By Aisha Noreen
For many people, happy hours mean a discount on selected food or drink items. In reality, happy hours are more than giving discounts on food and beverages. Happy hours offer customers entertainment, variety, and a unique experience worthy of their every penny.
On the other hand, happy hours can be a great way to increase foot traffic and boost sales for small businesses. Data reveals that bars with happy-hour programs had an average increase in revenue of 26% during happy hours. So, you can attract new customers and encourage existing ones to stick around for a bit longer with happy hour promotions.
Since most happy hours take place during the week, you can use them as an opportunity to draw in people who might not normally come out to your establishment. Not only does it attract customers during slow times, but it also boosts sales and encourages people to come back.
Therefore, happy hour promotions can help build brand loyalty and create a sense of community around your business. But, happy hour promotions only work if they’re well-executed. So, we have rounded up six happy hour promotion ideas to help you plan your successful happy hour promotion campaigns.
Check out these ideas and get inspired.
Make a Special Menu, Don’t Include Everyday Things
Do you think people come especially during happy hours to try something they can get outside happy hours? Including every regular thing in the happy hours menu would be a waste as happy hour menus are all about variety and giving people the chance to try something new.
So keep this fact in mind while creating your happy hour menu. Instead of including your usual dishes, mix things up a bit and develop some innovative new offerings.
To do that, you can collaborate with your chef to come up with some happy hour specials that are both delicious and unique. This will help set your happy hour apart from the competition and create an aura of urgency and exclusivity that will attract guests to your restaurant at that specific time.
Don’t forget that the happy hour crowd is a price-sensitive bunch. A study shows that 76% of happy hour customers look for fifty percent off on all appetizers, and 56% look for deals on specific items. So, it’s important to make sure that your happy hour specials are truly appealing from the price point of view as well.
By offering a discount, you’ll encourage customers to order more and stay longer. Just make sure that your staff is prepared for the increased orders.
Load Up the Menu With Shareables
Since happy hours are also about socializing, make sure to include plenty of shareable items. Many happy hour customers come in groups of three, four, or more and love to share. So make sure that your happy hour menu has plenty of options that are perfect for sharing.
Small plates, appetizers, and finger foods are great happy hour staples. This is a great way to encourage people to try multiple items. Usually, your guests choose full dinner entrées if they are dining alone, but happy hour is all about grazing and trying new things.
Happy hour guests always find it better to order a happy hour deal from a place that provides mini-meals of different cuisine so that you get to try a variety of things without overeating a particular dish.
Some happy hour shareables to consider are:
- Chicken wings
- Potato skins
- Mozzarella sticks
- Fried Calamari
- Crab cakes
- Guacamole and chips
- Sushi rolls
- Chicken skewers
- Vegetable tempura
- Mini burgers
- Pizza bites
Make sure also to offer a few vegetarian options, some gluten-free, and some dairy-free items. This will ensure everyone in the group can find something they’ll enjoy.
Change Up Happy Hour Specials Every Week
Happy hour specials need to be interesting, appealing, and surprising if you want people to keep coming back. It means you can’t just offer the same happy hour specials week after week. Instead, switch things up on a regular basis to keep people guessing.
One way to do this is to offer a different happy hour special every day of the week. This will give people a reason to come back, again and again, to see what new and exciting happy hour deal you have in store.
Another way to keep things fresh is to change up your happy hour menu on a regular basis. This will allow people to try new dishes and keep things interesting. But the change should not be random; it is a tricky game.
Keep learning the response of your customers and the sales on a particular day if you are changing happy hour specials every day of the week. This will help you improve the menu to keep the crowd all week along.
Get Creative With Your Cocktails.
If you really want to stand out, get creative with your cocktails. Instead of just offering discounts on beer and wine, come up with special happy hour drinks that will wow your guests.
Think outside the box and come up with some unique flavor combinations. And don’t forget to make your drinks Instagram-worthy. By making your cocktails look as good as they taste, you’ll be able to lure in even more happy hour customers.
When it comes to happy hour drink specials, the possibilities are endless. But, you want to ensure that your specials truly entice your customers to come in and stay awhile. Here are a few happy hour drink specials to get you started:
- 2-for-1 cocktails
- $5 wine by the glass
- $3 beer specials
- $5 martinis
- Half-priced bottles of wine
- Refill your drink for free
Offer an Experience, Not Just Food, and Drinks
Well, you are not alone in trying your best to promote your business, so happy hour is the time when you can get a bit more creative. So make your happy hours unique, giving people something to talk about.
Make your happy hour more than just a place to drink or eat, but an experience that people will want to come back to. People will share this unique experience on social media, further promoting your business and attracting more customers. A study revealed that 45% of diners in the US are influenced by social media.
So whether you choose to have a tropical happy hour or a Halloween-themed event, make sure to put your own spin on it. Another great way is to add some entertainment that can be anything from live music to trivia night.
You can also make your happy hours interactive by adding games like darts, drinking competitions, or a photo booth. It will make your happy hour more fun and engaging and increase the satisfaction level of your customers.
Don’t Forget to Target Your Regulars
Always remember that most sales come from regular customers rather than new ones. Existing customers spend 31% more than the new ones, and loyal customers give a try to your new product 50% more than the new leads.
So make sure to give them special treatment. To make your regular customers loyal and happy, you can give them happy hour coupons or a loyalty card that they can use to get discounts.
You can also send them happy hour reminders through text or email. By showing your regulars that you appreciate their time and loyalty, you’ll be able to keep them coming back for more. But it does not mean you ignore new customers.
Treat new customers with respect and try to convert them into your regular guests. If your staff is courteous, the ambiance is good and comfortable, and the food is appealing, these customers will most likely come again.
Important Factors to Keep in Mind While Planning Happy Hours
As we have discussed some happy hour promotion ideas, don’t forget that these are not the only factors to attract more customers and boost sales. You need to work on the anterior and quality of food as well.
In a survey, diners were asked about the top factor in choosing a restaurant to visit. 72% of them ranked high-quality food as the top factor in deciding a restaurant.
In addition to food quality, your staff should be well trained to handle the hustle and bustle during busy hours, and the chef should maintain the food quality till the last hour.
Also, make sure you register your business with the state and stay compliant with state and local authorities so that you have a good impression on your customers. Customers these days prefer environment-friendly businesses, so try to use materials that can be recycled easily and do not cause plastic or environmental pollution.
By thinking outside the box, you can ensure that your happy hour is a success. Just make sure that your promotion is well-executed and that you’re prepared for the increased business.
With a little effort, happy hour can be a great way to increase your sales and attract more customers. So, start boosting your sales today using these 6 happy hour promotion ideas.
About the Author
Hi, I’m Aisha Noreen. As an owner of a small business, I went through multiple challenges which I overcame by experimenting with different ideas. I love sharing those ideas with others who are looking for solutions to problems concerning business registration, marketing, personal asset protection, and business operation in a compliant manner at MoneyAisle.com. Outside work, people know me as a movie buff and my recommended films make the day of my friends.