How to Host a Successful Corporate Happy Hour


The way we see it, catering corporate events doesn’t have to be stuffy — and, well, it shouldn’t be. And our favorite corporate event to cater? Corporate happy hours, always. There are so many unique ways to curate these events with professionalism and spunk, whether you’re planning a monthly office event or a special branded happy hour at a festival like SXSW in Austin, Texas.

Wondering how to host a successful corporate happy hour? We have you covered with our how-to guide.

How to host a successful corporate happy hour


What’s your business objective?

When hosting any kind of corporate event, you want to make sure it hits some sort of business objective — whether growth, teambuilding, community, networking, or even pairing alongside a bigger event. By aligning things like corporate happy hours with business objectives, you’re able to get more buy-in from leadership and secure the kind of budget you likely want to work with.

Need some ideas? Here are some corporate happy hour objectives we’ve helped support:

  • Celebration of employee milestones like birthdays, awards, or retirements
  • Company-sponsored recruitment events
  • Company culture boosters and stress relief
  • Departmental or organizational team building
  • Employee retention efforts
  • Networking events
  • Client happy hours at events (Need some inspo? We recently supported 6 different companies hosting client happy hours at SXSW in Austin — a two-week festival celebrating tech, film, education, and so much more)

(And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!)

When and where is your happy hour?

Deciding on a time and place for your corporate happy hour is important, so take a look at everything from the size of your team and the ambiance you want to create all the way to the overall objective, the date, and the food and drinks you want to serve. There is a ton of value in hosting your corporate happy hour at your office headquarters (we love an in-office event!). Need some inspiration? Here are some ideas for in-office corporate happy hour locations:

  • Office kitchen
  • Unused office space
  • The rooftop at your building
  • The lobby area
  • Large patio or open spaces
  • Outdoor courtyards
  • Office dining area
  • Neighboring venues (check out our Venue Finder Tool for ideas!) 



Find a corporate caterer for your happy hour

To elevate your corporate happy hour experience, look for a corporate caterer who can help you hit your business objectives with creativity, taste, and fun. You’ll want to find one close to your location (we cater corporate happy hours across Texas, especially in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio), and it’s key to look for a team that’s excited to bring something new to the equation.

Wondering what this might mean? We recommend looking beyond your typical house wine and house beer and instead focusing on a corporate caterer who can provide exciting signature cocktails and culinary experiences.

Get creative with activities

While there’s definitely benefit to standing around and talking to each other, you can also go further to plan activities during your corporate happy hour. Here are some of our favorite ideas for leveling up a corporate happy hour:

  • Cocktail-making competition: You never know when you might have some former bartenders or sommelier-esque team members — so host a cocktail-making competition during your happy hour! (Psst… you can compete with anything from chili and brownies to coffee brewing and cookie decorating if cocktails aren’t your vibe)
  • Non-cheesy team-building activities: Rent a karaoke machine, host a scavenger hunt, create an escape room, or head outdoors for kickball, soccer, or something similar.
  • Hire live entertainment: Add unreal energy and excitement with an appearance from a band, DJ, or even a magician or comedian.

Keep it professional

While we love a corporate happy hour event that’s unique and fun, it’s also highly important to retain a professional environment. Consider having HR reach out to set pre-happy hour behavioral expectations and make sure your team is set up for moderation and success. Bonus points if you provide resources such as Ubers or other transportation.


Planning a Texas corporate happy hour?


At Vestals Catering, we specialize in curated, experiential corporate happy hours and events. We can kick off in the mornings with breakfast and beverages (did somebody say espresso bar?!), provide lunch, and also provide afternoon snacks, happy hour, and dinner. Whether catering in the Texas Hill Country or helping you with a DFW-area corporate event, we have you covered.

Our all-day beverage services include non-alcoholic options like prickly pear lemonade, locally roasted coffee, and espresso bars — as well as alcoholic options such as craft cocktails, locally sourced wine, and craft beer. And, as a dedicated Texas caterer, we specialize in high-quality menus inclusive of all types of dietary restrictions — we can provide vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free menus — for a perfect team event.