Drive Incremental Sales with Happy Hour Menus

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Today, there’s more to a menu than breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food and beverage specials served between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays help attract the after-work crowd, but it doesn’t end there. Happy hour is becoming more and more of an opportunity for diners to relax while operators increase incremental sales and traffic.

Adult beverages are an important part of happy hour menus. Though it’s important to offer specials on drinks that patrons are already familiar with, happy hour can also be a great time to try new beverage offerings that differentiate your operation. Technomic research shows that beer and wine cocktails, slushies, and drinks made with fresh herbs and fruits are trending in 2018.

A well-rounded happy hour menu also includes food specials. Must-haves include sliders—nearly 40% of diners would order them if offered—and pretzels—the number-one snack item. Sharable appetizers and small plates are also extremely popular. They allow diners to try a variety of dishes, as well as socialize and connect with friends and coworkers.

Try these tips to build loyalty and drive traffic during happy hour:

  • Millennials in particular rely on foodservice operations to create moments and special experiences with their peers. Appeal to these diners by promoting delicious protein-packed appetizers, such as Brooklyn-Style Turkey Meatballs and Turkey Pick-Up Sticks—both easy to share and even easier to love.
  • Generation X is also an important demographic to target during happy hour. They’re extremely interested in deals, so entice these guests with discounted or buy-one-get-one appetizer specials.
  • Diners are also craving spicy appetizers, as 33% want restaurants to offer more of them. Heat things up with Turkey Taco Tostones, featuring turkey carnitas and a delicious harmony of spicy, sweet and zesty flavors.

Find more great-tasting happy hour menu inspiration in the Culinary Center, and explore more foodservice insights in the Resource Center.

Content courtesy of Butterball Foodservice


On-premise Intelligence Report, Technomic, 2018.

Starters, Small Plates & Sides Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2017.

Generational Consumer Trend Report, Technomic, 2018.


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