Happy hour can be a great way for restaurants to increase traffic and sales by offering deals on popular cocktails, small plates, and appetizers. In fact, 77% of adults and 85% of Millennials surveyed said they would visit a bar or restaurant during off-peak hours if they received a discount.

The National Restaurant Association cites happy hours as a way to offer budget-conscious consumers an opportunity to dine out, and maybe even entice some diners to stay for the main course. With the help of POS technology, restaurants can create customized menus that will bring new and existing customers in during off times.

Let’s take a look at a few ways restaurants can boost their happy hour sales:


Customer Preferences

Restaurants can use POS data to determine which menu items could be modified for happy hour. Optimizing happy hour menus with customer preferences in mind can improve customer experiences and foster loyalty.

Typically, restaurants will include discounted appetizers and drink options that are popular with diners, as they like to pay less for their favorite menu items.

In addition, restaurants should focus on beer and wine for the happy hour menu. A recent study found that 54% of customers drink beer, 33% drink wine, and 13% drink spirits during happy hours.

Variety is also an important aspect of happy hour menus since it gives new customers a taste of what the full menu has to offer.



Owners and managers can also take advantage of rich sales data collected in POS systems to determine the ideal times and days for happy hours. Happy hours typically start when the workday ends and run until the beginning of dinner rush, allowing restaurants to still capitalize on their full-priced revenue stream. Depending on location and customer base, restaurants may find a higher demand for a happy hour that starts earlier in the day, or one that runs later into the evening.

Restaurants can also determine which days of the week would benefit from a happy hour boost in sales. Using the data collected after launching the event can help owners and managers shift days and timing to optimize success.


Menu Pricing

The main appeal of a happy hour is, of course, the discount to traditional items. When creating a menu pricing strategy, restaurants should keep costs and competition in mind. Restaurant technology can keep track of inventory and the cost of raw ingredients, enabling owners and managers to determine the appropriate discounted price without losing money.

Restaurants should also look at nearby restaurants’ happy hour deals, and how the quality of their menu and service hold up to their prices. In order to beat out the competition, the quality and quantity must match the pricing.

With a POS system, restaurants can easily tweak pricing after launching their happy hour as well as track sales to ensure they’re maximizing profits with the right items and prices.


Final Thoughts 

Not only can happy hours bring in new customers and boost loyalty, but they also have the potential to boost restaurant profits significantly, since happy hour and late night customers can make up 1/3 of total alcohol sales.

With the help of technology, restaurants can make informed decisions about what items to offer during happy hours, which times are optimal for sales boosts, and how to price menus appropriately.


How does your restaurant make the most of happy hour?