Happy hour drink specials bring traffic to your bar, but working for little or no money is not worth it. Your bar is a business. This is not a hobby or personal party. It is how you feed your family. It makes no sense to offer food and beverages at cost or at a loss.
Many bar owners create prices for happy hour specials without actually doing the math on what each drink or food item costs. Food and beverage costs change weekly and seasonally. If you aren’t changing your prices in response, you are probably not profitable. Feature drinks you are known for and those that have the highest profit margins. A good rule of thumb is that you should make no less than $2 on a drink special. Additionally, your staff should be trained to upsell premium spirits whenever possible.
Your drink specials should feature spirits you want to push – look for overstock items in your inventory that you need to use. Take advantage of special pricing on products from your distributor. Lower cost liquor ingredients give you room to offer specials and still have a reasonable profit margin.
The bottom line – be sure happy hour makes your bottom line happy as well.