Money-Conscious Boozers Fight Depression With Happy Hour

Consumers low in spirits are starting to sadden bar owners as they increasingly take advantage of happy hour deals. People aren’t cutting back on their drinking, but they are consuming more at home and trying to extract more booze from their buck when they go out.

“We don’t see a change in what people are drinking as much as seeing a change in the time they are drinking,” said Kip Snider, beverage director for the Yard House chain of restaurants.

Still, a growing reliance on happy hour — as well as a “reverse” happy hour with the same specials from 10 p.m. to midnight Sundays to Wednesdays — is not a bad strategy.

“In times like this, the bar business should take on more of a focal point for restaurants because of the incremental profit that comes with each sale,” Henkes said.

Restaurants net about 15 cents for every dollar of food purchased but 38 cents for alcohol, Henkes said. So it makes sense for casual dining spots, in particular, to pitch booze.

Alcohol is usually recession-proof—sales usually increase when times are tough because wandering around aimlessly taking swigs of bottled water is neither helpful nor chic.

Have you changed your drinking patterns to save cash? Share your depression drinking strategies in the comments.

Bars and restaurants are getting toasted by happy hour [Los Angeles Times]
(Photo: MarkAndMarina)