How Halloween Bar Crawls Can Boost Restaurant Sales
Posted on October 27, 2010
During the holidays, restaurants will often participate by decorating their dining rooms or lobbies, incorporating a few unique items on the menu or even offering dinner specials to get customers in the door and in the spirit. For instance, fine dining restaurants commonly offer Valentine’s Day dinner specials to couples celebrating special occasions. Many restaurants stay open on Thanksgiving Day to cater to those who prefer a professionally-prepared dinner outside the home, or for those who are traveling. Rarely, however, do you see many Halloween decorations in restaurants, and not too many restaurants offer special Halloween discounts.
Last weekend, Denver, Colorado proved this rarity wrong by hosting one of the biggest, scariest Halloween events in the city—and it involved a lot of restaurants. Even riding public transportation downtown, one could tell something strange was going on. Men and women of all ages were grouped together, dressed in ragged shirts and torn pants, hair matted, and—this was the strangest part—covered in ghostly white make-up, scars, and oozing blood. Don’t be alarmed. From the amateur make-up jobs on many of them, and the lingering bright red hue, it was pretty clear that it was fake blood. Plus, most of them were laughing and having fun. I essentially found myself on a train with a bunch of social, excited zombies, and before long, I realized they weren’t out for brains. They were out for booze.
It was the 2010 Denver Zombie Crawl and I was caught in the thick of it. I had heard about this a few weeks beforehand, but I didn’t realize I would be able to see it in action. There were way more zombies about than I expected. The official website boasts a turnout of “at least 7,300 zombies,” apparently a Guinness world record. Although some may wonder what on earth the point is of having all these zombies roaming around the metropolis a week before Halloween, it’s interesting to see how many restaurants and bars actively participated in the antics.
During the crawl, zombies were able to pick up special wristbands, which gained them access to special deals at establishments all over the city. From discounted drinks to two-for-one slices of pizza, zombies could lay off the brains and enjoy some quality food and beverage for way less than they’d pay otherwise. I’m not sure how much cash zombies normally carry, but I bet it’s not much.
The restaurants get an interesting benefit from it, too. There are several links on the Denver Zombie Crawl website advertising which restaurants were participating in the event. No doubt, many restaurants got some pretty unforgettable exposure last Saturday night, too, when scores of zombies dragged themselves through the doors for a pint. Bars often participate in pub crawls to help raise funds for charities or non-profit organizations, but as far as I can tell, this one was just for fun (except for the wrist-bands, which were $5 to help offset costs to put on a pre-crawl parade and market the event). As such, the profits from the food and drink go straight back to the restaurants, and with 7,300 zombies coming out for a night on the town, I bet at least a few restaurants saw some extra sales.
If anyone else had a run-in with a zombie that night, or better yet, was at a drinking establishment when a group of them came in, let us know about it! But if not, don’t worry—if you are in the area, chances are you’ll encounter another zombie or two before All Hallow’s Eve.