Happy Hour Consumers Are Food-Focused

Food, specifically the type of food available, has a stronger impact on where consumers visit for happy hour than alcohol drinks do.

Asked specifically about food and beverage drivers, most consumers who go to bars, restaurants and other foodservice locations for happy hour (61%) say the type of food available is important in their decision of where to go, according to Technomic’s recent Dinner & Late Night Consumer Trend Report. And the majority of consumers (55%) consider food specials to be very important at happy hour. This is likely because there are often food specials available during happy hours, so consumers prefer the locations that do offer specials. Additionally, more than half of consumers (52%) consider the presence of a full menu to be important, likely because they tend to visit around dinnertime, and they want to order more food for dinner.

At the same time, 49% of consumers who visit foodservice locations for happy hour say that the type of alcohol drinks available is important when deciding which restaurant or bar to visit. The same percentage says alcohol drink specials are important.

However, these percentages skew higher for consumers younger than 35; the type of alcohol drinks available and adult beverage specials each were deemed important by 58% of respondents under 35 years old. Younger consumers are more likely than their older counterparts to visit restaurants or bars for happy hour, so they are more likely to have seen the range of menu attributes available for the daypart.

While 35% of consumers age 18+ go out to a restaurant, bar or other type of foodservice location for happy hour once a month or more often, 53% of those 18 to 34 do.

Other happy hour findings from the report:

  • A near majority of consumers who visit foodservice operations for happy hour (49%) go to bars.
  • Half (50%) of happy hour consumers (and 57% of Gen X consumers) say they order an appetizer/snack, 32% have tapas or small plates, 18% order an entrée, and 12% have dessert.
  • Beer is the adult beverage consumed by most happy hour consumers (50% of them), followed by mixed drinks or cocktails (46%), frozen alcohol beverages (32%) and wine (25%). About one in five happy hour consumers had a non-alcohol beverage.
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Mary Chapman

As Senior Director of Product Innovation, Mary Chapman is responsible for developing new products, content and delivery methods that provide foodservice-industry executives with access to Technomic’s expertise, insight and data. Chapman previously served as Editor-in-Chief at Chain Leader magazine for 10 years, and worked for Restaurants & Institutions prior to that.

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