How Happy is Your Happy Hour? Revive Your Profits with POS Technology


Restaurants have long embraced happy hour as a means of attracting business during non-peak hours. By incorporating special food and drink discounts into their normal menu offerings, restaurateurs can capture a lively and profitable post-work rush. Using your POS software and strategic promotional tactics, there are a lot of possibilities for establishing your restaurant as the popular working class meet-up. It’s 5 o’clock somewhere –is your happy hour bringing in sales?


If you’re worried that your current approach is producing lackluster results, or you are adding a happy hour menu for the first time and feeling far from confident, take some time to plan. Two important areas of focus will be pricing and promotions, as these elements are essentially the lifeblood of any successful happy hour endeavor. You need to arrive at an ideal price point for your bar and kitchen items, and you also need to promote those prices to your target market. Otherwise, you’ll end up with so-called happy hour “deals” that only succeed at stealing away credibility from your established foodservice operation.

When evaluating your promotions, make sure you are providing value to customers without neglecting your profit margins. Be cautious when selecting which items will comprise your happy hour menu, and don’t attempt to trick your customers into thinking they are getting a discount when they really aren’t.  Eleanor Frisch, a writer for Food Service Warehouse, outlines 4 specials worth trying as you revisit your current happy hour deals:

  • Discounts on high margin products, such as domestic beer bottles or a certain brand of wine
  • BOGO on certain happy hour items, like drafts or appetizers
  • Special food and non-alcoholic beverage discounts
  • Designated driver incentive, such as a free soft drink

In terms of managing your happy hour pricing and monitoring its success, POS software can be an extremely helpful resource. For example, Future POS’s Price Scheduling Maintenance allows users to set up price schedules for certain periods of time. You can select the start and end times of the price schedule, i.e. 5:00-7:00 p.m., as well as the days of the week for which you’d like the price schedule to be applied.

Your POS system will also be valuable when it comes to tracking the profits associated with your happy hour specials. Take advantage of reporting features that provide detailed information about product movement and daily sales, and use this data to adjust your happy hour pricing moving forward. For advertising purposes, POS technology equipped with an interface to digital signage displays can be your ultimate happy hour marketing tool. By displaying your happy hour bargains paired with enticing images and videos, you’ll be well on your way to drawing in a pre-dinner crowd and higher sales.

Does your business offer mobile ordering? POS smartphone applications that allow customers to place their orders in advance can be very beneficial for the happy hour setting. Guests sitting at the bar can submit food orders via their mobile device, simplifying the overall ordering process and alleviating servers who need to attend to other sit-down diners.

In addition to the technology-specific components of your happy hour strategy, don’t forget to provide a relaxed and care-free atmosphere for your guests. Customers are looking to unwind and let go of the stressors they may encounter during the daily grind, so help them to enjoy themselves by providing live entertainment, friendly staff and delicious food and drinks.

Cheers to a happier happy hour at your restaurant!


Sources: Food Service Warehouse

Image Credits: Sarah Kolb-Williams


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