Happy Hour: Alternatives When It's Outlawed Where You LiveThere are many food and beverage establishments still serving up happy hour drink discounts but many places in various countries have banned discount drinking because it can result in bingeing by patrons. If your bar or restaurant is in a location where you cannot offer drink discounts, you can still have a bit of a happy hour where you offer other incentives to patrons and this can increase your patronage and your takings.
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Ideas for alternatives to drink discounts:
Free food. Serving hors d'oeuvres can help bring in more patrons during a certain hour. Social gatherings often occur after work and if you serve some free food with your drinks, your patrons are less likely to rush home to eat dinner. And, by serving some food, you slow the effects of the alcohol on a patron as it's never a good idea to drink on an empty stomach. Many establishments will have wait staff circle the room during the promo hour with trays of snacks or put out a platter on each table. This small amount of expense could be enough to bring extra people in, resulting in an increase in the night's takings overall.
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Discounted food. During happy hours, drinks might be at the regular price but you could have discounts off other things. Many bars and nightclubs serve great pub food like wings, ribs, nachos and other appetizers. You could have half price wings with the purchase of a jug of draft beer or offer all you can eat specials in lieu of five cent glasses of beer. This provides value for money to your patrons and can help them come in. If you have advertised specials outside, people will see this and plan to come in on that day for the discounts.
No cover fees. If your club has a typical cover fee, you could offer happy hour on generally slow nights or before a certain hour by reducing or eliminating your cover charge. More people might come in based on the savings which can quickly be recaptured when they order a few drinks that wouldn't normally have been sold that night.
Free Games: If you normally charge fees for use of equipment such as juke boxes, video poker, pool tables, darts and other equipment, offer free use during designated Happy Hour. People will still order food and / or drinks during this time and because they're playing a game for free, they're likely to stay longer than they would if they were merely holding a spot at the bar.
Entertainment and Events: You can have pub games and entertainment during off periods and call them an alternative to happy hour or cocktail hour.
Just because you can't offer discounted drinks, you can find other ways to create your own happy hour. If you are in an area that hasn't banned Happy Hour, you can take advantage of the suggestions here and do more than offer happy hour drinks because you can implement these other ideas to even further increase your attendance.