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Happy Hour Tips and Tricks

Happy hour neon sign

Happy Hour. A fun time to get together, get a snack, and enjoy some great food and drink specials! Keeping prices low and quality high can be challenging, so here are some tips on how to craft the perfect happy hour and keep your customers "happy" while still maintaining your bottom line and quality.

Choose your times wisely. If you're in a busy area, an hour long happy hour is more than decent. 5-6 pm? Monday - Friday? Sure, why not. But if you're off the beaten path and looking to lure in more customers, consider extending that time period - 3-7? Seven days a week? It's up to you - but make it worth your customers' time - and also - if they have to travel to you, chances are a longer time period will equal many more customers. Consider a late night or industry themed happy hour as well. Monday night is a great time for industry folks to get out and enjoy themselves, and considering that they probably have friends in your restaurant (or perhaps they already work for you!) you have a built in fan base just waiting to be tapped. So put together a foodie focused, industry only late hours menu for Sunday and Monday night, and consider a late night happy hour as well (10-12 pm?)

Your cocktail, beer, and wine list. Most people don't go to happy hour looking for a full meal. It's a fun place to socialize, grab a couple small bites (more on that below) and, most importantly, enjoy an adult beverage after a long day in the office. Therefore, your beverage choices are very important. Play to your strengths and also your brand when designing your happy hour cocktail list. If you're known for your mixology, having a killer cocktail (or two) available for happy hour is such better than a mixed well drink (cheap alcohol and mixer) option. Of course, you can still use cheap alcohol, but use flair and create an actual cocktail that your customers will appreciate. Have a large craft beer list? Offer it for a couple dollars off. Known for your wine cellar? Get a spectacular glass of wine on the menu at a very reasonable price. And yes, it's possible you may only break even for some of these items (ditto for food). But offering a great impression during happy hour will only lead to more business at lunch and dinner. So don't skimp on ingredients or go too cheap and offer a bad representation of your regular menu.

Finally, the food. You've figured out the basics - time, drinks, now think about some fun bar snacks to go along with these dishes. Small cheese plates, charcuterie boards, sliders, and two bite appetizers are all fun. No one expects large portions at happy hour, so it's completely fine to keep the portions - and the prices - tiny. Offer mini versions of classics from your menu, and again, keep in mind that the happy hour food offerings should be an extensions of your regular list, not something totally out of left field and different. Size wise, keep it simple. 3-5 items is usually great. Same advice for your drinks list. Small, paired down, high quality, and fun. That's really all it takes!

2017-01-24 00:00:00
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