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Drinking Games

Happy Hour

Happy hour is a period of time at a restaurant, pub or nightclub where discounts are offered to encourage people to come by, stay awhile and tell their friends. It's very frequent for establishments to dedicate a period of time after work hours so people will pop by for a drink after work, knowing there's an incentive for them to come such as discounts, freebies or fun events.

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Deep discounts on drinks and / or food are often given during happy hour so that people will come. Half price chicken wings or buy one get one free as well as drink discounts are popular happy hour specials. Of course, the bar, pub or restaurant owner hopes you'll stay past the hour and enjoy more drinks at the regular price and enjoy yourself so thoroughly that you'll come during regular operating hours as well.

For restaurant and bar owners, here are some tips so show you how you can take advantage of the tradition of happy hour so that you can maximize the ability to get people in, get people staying after happy hour finishes so they're paying regular prices and demonstrate ways to get people coming to your joint more often.

* Schedule an event for just after happy hour finishes. This way, people are more inclined to stay even if prices go back to regular rates. A dart or pool tournament, karaoke, special buffet or entertainment might be set to begin right at the time happy hour finishes. Punters are already at your establishment and have had a few drinks or some free snacks and because more fun is about to begin, they'll be more likely to stay and still feel like they've gotten a great deal of value for their money.

* Sponsor some local sports teams with the understanding that the team members will come for drinks and / or food after each sporting event as well as for their banquet at the end of the season. You can supply sports jerseys with your logo on it and get free advertising as well. This also helps keep regulars coming in at various times during the week.

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* Establish a loyalty program that offers rewards. You can offer cards that track purchases of meals or games of pool and offer a freebie after a specific amount has been reached. People appreciate getting things for free and will often tell their friends.

* Giveaways. Giving things away is another way to encourage people to come and increase the chances they'll tell their friends. Free t-shirts can offer more advertising and free draws for meals or free drinks is also a great way to get people coming to your establishment more often.

If your quality of drinks and fare, atmosphere and décor as well as the friendliness of your staff are all things that people enjoy, doing a few extra things can increase your patronage.

If you are in a slump or have certain days of the week with very few customers, that's the prime time for some of these ideas to be put into practice. Typically slow nights are the best nights for happy hour or giveaways as well as pub game nights and other events.
(Updated 2023)

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