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Happy Hour Marketing

May 28, 2018

When you go out of your way to create amazing happy hour ideas, having every seat taken is critical to revenue. That’s where a good happy hour marketing strategy comes in. By employing these marketing tips, you can get the word out about your happy hour and simultaneously build excitement about it.

Foodie Specials

Sure, great drink prices are expected for any happy hour, but so are food deals. In fact, employing some food marketing tactics can appeal to a wider customer base and maximize the growth of happy hour.

Try using social media to promote your food bargains, such as creating posts about #TacoTuesday and #WednesdayWings. You can also offer small plates of your most popular dishes at discounted prices.

A third option is to offer a few specialty items during happy hour only. This will help build a bigger menu, while also introducing new patrons to new dishes.

Think Outside the Box

If every other bar in the neighborhood is hosting a happy hour between 6:00 p.m. and 10:00 p.m., it will be challenging to attract a portion of that crowd. Instead, offer a happy hour that’s earlier or later. Although you will have to make sure you won’t be violating any local ordinances, you can select odd hours to attract a bigger crowd.

One bar in New York City, for instance, hosts an early morning happy hour from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Conversely, a late night happy hour can appeal to people who are leaving a movie or a play. You may be able to entice guests into choosing your restaurant over others nearby if you offer food specials late at night.

Open Your Doors

Offering outdoor seating for restaurant patrons can benefit happy hour business in a couple of ways. First, your guests will spend up to 30% more on food and drinks when they can relax outside. Secondly, the aroma of the food and the sounds of people enjoying themselves will serve as free happy hour marketing to passersby. Even a small outdoor space with a few small patio tables, soft lighting and potted plants can attract a lot of attention. Neighborhood guests will enjoy stopping by for happy hour drinks, appetizers and drinks regularly.

To make the most of your outdoor space, consider:

  • Setting up a smaller outdoor bar
  • Using smaller cafe tables instead of larger tables
  • Stationing a server outdoors for more convenient ordering
  • Placing benches along the border of the area
  • Designating a non-smoking area

Offer Deeper Discounts to Loyal Patrons

There are at least two ways this can be done: Request that customers return to the next happy hour with their receipts for special deals, or hand out coupons along with the bill. Either way, this can ensure your patrons will keep coming back to each happy hour you host. As word spreads about the bigger deals, you’ll attract more customers, and you’ll soon be hosting the best happy hour in town!

The Entertainment is Important

Given the tremendous competition in the restaurant industry to provide an experience rather than just a meal, today’s consumers expect more than just good food and drinks at great prices. Their expectations don’t mean that you have to cut your margins razor-thin, however; great happy hour marketing can be accomplished with creative entertainment.

For a low-cost solution, try renting a karaoke machine and letting your customers entertain themselves. Another option is to bring in a local singer or band and let them take care of  happy hour marketing for you as they promote themselves and their gigs on social media. You may charge a small entrance fee for guests on the days you host live bands and tell the bands they get to keep that money as their payment, or select a singer or band willing to work for tips from restaurant patrons. Both options will encourage them to get the word out and draw in a bigger crowd. Meanwhile, you’re providing your patrons with live entertainment.

By employing a few of these marketing ideas, you’ll also improve the happy hour experience for your loyal customers. This will encourage them to bring others along to the next happy hour and, as those events gain popularity, you’ll find that your overall revenue will grow. You can maximize your marketing strategy by signing up to get the soon-to-be-released Just Happy Hours app as well. The new app helps restaurants promote their happy hour events to a broader customer base.

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