Restaurant chains gear up for spooky season

Marketing Bites: Restaurant chains launch spooky specials, Taco Bell is giving away free tacos for life and Jimmy John’s tries out boy math.
Burger King's Halloween buckets
The Trick or Heat bucket will be available for a limited time at select locations beginning Oct. 13. | Photo courtesy of Burger King.

Marketing Bites

It’s finally October, which means it’s officially spooky season and many restaurant chains have been quick to immerse themselves in the Halloween spirit. Burger King, for instance, launched its own version of a Halloween bucket. Dunkin’, meanwhile, is offering an inflatable Spider Donut, and Nékter Juice Bar is offering a special promo for kids dressed in costume.

Also this week, Taco Bell launches its Steal a Base Steal a Taco giveaway and Jimmy John’s leans into boy math.

Here's a look at what’s new in restaurant marketing.

Burger King’s ‘Trick or Heat’ buckets

Burger King seems to be competing with McDonald’s famous Boo Buckets with its latest promotion. The burger giant is launching Trick or Heat buckets which are glow-in-the-dark and feature ghosts and ghost peppers. The buckets are available beginning Oct. 13 at select restaurants in Nashville, Las Vegas, Charlotte and Atlanta and they’re priced at $1.

In addition, the burger chain is launching a Trick or Heat meal bundle in honor of Friday the 13th. On offer is a Ghost Pepper Whopper, 4-piece Ghost Pepper Chicken Fries, a small fry, a small drink and a Hershey sundae pie, for $13. The deal runs beginning on Oct. 13 through Halloween day.

Spooky Décor from Dunkin…

inflatable spider donut The inflatable spider donut is available.  | Photo courtesy of Dunkin' 

This week Dunkin’ debuted its first Halloween-inspired home décor piece—a six-foot-tall inflatable Spider Donut. The debut is on the heels of this year's launch of the actual Spider Donut, which Dunkin’ said in a statement has generated quite a lot of fan attention. The Spider Donut arrives at Dunkin’ stores on Oct. 11, along with a limited-edition Spider Donut Keychain, priced at $7.99. In addition, the classic chocolate, vanilla and strawberry frosted donuts will receive a chocolate and orange sprinkle makeover in honor of the Halloween season.

And Halloween cups from Starbucks

Starbucks also recently launched a Halloween-inspired collection. Now on the drinkware lineup is the Green Drip Cold Cup, Black Bling Cold Cups and keychain, Calavera Skull Mug, a Multicolor Cold cup, Pink Pumpkin Mug, Green Pumpkin Tumbler, a Multicolor Drip Cold Cup and a set of reusable hot cups.

and a Halloween promo from Nékter Juice Bar

I, of course, plan on dressing up this year. But unfortunately, I’m not a kid so I can’t cash in on Nékter Juice Bar’s sweet promotion. The smoothie concept is offering 50% off on one superfood smoothie or acai bowl on Halloween for kids aged 18 and younger who come into the store wearing a costume. In addition, Nékter Juice Bar has debuted three limited-time Halloween-inspired offerings—the Frankenstein Smoothie, the Smoothie of Darkness and the Vampire Bowl. 

The Frankenstein Smoothie is a blend of the chain’s house-made cashew nut milk, spinach, protein, chocolate cashew drizzle, peanut butter, dates, bananas and agave.

The Smoothie of Darkness also features the homemade cashew nut milk, chocolate cashew drizzle, cocoa powder, protein, peanut butter, dates, bananas, cacao nibs and agave.

And the Vampire Bowl features Pitaya, Pineapple, banana, coconut flakes and coconut water, topped with hempseed granola, fresh strawberries and blueberries and a housemade strawberry chia jam.

Taco Bell’s Steal a Base Steal a Taco promotion

Want a chance to win free Taco Bell for life? The taco chain is teaming up with Topps, a physical and digital trading cards and collectibles company, and the MLB for the 2023 World Series, to give away a variety of prices.

A limited-edition run of Topps TacoFractor cards, which are hidden at random within Topps Chrome and Cosmic Chrome packs, will give diners a chance to score free tacos for life. Holders of a TacoFractor card of the first player who steals a base during the 2023 World Series (dubbed Taco Hero) have a chance at the prize, which will be awarded as a $15,000 Taco Bell gift card.

Rewards members will have their first chance at finding the card as on Oct. 10, Taco Bell will offer a limited chance to get a card pack for free.

Leading up to the World Series, Taco Bell rewards members can submit their prediction as to who will be crowned Taco Hero. Those who guess correctly will receive a reward of a Nacho Cheese Doritos Locos Tacos and a medium fountain drink. If they guess incorrectly, they still get the free taco.

Boy Math

Jimmy John's Boy Math BundleThe Boy Math Bundle comes with sandwiches, sides and desserts. | Photo courtesy of Jimmy John's. 

Boy math, (which is essentially math that makes absolutely no sense) recently went viral on TikTok and now it’s making an appearance in restaurant marketing. This week Jimmy John’s launched the Boy Math Catering Bundle, which apparently, “makes throwing a party so easy, that it makes no sense,” according to the sandwich chain. The bundle is available online and on the Jimmy John’s app and comes in either a small or large size. The bundle features sandwiches made fresh to order, chips, sides and desserts.

National Spoon Day and Fan Appreciation Day

If spoons are your favorite utensil, this next promotion may be for you. In honor of National Spoon Day on Oct. 7. Yogurtland is giving diners a free giant blue spoon with any purchase of $10 or more. In addition, to celebrate Fan Appreciation Day on Oct. 30., the yogurt chain is offering a buy-one-get-one offer as well as double points for rewards members.

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