Happy hour is a great way to boost traffic at your restaurant during that slow time during late afternoon and early evening. It can boost traffic and keep your restaurant competitive in a crowded marketplace.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Establishing a Happy Hour?
The great thing about happy hour is that you give people a reason to stop by during that pre-dinner time frame that’s traditionally light on diners. People love getting food and drinks at a lower price, and happy hour can turn your restaurant into a hot spot.
Not only does happy hour attract more customers, it attracts customers who want drinks and appetizers, which means more sales of your most profitable menu items. You can influence this even more in your favour by only discounting certain foods and drinks.
Happy hour has its drawbacks, though. You may end up with large crowds who close their tabs the moment happy hour ends, leaving you overstaffed. If other nearby restaurants undercut your prices, you could end up in a price war that nobody wins. While it’s good to be aware of the risks, with the right strategy, you can minimize them.
Setting Up and Promoting Your Happy Hour
You have a lot of different options when you want to establish a happy hour. Begin by choosing the time frame for your happy hour and your discounts. While it’s best to schedule your happy hour during a slow period, the specifics depend on what benefits your restaurant the most. Some restaurants have been successful with happy hours that last only an hour, while others have done well with much lengthier happy hours. You can hold your happy hour every day or only on select days, such as weekdays.
Discounts should be good enough to get people interested, while still preserving a healthy profit margin. Try to keep them simple, as this makes it easier on your staff.
Once you’re ready to launch, promote your happy hours on social media so people can share your restaurant’s posts with their friends. Don’t forget about the old-fashioned approach, either. A clever sign advertising your specials can grab people’s attention and bring in some foot traffic.
Now comes the hard part: keeping customers around after happy hour ends. Expect some dropoff no matter what, because it’s natural for people to come just for the low prices.
If you feature entertainment at your happy hour, you can prevent a mass exodus as you move into the regular dinner hour. This could mean pool tables or a few arcade games to keep people drinking and having fun. Another good option is scheduling an event that begins immediately when happy hour ends, such as a trivia night or a live band. If there’s more to your restaurant than just eating and drinking, guests are less likely to take off when happy hour is over and the prices go back up.
Happy hour can be a great way to bring customers into your restaurant. When you offer a run time and great discounts, your restaurants can reap the profits you want.