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10 Last-Minute Saint Patrick’s Day Promo Ideas for Your Restaurant

10 Last-Minute Saint Patrick’s Day Promo Ideas for Your Restaurant

On March 17, restaurants and bars around the world will serve countless pints of beer to an estimated 33 million people for Saint Patrick’s Day, generating roughly 5.3 billion dollars in sales.

It doesn’t matter if your establishment doesn’t typically cater to the Saint Patrick’s day crowd, there’s always a way you can get in on the action while staying true to your cuisine and your clientele. That’s why we’ve put together a list of last-minute ways to monetize Saint Paddy’s and make some serious green.

A successful St. Patrick’s Day in your restaurant includes:

Deliver perfect service every shift

With Lightspeed, you can get your front of house and back of house up and running in just moments. Create custom floor plans, build customizable menus, take payments and manage your whole business from one intuitive platform.


10 Last-minute Saint Patrick’s Day promos and events for restaurants

You don’t have the luxury of time, but you need to run some promos to draw guests to your establishment, keep them entertained and offer them value. Here are a few promotion ideas that are easy to set up and execute.

1. Run a Saint Paddy’s Day Instagram contest

If your establishment caters to a younger crowd, a social media photo contest is a surefire way to get a ton of user-generated content for your Instagram and Facebook pages and increase your customer engagement.

Play on the “lucky” theme and run a social contest with these simple participation guidelines:

  • Guests take a picture of themselves at your establishment
  • They tag your establishment’s Instagram account and location
  • In addition, they include your contest hashtag in their caption (#GetLucky, for example)
  • Finally, they post the picture

On March 18, you use an Instagram raffle software like Easypromos to determine the contest winner. Then, post an Instagram photo to announce the winner and an Instagram Story that shows some of the contest’s best submissions while thanking them all for participating.

Take it even further: With a contest like this, your Instagram is going to get flooded with photos you’re tagged in. Use them to show all your Instagram followers that your establishment is the place to be on March 17th by sharing them the day’s Instagram story ?

2. Run a special loyalty promo

Everyone likes a good deal, and 83% of customers love loyalty programs, so merge the two together!

If you have a loyalty program that’s available in any smartphone app store, your goal is to get as many people to download it as possible. Consider offering a “one day only” offer where your loyalty program members get 7% off beer and Jameson lucky them!

Customers get an immediate kickback on something they were going to buy anyways while accumulating points that they can use the next time they visit your establishment, and you essentially secure repeat business. Everyone wins!

Tip: Smartphone app-based loyalty programs have a ton of benefits, the most important of which is that you’re collecting your customers’ contact information and purchase history. Equipped with that data, you can create personalized offers later on.

3. 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.

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 businesses 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 a broader category, like 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 they get an automatic chance to win just by coming in.

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 or 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. Patrick’s Day 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 moneymaker 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.


Put your unique spin on traditional Irish dishes

Of course, you’re going to want to stock up on Jameson whiskey and Guinness beer, but you should also consider adding some traditional Irish dishes to your menu for the big day.

  1. Corned beef and cabbage
  2. Shepherd’s pie
  3. Fish and chips
  4. Irish soda bread

If your establishment isn’t known for working-class, hearty meals like the ones listed above, you can always add a Saint Paddy’s Day twist to your existing menu items and have your servers call it out as your special for the day.

For example: Let’s say your establishment is a Mexican-style eatery best known for tapas-style soft shell tacos. Consider adding an Irish-inspired beef taco served with coleslaw, avocado puree, cilantro, and a dash of jalapeno to give it some kick.

Alternative: Maybe you’re a brunch spot and all the above menu items don’t fit in well with your menu. Consider adding a Lucky Charms Latte like Montreal’s Melbourne Cafe

For those of you who are St. Patrick’s day pros, streamline those slim food cost margins by optimizing your inventory. Look back on your records from years past and see how much of each type of dish, beer and other items were sold and match up your ordering for the week to those numbers. If you’re not already keeping track of holiday stock, whether through manual or an automated inventory system, getting started this year will help you better prepare for future holidays and occasions.


Customer satisfaction and safety on St. Patrick’s Day

Keep your guests safe

Maybe it’s something in the air, or maybe it’s all the green beer and Jameson shots, but Saint Patrick’s Day tends to get rowdier than other holidays. Show your guests that you care for their safety and set up a safe ride program. Whether you partner up with a local taxi company or set up promo codes with popular transportation services like Lyft or Uber, your goal here is to show your guests that you care for their wellbeing.

Show customers that you appreciate them

Once the festivities are done, it’s important to show your customers that you appreciate their business. There are a ton of ways that you can do this. Our personal favorite is to post a quick video on Instagram and Facebook of you and your team thanking them for stopping by, enjoying your atmosphere and choosing to celebrate Saint Paddy’s with you.


Streamline your restaurant operations

With Lightspeed’s restaurant POS and management system, you can offer tableside ordering, track inventory, start a loyalty program and view reports to see what’s working. Chat with one of our restaurant experts to see how technology can help you streamline your operations and make more informed decisions. 

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