Going Beyond Green Beer for St. Patrick’s Day
St. Patrick’s Day is big, big business in the United States.
A recent study by the National Restaurant Association found that more than a quarter of Americans plan to visit a bar or restaurant this year on St. Patrick’s Day. Perhaps more importantly for owners and managers, 41 percent of those polled referenced either traditional Irish menu items or holiday-specific promotions as the biggest factor in making their choice of where to celebrate.
In other words, a lot of people are ready to spend money on March 17 and your bar has some say in where they do it. Here is a short primer on how to get the most out of the St. Patrick’s Day:
Know Your History
For starters, it’s “Paddy’s” not “Patty’s.” Pat is a form of Patrick (an English name), while Paddy comes from the Irish name Padraig. Don’t make the most rookie of rookie mistakes.
Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, died on March 17, 461 at the age of 74. The first parade for St. Patrick’s Day was held in Boston, Massachusetts in 1737. The holiday has been growing and evolving ever since, most recently in the mid 1990’s when the country of Ireland expanded it into a multi-day event promoting Irish heritage.
The point being there are cultural and historical components to tap into if you wish. Just because your bar doesn’t usually cater to the rowdy (and usually younger) crowd, doesn’t mean you can’t focus on the day as a way to bring in more business.
Food and Drink
As mentioned in the NRA study, St. Patrick’s Day celebrants follow the party. So give them what they want.
There are numerous Irish items you can add to the menu that day. The only limitations are your budget and the talent of your kitchen. Corned beef, Irish Stew and Shepherds Pie are a few of the more well-known options, but there is no reason to limit yourself. Take a look at desserts, appetizers or giving your regular menu an Irish accent. If you think you’ll able to do it well, explore a menu addition or adding some Irish flair.
Obviously, alcohol is the “big ticket item” when it comes to St. Paddy’s Day. Green beer is easy but does have the potential to off a few of the purists in your community. So make sure you’re thinking outside the box. Target a few Paddy’s cocktails to highlight and offer specials on those items. Whiskey-based shooters and different types of Irish coffees are just a few ideas here.
Creating a superior St. Patrick’s Day atmosphere requires going above and beyond food and drink. Nightclub.com highlighted five keys to generating more revenue that day.
One of its more valuable tips was to “differentiate yourself.” You are undoubtedly aware of what the competition does on St. Patrick’s Day. So make a point to offer your customers what the “other guys” don’t. Whether it’s live entertainment or door prizes, try and fill the void left by bars that aren’t putting as much into the day.
One more aspect touched on by Nightclub.com was to make sure you are equipped for a day with the potential for additional security needs. People tend to overdo it on St. Patrick’s Day, and you need to make sure you have enough staff to help ensure a safe celebration for everybody involved.
St. Patrick’s Day can be one of the biggest days of the year for your bottom line, so long as you put in the time and effort.
How do you plan to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day this year at your bar or restaurant?