Happy Hour Ideas to Boost Business

Happy hour note on black message board
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Happy Hour is a staple in the restaurant world. It’s a great way to target the people getting off of work by offering drink and appetizer specials. However, since most of your restaurant competition are also probably offering happy hour specials, you’ll need to do something to set yourself apart from the crowd. Here are some happy hour ideas to boost your business.

Offer Group Deals

Customers will often show up to happy hour with a group of friends or coworkers. You capitalize on this by offering discounted items that would appeal to a crowd. Offering deals on appetizer platters or drink pitchers will make your restaurant the destination for the post-work crowd.

Create a Special Menu

You can offer your typical fare during happy hour at a discounted price, but consider offering “happy hour only” items to attract customers. If special cocktails are only available during your happy hour, people may be more likely to stop in and check it out.

Adjust Your Happy Hour Times

Sure, it makes sense to have happy hour run for the people getting out of their typical nine-to-five jobs, but what about the people who work odd shifts? If your restaurant tends to be slow on weeknights, you could try offering a later happy hour for people who might not get off work at typical times. Happy hours running from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. could attract a whole new group of customers to your restaurant.

Focus on Non-Alcoholic Fare

There might be a group of potential non-drinking customers who skip out on happy hour if they think that there won’t be any deals for them to take advantage of. Target this audience by offering specials on food and non-alcoholic beverages like soda, special fruit blends, or virgin mixed drinks. You could also market this as a “designated driver” special to encourage responsibility with alcohol at your restaurant.

Make Upsells Easy

One way to make upsells easy for your servers and bartenders is to offer upgrades for a dollar. For example, regular draft beers are happy hour priced, and they can upgrade to a large draft for $1 more. The same idea can be used for mixed drinks by offering an upgrade in the liquor used for an additional $1.

When you promote your happy hour, either on social media or with printed material, keep it fun and light. By making your restaurant a happy hour destination, you can attract more customers during your slower times. People will know that your restaurant is the one to go to for great values and a good time.

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Rafi Cohen, a graduate of Baruch College & Brooklyn native is the Co-Founder @ Orders2me, an online ordering platform that gives restaurant owners all the features they need to grow their business in the digital age.

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We are on a mission to help local restaurants thrive in the new digital economy. Our blog is designed to give local restaurants best practices from some of the top restaurants in the world today. 


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