5 Great Happy Hour Ideas for Your Food/Drink Business

By  //  August 26, 2021

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Hosting a happy hour is a tried and tested strategy for bringing more customers through the door and boosting the reputation of your business if you operate in the hospitality industry.

Of course it is likely that a lot of your rivals will have put a similar strategy into place, which means you need to go the extra mile to make sure that your happy hour is the one that wins over the most people.

To that end, here are some intriguing ideas to try out if you think that your happy hour needs a bit of an overhaul.

Run a themed event with relevant discounts available

One of the best ideas for happy hour is to add a theme to proceedings, rather than making the same as any other time of day, albeit with cheaper drinks available.

The theme you pick can be anything, but crucially should be chosen so that it is relevant to your target audience. For example, bars that show sports could tie the theme into the next major game or tournament that is taking place.

You can even tie in the happy hour discounts with the theme, and give customers an incentive to get involved, such as offering lower prices to people who bring a particular accessory with them, or who wear a costume, for example.

Mix up your scheduling

If your happy hour clashes with a very similar promotional period at one of your competitors, then you will obviously be going head to head with them, which is not always ideal if you lose traction while also losing cash on the promotional offers that are available.

The answer is to avoid this altogether by scheduling your happy hours at different times of the day, which will not only give you the edge over rivals, but will also potentially open your brand up to a previously untapped segment of the market.

For example, if you are open earlier in the day then having a happy hour during the breakfast rush, at lunch times or even when the mid afternoon lull might normally result in a lack of custom, you could schedule a happy hour to coincide with these times and reap the rewards as a result.

Some restaurants and bars even choose to implement day-long happy hours, meaning that for one day of the week your venue will be the hottest ticket in town.

Make food and drink work in unison

While the traditional happy hour may be beverage-focused, this has changed a lot in recent years, and restaurants may now provide discounts on menu items at certain times of the day.

This is all well and good, but what about combining the best of both worlds and conjuring up a unique happy hour menu which includes food and drink items alongside one another? Better still, why not pair tasty treats with suitable tipples so that customers can get an instant overview of your expertise, and thus be compelled to come back for a more fulsome experience in the future?

Obviously the kind of establishment you run will influence how you handle the food and drink options during happy hour, but there are so many tactics to try out, such as providing scaled-down versions of main meals, or even a tasting menu. It is simply a case of being willing to experiment, to assess the performance of your changes, and to keep making tweaks to find the winning formula.

Optimize your use of space for fun and games

It is a standard happy hour feature for trivia and quiz events to be hosted, since they require minimal equipment and do not involve any rearranging of furniture, so by all means embrace this approach if it makes sense for your business.

However, if you are looking for an approach that is a little more unique, consider what other games and activities you could integrate during this period that would keep customers entertained and engaged.

Bars and restaurants with outdoor seating areas could go the whole hog and set this space aside for a variety of classic games, from horseshoe throwing to croquet. Meanwhile if you want a lower-key affair, having a board games event in which you provide games, as well as inviting customers to bring their own, could be ideal happy hour fodder.

Create a buzz with karaoke

As well as being eternally popular with people of all ages, karaoke is an ideal happy hour activity if you want to get your business some attention on social media.

While it may not be suitable for every establishment, having a karaoke session when discounts are also available will work wonders in lots of settings, and will create an atmosphere of camaraderie, as well as helping you to cater to groups particularly well.