Sour beer flight

St. Patrick’s Day is a big marketing opportunity for bars and restaurants during the month of March. The holiday always occurs on the 17th, and falls on a Sunday this year, ensuring the celebrations will begin early on Friday and continue throughout the weekend. And there’s no reason why you can’t creative a fun and festive atmosphere all month long with creative St. Patrick’s Day bar idea, or a themed St. Patrick’s day menu.

People across the country celebrate in a number of different ways, but food, drink and music tend to be at the heart of most celebrations. Sure, you could serve green beer, but there are a variety of other great St. Patrick’s Day bar promotion ideas you can try to incorporate.

No matter how people in your area choose to celebrate, you want to be sure you’re serving up a St. Patrick’s Day offering that will attract revelers into your restaurant. Here are nine marketing ideas to encourage people to raise a glass and celebrate St. Paddy’s at your bar or restaurant. Even better, some ideas like the St. Patrick’s day games and raffles can draw family crowds all day long and help increase spending, while creating a memorable experience that will bring guests back long after the festivities end.

Here are some St. Patrick’s Day promotion ideas worth trying:

1. Offer a special St. Patrick’s day menu on the 17th, or for the entire weekend

Optimizing your menu for a holiday like St. Patrick’s Day is easy. What better way to share in the tradition than to offer some tasty treats to your restaurant and bar patrons. Take a tip from Crossroads Irish Pub in Boston and start early with a traditional Irish breakfast or brunch. This usually includes fried eggs, Irish sausage, Irish bacon, along with toast, beans, and home fries on the side. For lunch and dinner, you can put your own spin on corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Guinness stew, and more.

2. Feature some live music, and maybe even some bagpipes

Traditional Irish music is a great way to get your guests dancing, enjoying themselves, and sticking around for more than a single round. Have space limitations? Think about going with an acoustic band, that can set up anywhere in your establishment because they aren’t reliant on a power supply. If you know of a local bagpiping band, that could be another unique way to draw a crowd.

3. Ensure safe travels for your patrons

St. Patrick’s Day does tend to get a bit more rowdy than other days, which is why you can promote your commitment to keep everyone safe by promoting a safe ride program. Whether you partner up with a local cab company or offer promo codes for Uber or Lyft, it’s a nice perk that shows your customers that their safety and a responsible good time are a priority.

Plan a St. Patrick’s Day that your customers will never forget with help from our Restaurant Marketing Guide.

4. Set up a St. Paddy’s day photo booth

If you tend to get a younger crowd, they’ll love posing with their friends in a photo booth. Be sure to add lots of props like big red beards, leprechaun hats, and fun sayings for them to wear or hold up. Of course, be sure to encourage them to post their pics on social media, using a hashtag that you create, and tagging your restaurant.

5. Invite other local business to join the fun

Teaming up with other local businesses is a great way create a true party atmosphere and to draw a crowd. With several businesses working together, each one can promote the event to their customers. For example, a community in Houston put an Irish carnival that included games, a dunking booth, a Lucky Charms eating contest and prizes for the best dressed. Guests could also purchase small bites, jello shots and, of course, beer.

6. Host a trivia night during the week of St. Paddy’s

Besides the day itself, it might be worthwhile to come up with some fun St. Patrick’s Day games that can attract customers during the week. Trivia is a fun and easy to test your customers’ knowledge of St. Patrick’s day, Irish culture, or maybe just green things.

7. Hide some four-leaf clovers around the restaurant

Speaking of St. Patty’s Day bar party ideas, why not host a scavenger hunt? You can place lucky four-leaf clovers in random areas and wait for guests to discover them. Or, you can let your customers know in advance on social media that you’ll be hiding clovers under random guest chairs, so if they come in, they have an automatic chance to win.

Pint Glass Beer

8. Announce a St. Patrick’s Day raffle

Especially if you’re getting other local businesses in on the fun, a raffle could be a good way to draw people in. You can offer baskets that feature items donated with half of the money going to a local charity.

9. Offer a clever discount

What if you offered 17% off all of your green drinks? That could include green beer, Apple Martinis, and Grasshoppers. Or give on-the-spot discounts to the people wearing the most green. However you frame it, patrons love a fun holiday promotion.

10. Try some “lucky” marketing

As St. Pat’s approaches, stay in touch with customers on your email list and on social media to let them know that you’re lucky to have their business. It’s a great way to thank them for their patronage. You can also share short videos of your bartender and other staff members about why they feel lucky to work at your restaurant. Customers respond well to positivity and goodwill.

St. Patrick’s Day is a money maker for most restaurants, especially if you have a busy bar area. Try thinking beyond green beer this year, so you can create some buzz and excitement about your St. Patrick’s Day promotion ideas. If you do it right, you can be reworded with your very own pot of gold—happy customers and a great week of sales.

What does it take to be an effective restaurant marketer? The strategies you need (and everything you ever wanted to know) are in one place.

Written by   |  
Dawn Papandrea is freelance writer based in New York. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Family Circle, WomansDay.com, and more. She loves trying new restaurants with her family and friends in her spare time.