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Taking back happy hour

Happy Hour
Photograph: Shutterstock

After a long time away, many consumers are ready to head back out and join their friends, coworkers and families for happy hour hangouts. For operators, the opportunity is huge—updating menus, ensuring safety and creating a special, exciting atmosphere are three big ways that restaurants can appeal to consumers who are ready to socialize. Here are some ways that operators can update the experience and invite customers back to the pre-dinner occasion.

Update menus

After more than a year away, primarily ordering takeout, consumers are excited to head back to their favorite bars and restaurants for happy hour. And when they’re choosing where to dine and where they can find a good value, menu uniqueness is key—nearly one in five consumers say that uniqueness is important for creating good value at a restaurant, according to Technomic’s 2021 Value and Pricing Consumer Trend Report.

But with labor challenges, it can feel daunting for operators to create brand-new menu items and train kitchen staff to prepare them. Some simple changes or upgrades can make classic favorites feel fresh: For instance, chicken fingers, a classic happy hour app, can get an upgrade with a few new sauce offerings such as a chipotle aioli, sweet-and-sour sauce or a global option, such as gochujang. Loaded apps are also a big seller—offer diners the opportunity to choose the type of cheese they want on their loaded fries, or offer a new protein for nachos, such as chorizo, pulled pork or buffalo chicken.

Highlight safety and sanitation

Technomic’s 2021 Value and Pricing report found that 60% of consumers say that sanitation and cleanliness are the most important factor in creating a good value at restaurants. Despite consumers’ excitement about going back to restaurants, many are still concerned about the safety of doing so, so it’s crucial for operators to highlight the measures they’re taking to keep staff and customers safe. For example, staff visibly cleaning can be a good indicator, as can installing hand sanitizing stations or posting on social media about new (or existing/updated) safety and cleanliness measures being implemented.

By communicating to diners that the restaurant is prioritizing health, operators can feel confident that their customers trust them. And on top of that, consumers can set their minds a bit more at ease.

Create a remarkable experience

Finally, in order to create a great happy hour experience, operators should consider the overall ambiance. Showcasing popular sports games can be a great way to get people in the door, and DIRECTV for Business has an array of packages perfect for year-round sports programming in restaurants and bars. Make sure to promote the availability and broadcast of these games, too—customers will be excited to know they can come watch their favorite team with their friends again. DIRECTV for Business has everything restaurant operators need to create a fun experience for their guests—reliable broadcasting and technologies, flexible plans and pricing solutions, plus 24/7 support.

By stepping up the happy hour game—and by broadcasting the most popular sports games—operators can set themselves up for success. To learn more about DIRECTV for Business programs, click here.

This post is sponsored by DIRECTV for BUSINESS℠

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