Three Tips To Make Sure Your Happy Hour Doesn’t Make You Unhappy

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Blog, Entertainment

Many restaurateurs and barkeeps have a “happy hour,” a period of typically two or three hours where food and drinks are offered at reduced prices. If it’s been a while since you have reviewed your happy hour offerings and analyzed the resulting revenue, these three tips will help you assess if any changes are in order.

Remember The Goal Of Happy Hour

If your establishment is filled with customers during happy hour, but then quickly empties out at the end, you may be tempted to view it as a success. But when you consider that you likely didn’t make a profit during this time of reduced prices, it may be premature to call it a triumph. The objective of a happy hour is to drive traffic from the afternoon work crowd into contributing to your full-priced evening sales.

Coach Your Staff

Your happy hour loss leaders may have gotten customers in the door, but keeping them there requires a highly skilled team. Your staff should view every customer interaction as the opportunity to upsell and educate. Yes, you have happy hour specials, but that isn’t what your employees should be actively promoting. They should be mentioning the mouthwatering chef’s special being served later at dinner service. They should be pushing that new seasonal craft beer. They should be talking about the fabulous dance band setting up. Make sure each team member tells customers the specials as well as their personal favorite menu item and drink.

Showcase The Items That Support Your Goals

If you want to be the new place to go for BBQ, then your happy hour specials should reflect and support that goal. Happy hour appetizers should be a pulled pork slider, a smoked chicken leg, or a miniature “rack” of two ribs. The idea is to give them just a little taste of what you have to offer so they want to stick around. Leave them hungry for more, and they’ll be ordering off of your full menu in no time. Don’t offer an all-you-can-eat taco bar that will fill people up and doesn’t really support your barbecue format.

The same goes for alcohol. If you have a band later in the evening that you want people to stick around for, you don’t want to offer high alcohol content drinks for your happy hour specials as everyone would likely be too inebriated to stay. Have a domestic beer special on entertainment nights instead.

Your happy hour specials should work for you, not against you. Break down your daily happy hour sales, customer count, and compare them to your evening sales. Once you have this information, you can analyze the data and decide what, if any, changes need to be made to increase your revenue even more.