More than just a way to fill restaurant seats at slow times, happy hour is a showcase for the kitchen and bar. And when a happy hour is leveraged with powerful trends such as food and beer pairing, the craft beer boom and the fascination with global flavors, it becomes a highly effective marketing tool and revenue producer for the operator.

Stand out from competitors with distinctive marketing

A happy hour needs a vigorous push to connect with customers, says Kiva Wenig, assistant general manager of Il Porcellino, a Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises restaurant in Chicago. That’s why the Il Porcellino team plans to visit area offices to hand out a squeezable stress ball shaped like the $3 Italian sub sandwich featured at happy hour. The memento will bear the message: “Stressed? Come relax at Il Porcellino Happy Hour.”

“Door-to-door marketing is not dead,” says Wenig.

A well-conceived happy hour boosts a restaurant’s patronage and bottom line. Featuring exciting food and beverage pairings will help operators stand out from the crowd and enhance the guest experience.