Happy hour serves many purposes for restaurant operators, including driving traffic and sales, creating buzz about the venue, providing guests the opportunity to try a signature or special drink offering at an attractive price and generating loyalty that results in repeat business. Casual dining restaurants are the first choice of consumers who attend happy hours (45%), followed by sports bars (23%), according to a recent Technomic American Express Marketbriefing survey. Consumers patronize happy hours for various reasons, the primary drivers being attractive prices on food (63%) and drinks (60%). In fact, the appeal of promotional pricing on food and drinks rose dramatically from 2013, indicating an increase in price-sensitivity.
To spice up happy hour, operators may want to consider new days and offerings. While Thursday and Friday are the most popular days for patronizing happy hours, consumers indicate an interest in weekend promotions. The majority (90%) say they would attend a Saturday happy hour event, and two-thirds (64%) expressed interest in patronizing a Sunday happy hour. Beer is the favored adult beverage, although cocktails are a close second, but non-alcohol specials also appeal, with four-fifths of consumers (78%) expressing interest.