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What Is Happy Hour? | 7 Reasons Why Happy Hour Is Good for Your Restaurant

Are you looking for ways to boost business traffic during slow hours? One way restaurants can drive customers through the door is by offering a happy hour. Happy hour offers an enticing mix of deals and discounts, making it an ideal time for customers to relax with friends or family while enjoying their favorite drinks and snacks.

In this blog post, we'll discuss what is happy hour, why it works well for bar and restaurants, and how you can plan and execute a successful one. Keep reading!

What Is Happy Hour?

Happy hour is a marketing term for a period of time during which alcoholic drinks are offered at reduced prices. This typically occurs late afternoon and evening, when restaurants and bars offer discounted alcohol and snacks to attract customers.

Happy hour is a term that originated in the United States Navy in the 1910s to describe a time when sailors could relax, socialize and enjoy certain activities. Nowadays, it generally refers to an event held at restaurants, bars, or pubs where customers can purchase discounted alcoholic beverages and food for a set duration.

What Time Is Happy Hour?

Happy hour is a popular time for socializing and enjoying discounts on food and drinks, but when is happy hour?

Happy hour timing may vary from place to place, but it typically occurs between 4-7 pm on weekdays. Some establishments may also offer happy hour specials on weekends or other days of the week. Customers may purchase discounted drinks such as beer, wine, and cocktails during happy hour. They may also have the opportunity to take advantage of discounts on appetizers or bar snacks. In addition, some places may offer entertainment during happy hours, such as live music or trivia contests.

Reasons Why Happy Hour Is Good for Your Restaurant

Happy hour can attract customers to your restaurant and increase brand loyalty among existing patrons. It can also help you generate additional revenue during slow periods. Here are some of the benefits that happy hour can bring:

1. Increased Brand Awareness

Happy hour has a fantastic ability to spread the word about your restaurant. People love a good deal, so when they hear that you're offering discounted drinks and food during specific hours of the day, they will be more likely to tell their friends and family about it. Word-of-mouth advertising is still one of the most powerful forms of marketing, and a successful happy hour can help spread awareness of your restaurant.

2. Acquire New Customers

Happy hour is the perfect time for potential customers to discover new restaurants. By offering discounts on drinks and food, people are more likely to try a new place. Lower pricing helps to attract a larger crowd, which leads to new customers for your business. 

Making sure that your happy hour offerings are enticing is key—it’s important to highlight some of your greatest dishes or offer unique specials that they can’t find any other time of day. Once the guests have a positive customer experience, they are more likely to return and spend full price during dinner service.

3. Drive Traffic and Increase Sales

Happy hour is a great way to drive traffic and increase restaurant sales for your restaurant. By offering discounted prices on food and drinks, customers are more likely to visit during off-peak hours when business is usually slow. Not only does this help you fill-up the place at a time of day that’s normally quiet, but it also encourages customers to buy more items to get the most out of their visit.

4. Upsell Orders

Happy hour is an ideal time to upsell orders. Customers who come in for a discounted drink and appetizer are more likely to be willing to purchase add-ons, such as full meals or additional drinks. This can increase sales and encourage customers to become regulars at your restaurant.

5. Adds Variety to Your Menu

Happy hour is a great way to give customers something different. It allows them to sample items they may not have tried before and explore the flavors of your restaurant. Many restaurants offer special happy hour menus featuring discounted dishes or even smaller-portioned items, allowing customers to try new things without committing to a full-sized entree. This is a great way to introduce customers to a wider variety of your offerings and convert them into regular patrons.

6. Strengthen Customer Loyalty

Offering repeat customers a discounted rate for their favorite drinks or dishes is a good way to build customer loyalty. Many restaurants also offer special happy hour discounts for members of their rewards program, encouraging return visits even after the end of the specials!

7. Generate Buzz for Your Restaurant

Happy hour is a great way to generate buzz about your restaurant. When you offer discounted prices for certain items, it’s sure to pique people’s interest. Customers may be more likely to come in and check out what you offer if they know they can save money by doing so. Additionally, offering happy hour specials helps you stand out from the competition. With so many restaurants vying for customers, ensuring you have something unique and special that sets your establishment apart is important. Happy hour is a great way to do just that!

By taking advantage of happy hour, you can bring in more customers and build loyalty among existing patrons. It’s a great way to generate additional revenue and increase your restaurant’s visibility. With the right promotions and discounts, you can make happy hour a success for your restaurant business.

Ways to Plan and Execute a Successful Happy Hour

Happy hour can be a great way to bring in new customers and build excitement around your restaurant. It's important to plan and execute it correctly to succeed. Here are a few tips on how to make sure you have the perfect happy hour:

1. Know Your Customers:

Understanding your customer base before planning a successful happy hour is important. POS (Point of Sale) systems can provide valuable information about spending habits and customer preferences. 

By using reporting and analytics tools, you can gain insight into who frequents your establishment and what they will likely enjoy during the event. This data can help you decide what drinks and snacks to offer, how to advertise the event, and who should attend. 

With a better understanding of your customers, you can create a happy hour that caters to their needs and desires. Additionally, POS systems let you track sales during the event so you can adjust your offerings as necessary for future events.

2. Create Special Offers

Offer special discounts or deals during your happy hour so that customers will want to return again and again! This could include discounted drinks, appetizers, entrees, or desserts. You can also offer 2-for-1 specials or complimentary snacks by purchasing an entrée.

3. Mix & Match

Encourage guests to mix and match cocktails, wines, beers, or other specialty drinks alongside snacks and appetizers. Offering an assortment of items on the menu allows customers to feel like they’re getting great value for their money.

4. Utilize Promotion Strategies

Promote your happy hour through various print, social, or email channels. Let your customers know when and where your happy hour is so that they know it and can plan accordingly. You can also create special hashtags to help spread the word about the event more quickly!

5. Keep It Interesting

Try changing the menu options or offering different specials each time you have a happy hour to keep things fresh and interesting for your guests. This will also help draw in new customers who haven’t visited your restaurant.

6. Make It Fun 

Add a little flare with fun decorations, music, or activities such as trivia and games during your happy hour event. This can help guests feel engaged and enjoy their time at the restaurant even more!

7. Provide Stellar Service

Above all else, providing excellent restaurant customer service at your restaurant's happy hour event is important. This includes attentive wait staff who can answer questions, efficiently serve guests' orders, and quickly clean up after they leave. Doing so will ensure that your guests have a positive experience that encourages them to return! 

By following these tips, you should be able to plan and execute a successful happy hour that will bring in customers and leave them satisfied. 

Happy hour is a great way to boost sales, create buzz around your establishment, and build customer relationships. So don’t hesitate - to start planning yours today!

Frequently Asked Questions About What Is Happy Hour

You’re certainly not alone if you’re still curious about happy hour and how it works.

Here we’ll answer some frequently asked questions about happy hour so you can make sure your restaurant takes full advantage of this opportunity.

How Does Happy Hours Work?

During happy hour, bars and restaurants offer discounts on alcoholic beverages like beer, cocktails, and wine. The discounts can range from 10-50% off the regular price. To take advantage of these deals, customers must arrive during the designated hours, which can vary by location but are usually in the early evening or late afternoon.

What Is the Best Time for Happy Hour?

5 to 7 pm is typically considered the best time for happy hour since it falls in the middle of the afternoon and evening. People usually wind down from work or get off early, so they’re more likely to be in the mood for drinks and socializing.

Another great thing about happy hour during this timeframe is that it’s usually the least busy time of day, so they won’t have to worry about fighting for a seat or waiting in line. This makes it easier to grab drinks and appetizers with friends before dinner or after work without battling other customers.

What Food to Serve At Happy Hour?

Here is a list of foods that you should consider serving at your restaurant's happy hour:

  • Light Snacks: Consider serving some simple yet tasty snack items like chips and dip, crackers and cheese, pretzels, or popcorn.
  • Appetizers: For a more substantial meal, provide guests with easy-to-eat appetizers such as mini quesadillas, spring rolls, chicken wings, sliders, or bruschetta.
  • Finger Foods: Finger foods are an excellent option for happy hour because you can provide guests with several options to eat quickly and easily. Popular finger food items to consider serving include mini tacos, taquitos, egg rolls, or mini sandwiches.
  • Salads: For lighter fare, offer guests some salads such as caesar salad, a spinach and strawberry salad, or arugula and apple salad.
  • Soups: Soup is always a popular option at happy hour. Consider serving delicious soups such as tomato bisque, chicken noodle soup, or roasted corn chowder.

What Are the Most Popular Drinks During Happy Hour?

Here are some of the most popular happy hour drinks to give you some inspiration:

  • Wine: Wine is a go-to favorite for many people. Whether you choose a sweet white or bold red, there’s something to please any palate. Sparkling wine is another popular choice for those who want something light and bubbly.
  • Beer: Beer has been an all-time favorite happy hour beverage for centuries. From lagers to ales to stouts, there’s a beer for everyone. Trying out tap beers or craft beers is a great way to explore different flavors and styles.
  • Mixed Drinks: If you want something light and refreshing, mixed drinks are great options. Try a vodka soda or gin and tonic for a classic drink that’s easy to make at home.

Why Do They Call It Happy Hour?

It's believed that the phrase "happy hour" originated from U.S. Navy sailors who used the term to celebrate their extra time off work. The term has come to mean a social gathering where discounted alcoholic beverages are served, usually to bring in more customers during slow periods at bars or pubs. The idea is that these discounts temporarily make drinks and food cheaper, so people can enjoy them for a short period of time - hence why it is called "happy hour."