Happy hour is no longer exclusive to the bar scene. Fast food restaurants are paving the way with weekly specials and dollar deals that only apply for customers during a certain time of day. From Taco Bell’s “Happier Hour” to Steak ‘N Shake’s iconic milkshake deals, there are plenty of ways to save money and score your favorite fast food.
Over the years, we’ve noticed a few trends when it comes to fast food happy hour specials. For one, they are almost always in the early afternoon and last until before dinner. This is likely because the afternoon can be a slower time for fast food places, so it is a great way to attract more customers throughout the day. Oftentimes, restaurants will select a handful of items to display on their happy hour menu like fries, sliders, drinks, and other sides. These dishes may be small, snack-sized portions that are sold for just a dollar, as well as full-sized items that are half-off. Other restaurants will simply discount all of one type of food or drink during happy hour, like lattes or boneless wings.
It is also common for happy hour promotions to be seasonal, limited-time offers. For instance, Dunkin’ Donuts typically hosts an annual happy hour in the summer months, selling iced coffee and other iced beverages for just one dollar. Dunkin’s Happy Hour normally takes place from around 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. and is often advertised as a way to cool down in the midst of a hot summer afternoon. Starbucks is another fast-food place that hosts seasonal happy hours. Last holiday season, Starbucks sold half-price lattes at happy hour, including their seasonal drinks like the Peppermint Mocha and Eggnog Latte. In fact, Starbucks was one of the first places to have a consistent happy hour (throwback to half-price frappuccinos on Thursdays). However, not all places do seasonal happy hours. Applebee’s is one restaurant that tends to host happy hour every day throughout the year, serving half-price appetizers and discounted drinks in the afternoon and late at night.
At most restaurants, you do not need a promo code or coupon to redeem happy hour offers; all you need to do is show up during the designated happy hour time and order off the list of discounted items. However, some restaurants require customers to download their mobile app to get exclusive access to their happy hour deals. Some places like Starbucks use their app to communicate details about their promotions that are not advertised publicly.
If you are unsure when your favorite restaurant’s happy hour is, pay attention during holidays and summertime. Whether you are looking for a quick afternoon snack, caffeine fix, or sugar high, you can find a happy hour that suits your cravings and budget. Keep in mind, prices and availability for happy hour deals can vary depending on your location, so it’s always a good idea to confirm with your local store first. To learn more about the fast-food places that host happy hour, check out the restaurants below.