If a restaurant decides to have a happy hour once a week or even once daily, it's usually just in advance of the dinner hour. For example, an establishment may decide to promote its happy hour starting at 4 p.m. and ending at 5 p.m. If you want to entice people to visit your restaurant for happy hour, you don't necessarily need to hold this promotional event at the conventional time. There are no rules that you need to follow, so you may wish to get creative and hold your happy hour later in the evening — perhaps between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., for example. Here are some pros and cons of doing so.
Pro: More Potential Customers
The idea of a late-afternoon happy hour might be appealing, but the reality is that a lot of people can't get to your restaurant in time. For example, a happy hour that starts at 4 p.m. will suit some people, but many prospective patrons will still be at work at that time of the day. When you start your happy hour later, there's a better chance of more people turning up.
Con: May Not Work For Appetizers
Drink specials may be a big part of the average restaurant's happy hour, but serving appetizers is something that is also common. For example, a pub might have half-priced appetizers during its daily happy hour. This is an approach that may not be as appealing for a nighttime happy hour. By the evening, many patrons will have already eaten dinner and may not want appetizers.
Pro: People May Stay Longer
Restaurants can often get quiet after the dinner hour, which means that you're not only not making money, but you're also paying more staff than you need until the end of the night. When you get more customers later in the evening because of your happy hour, you'll not only make more money, but you'll also be able to better justify having your staff on duty. Additionally, because many restaurant staff want to work in a busy environment in which tips are frequent, this scenario may help you to retain staff.
Con: Things May Get Boisterous
When people consume alcohol, there's a chance that they'll get louder and more boisterous. A late-afternoon happy hour has this risk, but given that many patrons will be heading home for dinner after the happy hour, this won't often occur. However, if you have your promotion later in the evening, people may drink more and act out.
To learn more about having happy hours at your restaurant, you may want to consult with other restaurants, like Vito's in the Valley.