happy hour restaurant

How to Market Restaurant Happy Hours

As a restaurant owner, you may be wondering how to bring people into your restaurant during non-peak hours. Your objective is to increase traffic during those times (usually between lunch and dinner) without taking from your regular customers who come during peak hours. The solution? Happy hours. But having happy hours is not enough. As a restaurant owner, you need to have a rockin’ happy hour menu and a way to communicate your deals to the public. Take a look at these 4 ways to formulate your happy hour menu and how to spread the word.

Social media is key

Step 1: Make sure your restaurant has a Facebook page. This allows potential customers to see interior/exterior photos of your restaurant, dishes, hours, and an updated menu. The public will also be able to check out the reviews of your restaurant all in one place. Step 2: Add current information to the page (including happy hour). In the about section, list your happy hour time frame and what your specials include. This could be “$4 well drinks, $3 draft beer, and $6 appetizers.” And be sure to specify in which section serves happy hours. If you want happy hour from 4pm-6pm ONLY in the bar, include that on the Facebook page. Step 3. Post photos from your happy hours. A picture of food goes a long way, so if you’re not seeing a ton of traffic, take some photos of your drinks and food and post to your Facebook page. This will help the public visualize your menu and you will plant the seed in your followers’ minds.

Inside restaurant marketing

Yes marketing to the outside world is very important, but don’t forget about your loyal customers who frequently visit your restaurant. Set up table signs and posters around your restaurant that customers can read while they are waiting to get their meals. Place your posters on the way to the restroom so they are likely to be seen. You can even place them on the back of bathroom stalls if you desire. You want customers to be informed that even if they missed happy hour today, they can still come back tomorrow.

Make it an event

Sure people like cheaper food and drinks, but people love when it’s paired when an activity. So make it a big event! Offer live music, karaoke, and/or trivia to attract those who would not solely be attracted by lower priced drinks/food. Holding events such as these are also bound to brings large parties in. Spread the word about your happy hour to your local community and you will be certain to see an increase in sales. Think about all the college students who will come in to play trivia every week. It will become some people’s tradition to do with their roommates/colleagues.

Late Night Happy Hours

As we’ve discussed, the time in between lunch and dinner tends to be slower for restaurants, but let’s not forget about the late night lull. The time from 9-close falls after the typical dinner time so you’ll likely see a drop in traffic. Offer a late night happy hour to make the most of this time. This can either be the same menu as you offer in your earlier happy hour, or you can focus this menu on drink specials. When office workers come from a late meeting, they may want to go out for drinks before they head home. So offering a late night happy hour will differentiate you from the rest of your neighboring restaurants.


Having a happy hour is not enough to bring in the sales you want and need to improve year over year. You need to make sure you are promoting your happy hours on social media and local businesses. At the Marketing Desks we can help you get the word out so that customers are knowledgeable about all your restaurant has to offer and why they should also be telling their friends about your great promotions.

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