With Halloween approaching, it is hard to say who is more excited: kids eager to go trick-or-treating or businesses looking to explore frighteningly creative marketing strategies. Halloween, the night when kids rake-in gobs of free candy, is evolving into an occasion when parents also can walk-off with something equally enticing: free meals for the kids.
A growing parade of restaurant chains – such as Olive Garden, IHop and Krispy Kreme – will offer free eats around Halloween in order to lure traffic during a notoriousy slow time. “Restaurants are like ghost towns on Halloween,” says Derek Farley, a restaurant industry PR guru. “Much like Labor Day and July 4th, Halloween is a holiday that’s not very restaurant-friendly”, he says. Halloween evening is a time when most families eat at home. But in an attempt to take advantage of the huge consumer spending for Halloween—almost $6 billion, according to the National Retail Federation—other restaurants have seized the opportunity to galvanize their customer base.
Some ideas swirling around this Halloween are free kids meal with coupon, free kids pancakes and even a cheaper meal or free snack with a costume. And upping the ante, Chipotle will offer its annual “Boorito” promo. All customers dressed in costumes get a $3 burrito, bowl, salad, or order of tacos. Proceeds of up to $1 million will go to charity. Over the past three years, the program has raised more than $3 million for The Chipotle Cultivate Foundation, says Mark Crumpacker, chief marketing officer.
Whether it’s costume contests, zombies or commercials, Halloween has always been a prime holiday for marketers. Let us know what you think and as always stay #TopRight!
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