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10 Ways to Generate Gold on St. Paddy’s Day

March 2, 2020

Original content c/o: National Restaurant Association

Nearly 33 million people celebrate St. Patrick’s Day every year. Here are some tips on how you can increase sales on the holiday.

Each year, nearly 33 million people raise a glass in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. This year the holiday honoring Ireland’s famous patron saint falls on a Tuesday. Yes, March 17 is in the middle of the week, which is great news for restaurateurs and bar operators.

According to personal finance website WalletHub, 55% of Americans celebrated the holiday last year. Here’s what else it found:

  • In 2019, consumers spent approximately $5.6 billion on St Patrick’s Day
  • The average spend per person is about $40
  • More beer is sold on St. Patrick’s Day than regular days (152.5% more)
  • On the holiday, 81% of people celebrating plan to wear green

What can you do to increase holiday traffic and sales at your restaurant? Try these:

  1. Put holiday specials on your menu, your take on a shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, fried Irish cabbage with bacon, and even some soda bread muffins.
  2. Break out some green, quick as you can! Each year, the Division Ale House in Chicago offers “Green Eggs and Kegs,” which translates into breakfast and beer. The eggs are dyed green — and served with bacon and a pint of beer.
  3. Decorate your restaurant with a St. Patrick’s Day theme, and get your staff dress up or at least wear green for the holiday, too. Give away inexpensive wearables to unite all your guests in the sporting o’ the green.
  4. Offer craft beers brewed especially for the holiday, and market Irish liquors, lagers and ales. A special holiday cocktail or flavored coffee will be in demand.
  5. Create and serve nonalcoholic beverages, like a vanilla-mint shake, matcha-white hot chocolate, or even a lime green punch. These sweet indulgences will put guests in a celebratory mood.
  6. Engage guests with games, like a treasure hunt, where they are awarded prizes for finding “treasures” hidden in the restaurant.
  7. Use a shamrock symbol next to menu items you want to move. And since the holiday is celebrated on the 17th, you might want to think about offering a 17% discount to items you’d really like to sell.
  8. Bring in a live band to rock the Irish music so your patrons can dance the night away.
  9. Hold a Spirit of St. Patty’s Day contest where guests compete for Best Leprechaun costume or even a Pot of Gold trivia competition, where the winners receive a gift card to your restaurant.
  10. Offer some late night, sharable appetizers for a special price. Customers will be ready for them.

Most important is to make sure your employees serve alcohol responsibly. Learn more about safe service training solutions with the National Restaurant Association’s ServSafe Alcohol program.