Does your bar offer Happy Hours?
Are you making money or losing money?
Some bars offer Double Bubbles, some host 2 - 4 - 1 Nights still others schedule Decompression Sessions or Group Therapy Hours. A few bold but really dumb bar owners offer Triple Cripples. It makes no difference what they are called - the question I am asking is: Do periods of reduced drink prices actually increase your bar’s sales and profitability?
Before I give my answer let me share a story. It was Easter morning and Becky’s Mom was in the kitchen preparing the Easter ham. As usual, Mom took out a large knife and cut approximately 2 inches of meat off each side of the ham before wrapping it in tin foil and placing it in the oven.
“Momma” Becky asked “Why do you always cut 2 inches off each side of the ham?” “Well it’s an old family tradition I learned from my Momma”. When Grandma arrived around 11am Becky asked Grandma about this old family tradition. Grandma said “Well Dear all I know is my Momma always did it so I decided to do it as well”.
When Great-grandma arrived around 2pm Becky ran over and asked “Great Grandma why did you always cut off two inches of meat off each side of the Easter Ham?” Great grandma sat down smiled and replied “Well you see Becky when your great grandfather and I first got married we didn’t have a lot of money; we couldn’t afford one of those big fancy stoves. The only way I could fit an Easter ham in our small oven was to cut two inches off on each side.
So let’s now go back to Happy Hours. Do Happy Hours really increase profits or are bar and tavern owners’ just ‘cutting ham’? The only person who knows for sure is the bar owner - the person who pays the bills. They know product costs and the revenues they generate.
If you own or manage a bar, an American Legion or VFW post, Eagles or Elks club do you have a Happy Hour? Why???
I love when a bar owner tells me happy hours help them attract new customers. Really!! Well just how many new customers have you picked up each month - the last year because of your Happy Hours I ask? They don’t have a clue. It’s just their regulars coming in?
Personally, I am insulted when I have to pay $3 for a mixed drink at one time then $4 at another. I get the same drink, in the same bar, usually served by the same bartender - generally in the same glass and yet I pay two different prices. Why??
Money making Alternatives to Happy Hours are: A “Featured Drink Special” and “Customer Appreciation Night” – often times called Industry Night. The featured drink special is easy. You identify a top shelf drink or beer and reduce the price only on that one item. For example you have a Corona or Sam Adams’ Night on Tuesday’s and Thursday … it would mean only Corona or Sam Adams are reduced in price from 4 to 7. People who normally may not drink a Corona or Sam Adams may try because of the reduced priced and like it. They may then make it their preferred drink when they come on other days and now you are making more money. Simple - right!
The Customer Appreciation or Industry Night is even simpler. Pick your slowest night of the week – generally a Monday or Wednesday and call it ‘Customer Appreciation night’. Anyone who walks in you bar between 4 and 7, gets a free drink. That’s it ‘one free drink! Since it’s a slow night and you’re already paying a bartender why not get people in on your slow night. After their free drink they may stay and have another or two. Plus people walking past may see your bar is hopping on a slow night and be curious stop in. They get a free drink and meet your staff – now you may have a new customer.
All Eba G is saying - Don’t Cut Ham - because everyone is. If Happy Hours are not making you money try something different. Don’t lose revenue because of an old stupid tradition.
Eba G. is a small bar and local tavern profit analyst. Google Eba Gee on Face Book or link with Eba on www.linkedin.com/in/ebagee. Isn’t it time you started increasing your sales and profits.