Happy hours have been used by bars and restaurants around the world to encourage customers to stop by. You’ve likely had friends, family, or coworkers who were excited to try out one establishment’s happy hour.
This same concept can easily be applied to your very own coffee shop. There are tons of ways to create timely deals that will have your customers coming back for more.
We’ll show you just a few coffee shop happy hour ideas. You can modify any of them to suit your business and provide a memorable experience for your customers.
The Benefits of Having Happy Hour Specials
So why should you bother planning a happy hour at your shop?
For one thing, many coffee shops (and other businesses, for that matter) have specific slow times during the day, or even entire slow days. These times can eat into your profits, turning them into devastating slumps.
Happy hour specials are a great way of turning these slumps into heights for your business. There are actually some statistics that show that bars and restaurants make as much as 60.5% of their revenue on alcohol sales from their happy hour.
This same idea could transfer to a coffee shop. By planning a happy hour around your slowest times, you could potentially turn them around completely and draw in new patrons.
Coffee shops can have a reputation for being too pricey. With a happy hour special, you could turn that reputation on its head and bring in frugal customers who might otherwise be hesitant to stop by.
Coffee Shop Happy Hour Ideas
Everyone loves a little snack, and coffee shop pastries tend to be a real treat. If you’ve got a display case full of cookies, donuts, cakes, or scones that aren’t selling, you could help them fly out your door by making them into a happy hour special.
You could potentially offer them at a reduced price, such as half-off, with the purchase of a drink. It’s sort of like a meal deal you might see at a restaurant.
Selling them in bundles could be a great idea, too. Offices also have their afternoon slumps, and a bunch of treats could be just the thing to perk them up.
Your coffee shop could sell cheaper bundles of pastries during your happy hour advertised as shareable afternoon pick-me-ups.
One of the main reasons (if not the main one) your customers come into your shop is to get a good cup of coffee. And America’s favorite coffee order is a traditional latte.
Knowing the popularity of the latte, you can capitalize on this trend. You could consider having specials where espresso-based drinks, likely one of the biggest sellers in your shop, are on sale.
You could even focus on particular kinds of espresso drinks as a way of introducing customers to things they may not have even tried before. One idea could be to have a different happy hour special drink for every day of the week, like Macchiato Monday or Frappe Friday.
You’ve probably felt the way the atmosphere seems to get supercharged with energy around specific holidays, especially in the winter. People hang up decorations, gifts are exchanged, and the music becomes more festive.
You can turn your coffee shop into a place filled with festivities that will attract those in need of a little holiday cheer. Consider adding happy hour specials that are appropriate to the season to your menu.
For example, you could offer reduced-price peppermint mochas and hot chocolate in the winter. In the fall, your happy hour menu could include cheaper pumpkin spice lattes or apple cider.
The summer would be a great time to add blended and iced drinks at a bargain price to your happy hour repertoire. Customers would love to stop by and cool off.
One of the busiest times in a gym is 4-7 PM, or right when most people are just getting off of work. This might also be a time your shop could be a little slower, given that many people associate caffeine with getting through the morning.
Some scientific studies also show that one of the ideal times for people to get their exercise in is between 1 and 4 PM.
If your coffee shop sells smoothies, teas, or juices, you can turn the idea that cafes are only for a morning dose of caffeine around. You could have a happy hour that overlaps slightly with times people most often go to the gym or work out, and offer this crowd cheaper smoothies or tea.
It would be like having a post-workout reward ready for customers into fitness. At the same time, this would demonstrate your business’s commitment to supporting healthy living, a value many people strive for.
If your happy hour is in the afternoon or early evening, there are probably quite a few people in your area who are starting to feel hunger pangs. Turn your coffee shop into a quick and easy dinner stop on their way home from work.
This works best if your shop also sells sandwiches, soups, salads, or other substantial foods. You could offer some of these at a slightly lower price than normal to encourage purchases.
That way, your coffee shop gains a reputation for its good food, in addition to its good drinks. Customers will know they can stop by for more than just a jolt of caffeine.
‘Tis the Season for Giveaways
Everyone loves free stuff. Just how much do they love it?
A lot. In fact, the numbers show that over 34% of new customers are brought in through contests.
Most of the time, no one thinks of a coffee shop as a place where any kind of giveaway or contest is held, but you can still use this kind of interest to your advantage. It’s ideal if you sell any merchandise, like reusable cups or clothing with your shop’s name on it.
During your designated happy hour, you could give away one piece of merchandise to a random customer. How you choose who to give the item to is up to you.
One way would be to designate a specific number of orders, such as the fifteenth happy hour order gets a t-shirt.
Many people use music to get them in the mood for all sorts of things. It can cheer you up, energize you, or make you feel like you’re not alone.
Because of how versatile it is, music is used in countless businesses. You’ve no doubt heard it playing in the background at restaurants, bars, stores, and gas stations.
Since it can have such a profound effect on people, it’s a fantastic marketing tool. Playing music can have an impact on your sales and encourage your customers to remember your drink menu better.
It’s also a great opportunity to really express your creativity. You could have themed music for happy hour on specific days, such as nostalgic 80’s or 90’s music.
Another wonderful idea would be to arrange live music for happy hour on specific days – like Live Music Mondays, for instance. It would be a good way to brighten up the Mondays that most people otherwise dislike.
Happiness Happens at all Hours of the Day
Happy hour doesn’t have to happen in the early evenings or afternoons. You could try putting yours at a more unique time, like lunchtime, when most people are on break.
You could even try putting your happy hour late at night, if your shop is open later. This could encourage late night socialites to swing by for a drink and a bite to eat when fast food chains or bars just aren’t cutting it.
Alcohol-free bars have actually been a growing trend in the United States and the UK. With a late-night happy hour, you could convert your coffee shop into a sort of coffee bar at night, much like some of the espresso bars in Italy.
Make it an Event to Remember
It’s no secret that events draw customers. You can underline your happy hour with an intriguing event to pique their interest.
A fun idea would be to run a sort of voting booth based on some kind of popular topic, like which trendy TV shows are better. You could have reduced-price menu items, one representing one option and the other representing the other option, and ordering one or the other counts as a vote.
You could announce results at the end of happy hour, write them on a display board for the next day, or post them on your social media accounts. Not only is this a fun way to keep your customers involved, but it will also give you a snapshot of which items are more popular.
Ordering games aren’t the only games you could play, either. You could have board games set out for your customers during happy hour to encourage bonding.
Or you could host any other number of events during your happy hour to draw a crowd. Take a look at our list of coffee shop event ideas for some inspiration.
Once you’ve got your happy hour established, you’ll need to get the word out. Social media is a perfect way to do this.
Brainstorm some potential hashtags that capture the essence of your happy hour. Some examples could be things like #happyhealthhour, #mochamonday, or even #lotsoflattes.
To encourage your customers to partake in using your hashtag, you could even tie this into a giveaway. You could say that one customer who uses the hashtag on a specific date will be selected to receive a gift card or merchandise.
Through happy hour specials and events, you can turn what might be a dull time into a bustling period for your coffee shop. Who knows – you could even find more one-time customers turning into regulars after you impress them with your service and quality once your specials hook them in.With some of the ideas in this guide, you could be off to having a wonderful happy hour put together that your community will love to be part of.