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We’ve all entered a new era, and restaurants more than ever are having to adapt and react at a rapid pace. Our customers are eager to support local restaurants, but with many to choose from, how can restaurants make sure they are a continued part of the conversation? 

Might we suggest throwing the ultimate happy hour! The promise of a discount menu may get people through the door, but it doesn’t mean everyone ends up paying rock bottom prices. Today, we are sharing some ways local restaurants can boost sales, increase customer loyalty, and attract new guests.

1.  Know your customers

Understand who your customers are and what they order the most by looking at your POS reports. You can identify which items sell best during certain times of the day, then create a happy hour special around popular, high margin options.

2.  Play around with happy hour times

Find happy hour times that benefit your restaurant the most. The traditional happy hour takes place between the end of a workday and early dinner rush. But, the National Restaurant Association reports, “More than half of consumers under the age of 35 make late-night restaurant visits several times a month, as compared to just a quarter of consumers over 35.” Those aged 21 to 34 say happy hour helps attract guests by providing a reason for them to choose your restaurant or bar over other options. 

3.  Maximize profits

Your happy hour may bring in a huge crowd, but let’s make sure you are actually profiting off your discounted menu. TouchBistro came up with 5 ways you can maximize your profits with happy hour specials.

  • Upsell: Look for opportunities to encourage customers to spend a little extra, like making drinks with specific liquor for just a dollar more.
  • Cross-Sell: Recommend complimentary dishes or drinks from your regular menu to pair with your happy hour specials. For instance, maybe one of your pasta dishes pairs well with a half-price bottle of wine.
  • Add Menu Modifiers: Add modifiers to your happy hour menu, such as extra sauces or sides, for a small fee.
  • Mix in Premium Items: Add a premium item like oysters to your happy hour menu to increase the perceived value of your promotion. This gives the customers the impression they’re getting a great deal on high-end fare and encourages them to spend more.
  • Use Overstock Materials: Check your inventory and repurpose ingredients that would otherwise go to waste - think bruised vegetables that can be used for soup.

4.  Create a marketing frenzy

Use social media to advertise your happy hour. The famous ‘Taco Tuesday’ and ‘Thirsty Thursday’ has become well known hashtags, attracting diners to Mexican restaurants on Tuesdays and cocktail bars on Thursdays. Create your own hashtag that customers can use to post on social media. Check out Promoting your Restaurant Using Social Media for other ways to advertise through social media.

Let’s put a new twist on virtual happy hour and offer it through Waitr! Contact our menus team through menus@waitrapp.com to get your virtual happy hour started.  Additionally, check out these other Tips for Driving Revenue!