and fun, substitute for leaving out a bowl of candy. It’s affordable and easy to assemble using PVC pipe and duct tape.
4. SWEET SURPRISE
Remember as a kid when you’d go to the bank with your mom and the teller would sneak a lollipop into the envelope for you? It’s been years since that’s happened to me, but the memory of it still plays in my head.
If you’re limited to drive-thru, curbside pick-up and delivery, consider adding a sweet treat to each order. Not only is it a nice surprise for consumers but it’ll leave a positive impression of you trying to do something special even when given your restrictions.
5. LIMITED-TIME-ONLY PACKAGING
If you’re looking to do something a little more bold, consider changing your packaging temporarily. Think Starbucks and their holiday cup. Every year Starbucks comes out with a winter-themed cup that sends consumers into a frenzy and is pictured all over social media.
Apply the same method to your ordinary brown or white paper bag—turn it bright orange for a month! Most organizations avoid using bright orange in their branding because it’s an overwhelming color, but as an LTO it makes perfect sense. Since it’s rarely seen or used it’ll capture the consumer’s eye and turns a simple paper bag into an Instagramable and Snapchat-worthy moment. Which, by the way, could increase your exposure. Consumers who have never been to your store will want to visit for the opportunity to post to social media.
So don’t let COVID stop you from having a little fun this Halloween. 2020 in all has played enough tricks on us—it’s time we have treat. No matter your operation or limitations, there’s always a way to make the customer experience special.