It seems for the industry that all the tricks that could have been played this year, have already been played. So could Halloween be the treat that outlets need to help encourage business as usual?
Despite the industry still operating under an element of uncertainty, with a fifth of all adults and a third of 18-24 year olds traditionally heading out of home in honour of the spooky celebration, it remains a prime opportunity for outlets. As a result, this year more than ever, Halloween celebrations will offer consumers an element of escapism, and with opportunities to really let their hair down at an all-time low, expectations for a bigger and better Halloween events will be at an all-time high!
So, as the nation continues its love affair with the spooky occasion and looks for reasons to dress up, come together and have a bit of good old fashioned fun, a scattering of spooky decorations behind the bar and a few cobwebs at the window will no longer inspire bored and expectant consumers.
Lee Hyde, Beverage Innovation Manager at MONIN UK, shares his top five tips and favourite ghoulish recipes to help make the most of Halloween this year:
- The Theatre – It is likely that this year that where possible the fear factor will need to be inferred rather than physical, so atmosphere and music will be increasing important! But, consumers will still want to enjoy an element of theatre. So, think eco-friendly, single use decorations and or edible garnishes to help bring the theme to life! Single use or wipeable menus can also help communicate the Halloween theme, both with inspiring drinks names and the creative look and feel.
Drinks can also play a leading role here, think Death By Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream and served with an extra helping of chocolate shavings, or The Poison Apple Cocktail, with charcoal powder and an apple slice garnish. Incorporate flavours already available on the back bar to minimize wastage, but remember MONIN Pumpkin Spice syrup, MONIN Grenadine syrup and MONIN Blackcurrant syrup are great flavours and colours to carry through the Halloween theme.
- Get everyone involved – While it’s possible that decorations may need be kept to a minimum for hygiene reasons, it doesn’t mean outlets can’t enter into the Halloween spirit. Encourage staff to dress up to help make the consumer experience as immersive as possible this year more than ever. It’s also important that staff have tried and tested all the drinks on Halloween specials menus to ensure that they are able to help customers identify the drink that’s mostly likely to hit the spot.
- The element of surprise – At the heart of any good Halloween celebration is the traditional ‘Trick or Treat’. Outlets can have some real fun here, whilst engaging consumers. There’s an opportunity here to give guests a chance to take part in a game of trick or treat, with tricks including a special sour Halloween cocktail shot (it still needs to be enjoyable, but perhaps it combines more unusual flavour combinations or even edible insects) or a spooky appetizer which encourage guests to try something different, while treats can include discounts, buy one get one free on Halloween specials or a grand prize of a meal for two.
- Make It A Family Affair – Halloween is not an occasion exclusive to adults, so look to involve families and encourage them out of home together. Special children’s menus will engage little ones, but don’t forget to include drinks too. Outlets could even provide a design or decorate your own element to a range of hot and cold drinks, by serving drinks with edible toppings such as popcorn or insect inspired sweets. Venues can even host a social media competition for the creepiest creation with a range of prizes on offer for the winner and the runners up.
- Don’t let waiting times spook your customers – Increased footfall can mean longer queues and waiting times. Keep customers’ in good spirits by considering the length of time it takes to make each drink. Cocktails and no ABV options can be made in batches! For example venues could offer xxx, it’s simple to scale up or down to make the required volume. Alternatively consider preparing a No ABV Halloween themed cocktail in a Kilner jar which is ready to serve.
Haunting Halloween Serves:
Halloween Tiki Cocktail
20ml MONIN Falernum syrup
25ml Dark Rum
25ml Gold Rum
10ml Overproof 50ml Pineapple juice
3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Dash of Grenadine
Shake all ingredients together and strain into a chilled skull themed mug. Garnish with cold foam (120ml skimmed milk, 30ml Monin Falernum syrup, blended on slow speed on a spindle mixer) and beetroot powder plus the whole top of a pineapple.
Creepy Crawly Frappé
30 ml MONIN Chocolate Cookie syrup
1 scoop Le Frappé de MONIN Vanilla
120 ml milk
1 cup of ice
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour into your cup and garnish with a selection of creepy crawly themed toppings.
15 ml MONIN Vanilla syrup (or any other flavour)
180 ml milk
Add the vanilla syrup and double espresso to the cup and steam your milk until frothy. Pour frothed milk into the cup, garnish with ghoulish ghost toppings
Don’t Feed the Zombies
30 ml MONIN Blood Orange syrup
1 scoop Le Frappé de MONIN Vanilla
120 ml milk
1 cup of ice
Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend for 20 seconds. Pour into your cup and garnish with a selection of zombie themed toppings.
Death by Hot Chocolate
15 ml MONIN Chocolate Cookie syrup (or any other flavour)
hot chocolate powder
240 ml milk
Prepare the hot chocolate and add in the chocolate cookie syrup. Top with whipped cream and a large heaping of chocolate.
The Poison Apple Cocktail
20 ml MONIN Apple Pie Syrup
50 ml gin
20 ml lemon juice
25 ml apple juice
0.5 grams charcoal powder
Shake all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass or goblet. Garnish with an apple slice.