Make Your Happy Hour the Happiest Hour in Town

Make Your Happy Hour the Happiest Hour in Town

Dating back to illegal “cocktail hours” during the Prohibition era, enjoying alcoholic beverages between work and dinner is a proud tradition enjoyed by millions of workers every week. Happy hour has become an opportunity to bond socially with coworkers, discuss business in a less formal setting and decompress after a long day.

The happy hour challenge for bars and restaurants seems to be two-fold: how to stand out from competitors and attract customers, then how to maximize profits once those customers are in the door…

Here are a few tips to help you improve your happy hour to make it the best in town!

Not Just 60 Minutes.

Obviously, happy hour isn’t literally an hour, so play around with a time frame that works with your budget and expected clientele. Mosaic in St. Louis bills itself as the “City’s Longest Happy Hour,” with both a 2-7 pm stretch as well as a 10 pm-3 am “After Dark Happy Hour” on Thursdays and Fridays. It’s important that your happy hour is long enough to pull in workers with varying “quittin’ times.”

Build Around Single Serving Drinks.

For the most part, happy hour attendees will be paying their own tabs, so stick to cocktails and beers rather than bottles of wine. The convenience of being able to pop in for a quick, inexpensive beer or two can be appealing to your audience.

Don’t Give Away Too Much.

Discounting food during happy hour is a major consideration for restaurants. Since you’re already cutting patrons a deal on drinks, make sure not to hurt yourself too much with your menu discounts. Think about only discounting a few apps and/or entrees.

Stand Out From the Crowd.

Creativity is of critical importance when trying to separate yourself from other happy hour options. Consider changing specials each day to give customers more variety and you the chance to showcase what your kitchen does well. Marketing a dramatic (within reason) drink special could also open eyes and get a few new faces in the door.

Make Sure You Can Be Found.

As the day comes to a close, workers will be talking about where they want to gather. This will often mean an Internet search including sites devoted to happy hour offerings. Make sure your bar is featured at sites like UrbanDrinks.com and Happy-Hour.com, along with any sites devoted to nightlife in your specific community.

Happy hour is an opportunity where ownership and management can really flex their food service muscles. With some time and a little research, the late afternoon window could become among your most profitable.

What clever happy hour specials do you offer?

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