Halloween celebrations are catching on in South Africa. With spooky-themed dressing-up, trick-or-treating for sweets and any excuse for a party, it’s no wonder this American favourite is gathering momentum locally. So what can restaurants do to capitalise on the Halloween high jinks? From putting out scary snacks to hosting a ghastly get-together and making sure the decor is to die for, our restaurant ideas guarantee a fun evening for the whole family.

Re-vamp the menu

Making a few small changes to the menu can inject some energy into your restaurant fare. You can put in new items or add a twist to existing ones. Customers will definitely appreciate the novelty of the themed food although it will take some planning beforehand with your chef and ordering a few special items from your supplier. Alternatively, you can just give your standard specials some Halloween-themed names for the evening to give your restaurant a Halloween atmosphere without much effort.

Dreadful decorations

Decorating your restaurant with a Halloween theme will give your customers a novel and enjoyable experience, and it doesn’t have to be too intensive. Putting up some spider webs, Halloween-themed pictures and Jack o’Lantern-carved pumpkins will transform your restaurant. Small accents go a long way, so even investing in some reusable plastic table centrepieces and dimming the lights will create a mood. You can also have your staff join in the fun by dressing up or just putting on a witch’s hat or devil’s horns for the evening.

A scream of a party

Everyone likes a party and All Hallows’ Eve, with its costumes and food, lends itself to a good shindig. Even if you haven’t hosted a Halloween party before, you might find that making a day of it can help you bring in some profits. If you have the right venue and event, you can even consider a cover charge. Make sure your patrons enjoy a party experience with themed entertainment and costume contests – this will keep them coming back for more.

Pumpkin and potion promotion

If you’re feeling more ambitious, you can take your Halloween to the next level. Get some tickets from the local ghost tour and offer them as an incentive to customers who spend more than a certain amount at your restaurant. You can host a Murder Mystery dinner in your restaurant for a memorable evening or join forces with other restaurants for a Halloween pub crawl event.

Trick-or-treat time

It’s now more easy for printers to print onto items, so making some branded treats for the occasion is more affordable than you might think. Printing sweet wrappers with your restaurant’s logo to give to customers, or children who are trick-or-treating, is an opportunity to associate your brand with this popular activity. You can also consider branding small plastic trick-or-treat bags to give out in the run-up to Halloween.

Halloween-themed restaurant ideas are one way of making a great impression on your customers. But if you want to get in on the magic all year round, check out our e-book on secret ingredients for a successful restaurant.

Author : Rudi Badenhorst

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