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Happy hour pays off for bar operators, data finds

Designated drink specials boost transactions and revenue

Wondering whether happy hour programs really pay off?

They do. 

That’s according to data from integrated-point-of-sale provider Cake, which recently compared 400 bars with and without happy hours. All of the bars in the study use Cake technology.

During the month of February, Cake found that bars with happy hours had 33-percent higher transactions than those without.

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Here are more takeaways:

  • Bars with happy hours generate more revenue and more transactions than those without during the designated hours of the program. In fact, on average, bars with a happy-hour program saw an average increase in revenue of 26 percent during happy hour, and transactions up an average 24 percent, compared with non-happy-hour venues.
  • Size doesn’t matter. Even smaller bars generated more revenue during happy hour than non-happy-hour bars that might typically outperform them. Cake said non-happy-hour bars that typically generated more overall revenue by about 10 percent were outperformed by their happy-hour-offering peers by more than 20 percent during those hours. 
  • With or without a happy hour, the peak time for both revenue and transactions is between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. Bar operators should consider that fact when looking at staffing, Cake said. Or, perhaps happy hours should end earlier to capitalize on what is already a high traffic time. 

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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