I’m sure that you are familiar with the following scenario: Mid week, late afternoon – it is time between 4 and 6 p.m. – perfect time for coffee one terrace of your cafe, but unfortunately – the terrace is empty, and there are no one in your restaurant. Aside from the occasional “stray” guest, you see only your staff from other shifts, and they wait customers … but they do not come – they will come later, in their “usual” time!
It is time to turn “quiet hours” in your restaurant into “happy hour”! How? Very simple: try restaurant marketing strategy used by caterers around the world – create “Happy Hour specials” for your restaurant or bar.
What means “Happy Hour” and Why You Need it?
Happy hour is well known classic in hospitality business. Literally, it means “hour of happiness” in restaurants, mainly because of special discounts on prices which means cheap wine, beer, meals or complete special menu at certain hours.
Every successful restaurateur who is looking for new and fresh ideas use Happy Hour to enhance his business. He knows that Happy Hour is one of the best ways to make his guests more happy, and that Happy Hour has a great impact on his overall profit.
Specifically the Happy Hour can help you to:
- Increase sale of food, wine and beer during the period of less attendance
- Encourage your guests to visit your restaurant more often
- Present your restaurant menu and value that you have
- Attract guests who otherwise would not visit your catering facility
- Build your brand
- Attract more guests during certain hours: after work, late at night, on Sundays, Tuesdays …
Price of food and drink is a key factor for many consumers. 46% from all surveyed were attracted with low prices of drinks during Happy Hour program in restaurants, and 41% thought that law prices of food during “happy hour” are really great reason to come and visit certain restaurant during happy hour. (source: restaurant.org).
It is clear that Happy Hour could help you to improve your work. Now go into action – join to many restaurateurs who care about their guests and create crowd in your restaurant during late afternoons.
Regardless of whether you’re the owner of an exclusive restaurant with full service, fast food restaurant, cafes, lounge bar or nightclub, with a few helpful tips happy hour can be adjusted to any catering facility, bring something new and make it more appealing to its guests.
How to Organize Happy Hour?
This is very important part of restaurant promotion and should not be left to chance if you have already decided to organize it in your restaurant. To create successful and recognizable happy hour in your restaurant or bar you will need additional information and tips about how to do it on best way.
Follow Your Guest’s Wishes
It is very important to know what kind of guests visit your restaurant or bar. You know very well who are your guests, know their needs and what they love the most. Therefore, let your guests be your guide and your inspiration and create your own Happy Hour program and menu specials by following their habits and wishes.
For example, if your guests are mostly business people, middle-aged, who like to drink the glass of red wine during their lunch then offer it by half of the price during happy hour. Organize happy hour one hour before their usual visit to your restaurant.
Your targeted visitors would be best defined if you track their behavior. Consider who they already are, and who can be your new guests. Are they sitting in office buildings close to your catering facility, or at universities, sports clubs and even social networking sites or web portals?
Happy Hour Special Menu
Special program should include drinks, cocktails and simple dishes such as sandwiches and other small snacks but go one step further and show to your guests innovations from the restaurants around the world.
If your guests love to eat special steak that your chef prepares with lots of love, then put it in your happy hour offer at an affordable price or give some extra side dishes with it or amazingly abundant portion!
It is the most important to adapt your special offer to wishes of your loyal guests – Happy Hour program should offer much more than a discount on a meal or drinks. Innovative ideas will serve you better than discounts, because it is important to show creativity to stand out from the competition.
Perfect time for Happy Hour differs from one to another catering facility, and it should not lasts only 60 minutes.
My personal conclusion that I made after research is that it is not necessary to promote Happy Hour program during days such as Friday, Saturday and Sunday, because people – your guests will anyway visit your restaurant during these days. It is more productive if you organize happy hour during the days after the weekend – on Mondays and Tuesday, to acquire the habit of visiting your restaurant or bar during these days too.
Lunchtime is a great time for Happy Hour program, especially if your restaurant is located in the city center. Just remember those hungry people who can not wait to get out for a break to eat a quality meal – that is available at an affordable price at your place.
Cocktail bars and Restaurants offer to its guests a variety of Happy Hour benefits. These are some examples:
- From Sunday to Thursday offer Jumbo cocktails at same lower price.
- Every day between 6 pm and 8 pm offer to your guests cocktails at half price, and even during Fridays and Saturdays start your happy hour at 5 pm!.
- Every night after 11 offer special price for Jumbo cocktails and make it available at the price of normal size cocktails.
From these examples, you can clearly see that you can organize happy hour during a different parts of the day, and that you can put in your offer different food or drinks. Understanding what consumers want and what they are looking for is the most important key to a successful restaurant business.
Late Night Happy Hour for Younger Guests
41% of surveyed aged 21-34 say they tried special offers that catering establishments offer late in the evening. Late means after 10 pm. This is very important for their decision whether or not to visit some restaurant.
This is main reason why Late Night Happy Hour has become one of the most popular ways for bar and restaurant promotion. Unlike traditional “happy hours,” that are usually organized in the early afternoon, offer Late Night Happy Hour and attracted more young people – students, young business people and couples. This is suitable for cafe, bar or nightclub. Allow them to extend their fun, students may not afford the extra drink for themselves and their friends, and this also gives them opportunity to taste some new beverages and meals from your menu.
Happy Hour in the late night hours can certainly increase your overall traffic, especially if the happy hour special is made â€‹â€‹by following wishes of your youngest guests.
Tip: Host some popular DJ’s that will create hot atmosphere in your bar and attendance of younger guests will be guaranteed.
Make The Best Happy Hour in Your Town
Every owner of a restaurant and bar has a unique formula for the successful promotion of happy hour. Your job is to fugure out what you will offer to your guests during “happy hour. It is important to sell the right thing, right away.
- Include Happy Hour as part of special events in your restaurant. If you organize “Italian evening”, offer all kinds of pastes at half of price.
- In addition to quality, guests in your restaurant are attracted with quantity. The Happy Hour program should include extra-large portions that promise a full stomach or extra glass of wine or beer. There are lot of those who will love this!.
- Animate your guests to take their partners or friends in restaurant whit them, offer free meal for partner or special friend during “happy hour”
- Organize wine testing!
- Promote different customer service during this hours like preparing food infront of the guest, hot stone or raclette
- Put in your offer special drink (or a complete menu), that your guest could try only during happy hour.
How to Avoid Failure
- Increase prices of your best selling menu items to cover the costs
- Stick to one group of drinks or foods that will be part of your happy hour offer
- Include in your happy hour offer food that is easy to prepare and must be sell quickly (fruit, vegetables, salads)
- Track your investments and pay attention on your profits.
- Important: Pay special attention to the promotional message for happy hour program. It must be short and clear. Your potential guests need to understand and figure out what you offer.
Every owner of restaurant or bar has his own formula for successful organization of happy hour. Your job is to find your own … and when you find it share it with us and our loyal readers.