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Consumer Trends

Making Happy Hours Happier

Happy Hours have become a fourth daypart in many establishments, boosting food and beverage sales during the slower late afternoon-early evening time slot. With competition for Happy Hour customers heating up, Technomic's American Express MarketBriefing looks at the the factors that bring in traffic and keep guests happy.

  • Price consideration is a strong attraction for Happy Hour customers, with over 46% saying they were drawn in by good prices on drinks.
  • 43% of customers noted a need to relax as a major draw for their Happy Hour choices. An establishment that offers relaxed lounging, without the confines of regular restaurant etiquette, will bring in more clients looking to unwind.
  • Value pricing of food also scored high, with 41% of customers agreeing to the allure of cheap eats to go with their drinks.
  • 38% of customers cited Happy Hour as an opportunity to meet up with friends. Promoting and using the time as a social rendezvous is a great way to attract large groups of customers.
  • Most Happy Hour visits—43.5%—take place in casual-dining restaurants, with sports bars attracting 19%. Local, independent bars come in third with 18%.
  • The night most likely to attract Happy Hour crowds is Friday; Thursday night comes in second.
  • The ideal Happy Hour start time is 5 p.m. The general attitude among consumers is that the festivities should begin as soon as work is over.
  • The most popular Happy Hour specials are drinks for 50% off or two-for-one, with nearly 90% of consumers admitting that they come for these specific specials.

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