When local consumers want to find a nearby restaurant or bar with happy hour pricing, more often than not they look online first. When they do, nearly all of them take action within an hour of online search, especially if that search occurred on a mobile device. If your restaurant or bar has happy hour specials, you can use the website you already have to attract site visitors and drive customers right to your door.
What Makes Happy Hours Happy for Locals?
According to Restaurant.org, local residents turn to happy hour for a variety of reasons: as a way to relax (43 percent), to get together with friends (38 percent) or to socialize with colleagues outside of the workplace (23 percent). In fact, happy hour sales may generate up to one-third of all adult beverage sales for a restaurant or bar, helping to make the most of profitable drink sales potential. When local patrons are deciding where to spend happy hour, the factors they use to decide on a location include:
- 46 percent – Drink prices
- 41 percent – Food prices
- 26 percent – To save money compared to regular pricing
- 24 percent – As a precursor to staying on for dinner
- 22 percent – No reservation required
Beyond a location and the happy hour drink and food specials you will list on your site, you should also know what most people are interested in when they enjoy a happy hour out with friends or colleagues. A Statista.com graph points out which beverages are most popular with U.S. happy hour patrons:
- 42 percent – Beer
- 38 percent – Cocktails or mixed drinks
- 37 percent – Soft drinks
- 25 percent – Wine
- 22 percent – Iced tea or coffee
- 20 percent – Hard liquor
When it comes to the food happy hour patrons want most, the list is as follows:
- 76 percent – Want to save 50 percent on appetizers
- 73 percent – Want a free or low-cost buffet provided
- 56 percent – Want to be offered special pricing on specific menu items
- 55 percent – Want special pricing to stay on for dinner
Since happy hours usually occur before a restaurant’s or bar’s peak hours begin, they can be critical in boosting revenue during what might otherwise be slower hours. Given the number of people who might be looking for a place to spend happy hours in your city, ensuring that your SEO (search engine optimization) marketing strategy will help you attract online searches is a must for your restaurant or bar.
How to Use Your Website to Get More Web Traffic and Sales During Happy Hour
SEO may sound complicated, but in reality it simply refers to whether your restaurant’s or bar’s website is set up correctly so that search engines can “see” its content and display it in relevant online searches. For the purposes of a restaurant or bar, that means it’s set up to be optimized for local search, since your goal is to get people in your area to visit your website and then come to your business.
In most cases, that means that your website needs to have text-based content that includes the name of your city, the neighborhood or destinations near your restaurant or bar and other key words and phrases that someone is likely to type into an online search when they are looking for a business like yours. It’s also helpful for your site to have driving directions and maps so that people who are already on the go, looking for a place to eat or enjoy happy hour can easily find your location.
Happy hour has made a name for itself by proving it sells.
The Moz Local Learning Center will tell you more about what local search is and how to implement the best local search practices in order to drive the maximum number of new customers to your website or bar. You can explore their guide topic by topic or review its content with your webmaster to ensure that your restaurant is doing all it can to attract guests during happy hours.
If your restaurant or bar has happy hours, don’t just make this a side note on your website – make it a feature. Create special pages that talk about your happy hour beverage and food specials, host customer reviews and staff recommendations and display photos of your establishment, preferably when it’s full of people enjoying happy hour at your bar or restaurant.
In addition, you can leverage email marketing and restaurant social media marketing to get the attention of local patrons and entice them to try your restaurant or bar during happy hour. The more people become aware that your establishment is a great option, the more popular it will become during what might have otherwise been slow hours for your business.
If your restaurant or bar has happy hours, adding new pages that are optimized for local search could be instrumental in helping you boost sales during happy hour and the hours following. Make sure that your website is working hard to help you fill your establishment with happy hour patrons.
Financing for Launching a Restaurant or Bar Happy Hour
If your restaurant or bar doesn’t yet offer a happy hour and you need financing in order to expand for the space needed, purchase additional inventory, buy more equipment or satisfy any of the other expenses that go along with adding new restaurant or bar menu items, think about applying for a line of credit. Obtaining a line of credit could be the ideal way to get access to the working capital you need to launch and grow your business’s happy hours into a true profit center and sales generator.
Happy hour has made a name for itself by proving it sells. Chances are you’d be hard pressed to find someone you know that hasn’t visited a happy hour or two themselves. If you’re a restaurant or bar owner and you’re wanting to increase your sales, further your brand name or just put more people in the seats, then adding a happy hour or boosting the recognition of the one you already have could be your big answer. All you have to do is make sure your happy hour is getting the attention it needs so your restaurant or bar can become a local hotspot.