By Nick Fosberg   |   February 19, 2016

St Paddy’s Day Bar Restaurant Promotions

Hello and welcome to another episode of bar owner tv. St Paddy’s day, one of the bar industries busiest days of the year is right around the corner and I wanted to give you some tips and ideas to make your St Paddy’s Day promotion a huge success.

I just recently read an article from the National Restaurant Association about what consumers are saying and how they go about choosing where they will be going on St Paddy’s Day.

More than a quarter of Americans say they will visit a bar or restaurant and a majority of those people, will pick their favorite place whether there is a theme or not.

29 percent said they favor a restaurant or bar that offers St. Patrick’s Day menu items, such as green beer or traditional Irish food. Women were almost twice as likely as men to indicate that they find food and drink most important when selecting an eatery (41 percent versus 22 percent).

Overall, 28 percent of adults said they plan to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a restaurant or bar. Younger adults are also more likely to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in a restaurant or bar than older adults; 41 percent of 18-34-year-olds, compared with roughly one-quarter of those 35 and above.

These where some interesting facts that I thought I would share with you that may change the way you market your St Paddy’s day celebration.

Here’s my philosophy, if you know you are going to be slammed on St Paddy’s day there’s no reason to give away the bar. There’s no reason to heavily discount your drinks. Why? People are not going out on St Paddy’s day for drink specials, just like the research shows, they are going out to celebrate the holiday. Just another excuse to party is the way I look at it.

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have specials, you should. Just don’t get too carried away with real cheap drink specials because that’s not what’s bringing people in. It’s the holiday.

So here’s a few ideas for you that I mention in my March edition of the Bar Profit Secrets Newsletters and if you want to become a member, I will have a link at the end of the video so you can get more information.

So Because St Paddy’s Day falls on a Sunday you should offer corn beef and cabbage, rueben’s, or whatever your Irish menu consists of from
Thursday to Sunday instead of ONLY on St Paddy’s Day. YES there are some people who don’t want to deal with the wild crowd who would like your Irish dinner. This could help you attract more business before the big event.

To get people in really early you could do a GREEN EGGS & BEER special and serve early morning breakfast. Eggs are dirt cheap, add some hash, and your looking at a buck to buck fifty a plate. Give it away and get people in early drinking your green beer.
You could also do a Hottest Leprechaun Contest! Get your staff involved with this and have them find 5-10 ladies who want to be apart of it. Give each of the ladies a $20 bar tab, costs you $5 in real cost per person, and give away a prize that would draw some interest to the women.

If you are not sure what to give away? Ask your staff! Get suggestions. This promotion could be as easy as getting the girls on top of the bar wearing a promotional St Paddy’s Day T-Shirt from your bar and whoever gets the loudest cheer wins. You could also buy some leprechaun hats and have them wear them during the contest.

The point of this is to draw some attention. Do something simple, yet different then everyone else, and get people excited about it. Make them choose you over your competition. Ladies travel in groups and when guys here about the hottest leprechaun contest, where do you think they want to be?

I suggest you do this kind of promotion later at night when you have the younger crowd in the bar because they are more likely to do this and with the holiday being on a Sunday, you want to keep people around as long as possible. Another good idea would be to have a staff member get video of it on their iphone and post this to your Facebook page and on your website.

Lets talk about a high profit item that I think every bar should have. Green jello shots are big sellers and they are cheap to make. Use 1oz of a low priced Irish whiskey or Jameson and call them Irish Slime, Leprechaun Jelly, or whatever the hell you want to come up with. For each jello shot they get, give them a ticket for a chance to win something.

You could also run a “ Are You Feeling Lucky??” promotion. To start promoting St Paddy’s Day early buy some green envelopes and put multiple offers in them such as a free drink, free dinner, 20% off tab, 1/2 off food, and one or two BIG ticket items. The only way they can win is by bringing in the envelope on St Paddy’s Day and can only be opened by their server in order to win. On the outside of the envelope put “Are You Feeling Lucky?” and put the possible prizes on the outside.

You could also say that you are giving away a pot of gold. Buy some of those chocolates that are wrapped in gold foil and stick a few hundred dollars in the pot of gold.

The idea is to promote that there will be one big winner but also that EVERYONE is a winner with the smaller prizes and they can only win by opening at your bar the day of the event.

Here’s another idea that just came to mind. Maybe you have a really hot bartender that all the guys love, one of the prizes could be a kiss from that person! Now of course you will want to talk to that person about this and maybe it’s just a kiss on the cheek or she hands that person a Hershey kiss. It’s totally up to you and that person but the idea is to get your customers talking, get them excited, and start thinking outside the box.

Please leave your comments or questions at the the bottom of the page and please share this video with others in our industry.


Nick Fosberg

Nick Fosberg is known as one of the highest paid, marketing and promotional consultants in the bar & restaurant industry and he owns 2 bar / restaurants in the Chicagoland area. He's famous for creating some of the highest grossing digital marketing promotions in the history of the bar & restaurant business..... without spending a penny on marketing. All done through e-mail & Facebook posts. 

Click here to get a free copy of my latest book.

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