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18 St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Ideas and Promos That are Proven to Drive Sales [2024 Update]

18 St. Patrick’s Day Marketing Ideas and Promos That are Proven to Drive Sales [2024 Update]

On March 17, restaurants and bars around the world will serve countless pints of beer to millions of people for Saint Patrick’s Day, making it the highest grossing day for restaurants. 

St. Patrick’s Day is also a major event for retailers. Last year, the National Retail Federation (NRF), expected spending on St. Patrick’s Day-related items to hit $6.85 billion—the highest in the survey’s history. And while the NRF has yet to release the survey results for 2024, we can still expect an uptick in spending, as consumers prepare to celebrate. 

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, products. and your clientele. That’s why we’ve put together a list of Saint Paddy’s marketing ideas that can help you make some serious green.

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

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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 to 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 on 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 way 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 you have 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

Or, consider what Recess in Chicago did for St. Patrick’s Day 2023. To commemorate the event, Recess came up with specialists like the Sticky Orange Stout Cake with Orange Caramel, Lucky Charm Marshmallows, and Salted Caramel Ice Cream. 

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.

Pro tip: Use Lightspeed’s detailed reports to gain insights into your product performance. Dig into what sold (and what didn’t) in previous years, and use those insights to make menu decisions. 

For quick service restaurant Maynard, Lightspeed has been invaluable. 

“[Lightspeed Reports] are a really great feature, particularly the product reports. With product reports, I can see what products are selling or not selling,” says Owner & Chef Brodie Somerville. 

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.

Saint Patrick’s Day marketing for retailers

11. Show your St. Patrick’s Day spirit through your window and in-store displays

The best way to show people your St. Patrick’s Day spirit is to… well, show them. Decorate your store for the occasion. 

See to it that passers-by know that you’re celebrating the Irish holiday by decorating your window displays with the right props and merchandise. If you’re selling green or themed products, make sure they’re front and center. Check out what Flamingos Vintage Cardiff did for Saint Patrick’s in 2023.

The vintage shop filled its window display with St. Patrick’s Day apparel and accessories to showcase their themed inventory.

Consider doing the same thing in your store. If you’re selling green merchandise or if you have a collection that’s relevant to the holiday, display those products loud and proud in your shop.

12. Come up with St. Patrick’s Day collections

Another way to generate buzz is to come up with designs or collections specifically for St. Patrick’s Day. Limited edition designs or products work great because not only are they relevant to the season, but they’re not widely available all year which means you can promote a sense of exclusivity or urgency when selling them.

The gift shop Harry & David, for example, sells St. Patrick’s Day-themed food items like shamrock-shaped cookies and fruits dipped in chocolate with green decorations. 

13. Run a St. Patrick’s Day promotion

If it makes sense for your business, consider running a deal or promotion for St. Patrick’s Day. Look at what you have in stock and identify products that you need to move. Then, come up with a St. Patrick’s Day themed promotion. 

You can, for example…

  • Tack a 17% discount on select products. St. Patrick’s is celebrated on or around March 17, so this is a good way to stay relevant.
  • Attach a shamrock to the products you want to move, and include a discount.
  • Offer a promotion to people who come into the store wearing something green.
  • Put your green merchandise on sale. This is bound to be a popular one. According to NRF’s St. Patrick’s Day survey, 80% of respondents plan to celebrate by wearing green. 

14. Set up a dedicated section in your store

Make it easy for people to find your collections or promotions by having them all in a dedicated place in your store. If you have an ecommerce site, this means you should set up a “St. Patrick’s” category or page, and then promote it on your homepage with a special banner.

15. Get your employees in on the fun

You could deck your whole store with green props and merchandise, but if your employees aren’t in on the St. Patrick’s Day fun, then your efforts will fall short. 

So, let your employees show their St. Patty’s day spirit on and around the day itself. Get them to wear green; use props like pins or hats spice up their attire. 

You can also encourage them to interact with shoppers celebrating the Irish holiday. Perhaps they can use it to start a conversation with customers. 

Get creative. Meet with your staff and together, cook up ways to connect with customers on St. Patrick’s Day.

16. Host a St. Patrick’s Day event

If you have a highly engaged community, why not throw a St. Patrick’s Day event? Serve food and refreshments and come up with fun activities that attendees can get into.

Here’s a great example from Hellbender Harley-Davidson.

The dealership hosted the Feeling Lucky St. Patrick’s Day Party & In-Store Poker Run, an on-site event where people can play poker (best and worst hands win), enjoy food and refreshments, and even get a photo with a real leprechaun. 

17. Inspire people with ideas they can implement on St. Patty’s Day (with your help)

Consumers celebrating St. Patrick’s Day are on the lookout for recipe, decor or even outfit ideas. This gives you the perfect opportunity to share relevant content—particularly if you’re selling something that they can use.

For example, if you’re a food or homeware store, why not publish recipes or party guides for occasion? That’s what Williams Sonoma did when it published the article How to Host a Memorable St. Patrick’s Day Feast.

Are you a fashion retailer? Why not put together some St. Patty’s outfit ideas, like what Saturday Morning Pancakes is doing.

And when you publish your content, be sure to mention or link to any related products that you have, so shoppers can easily find and buy them.

18. Host a giveaway 

Being lucky is a common theme for St. Patrick’s Day, and it’s something you can use to drive engagement (and possibly sales) around the holiday. 

You can accomplish that through giveaways.

Encourage your customers to try their luck on St. Patty’s Day by running a contest. Here are a few ideas:

  • Hide “treasures” in your store and award prizes to those who find them
  • Give away prizes to customers who are wearing green
  • Ask people to show you how they’re celebrating the holiday and give out prizes to the best participants
  • Give away a St. Patty’s Day-themed product

Final words

“Luck” may be a common theme for St. Patrick’s Day, but don’t rely on it alone to drive engagement and sales. If you want to “get the green” on or around March 17th, you need to act early (read: now) and prep your business. 

Lightspeed helps you capitalize on key events like St. Patrick’s Day by giving you the tools you need to stock the right products and run smart promotions. Whether you’re crafting your menu for the 17th, stocking your retail shelves or coming up with creative offers Lightspeed’s POS and payments platform can help. 

Watch a demo for Lightspeed Retail or Lightspeed Restaurant.


When is St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day is on March 17th.

How do you market St. Patricks Day?

To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, businesses can host themed events, create and distribute marketing materials, incorporate the theme into product or service promotions, and run themed social media campaigns.

What businesses benefit from St. Patrick’s Day?

Businesses that benefit from St. Patrick’s Day include restaurants and bars, retail stores, event venues, and travel agencies. Restaurants and bars often offer special St. Patrick’s Day-themed menus and drinks, and they may also host live music or other entertainment. Retail stores may sell St. Patrick’s Day-themed merchandise, such as clothing, decorations, and food. Event venues may host St. Patrick’s Day-themed parties or festivals. Travel agencies may offer St. Patrick’s Day-themed travel packages to Ireland or other destinations.

What can I sell on St. Patrick’s Day?

St. Patrick’s Day presents a lucrative opportunity for businesses to capitalize on the festive spirit. Some of the most popular and profitable items you can consider selling during this holiday include St. Patrick’s Day-themed merchandise such as T-shirts, hats, and shamrocks

What are ways St. Patrick’s Day is celebrated?

One of the most common ways is to wear green. This is because green is the color of Ireland, and it is a way to show support for the country and its culture. Another way to celebrate St Patrick’s Day is to eat and drink Irish food and drinks. This includes dishes such as Irish stew, corned beef and cabbage, and soda bread. It also includes drinks such as Guinness and Irish whiskey. Finally, many people celebrate St Patrick’s Day by attending parades and festivals. These events often feature Irish music, dancing, and food.

Is St Patrick’s Day considered a business day?

Yes, it is considered a business day in most countries.

Why is St. Patrick’s Day considered lucky?

It is associated with the color green, which is often seen as a lucky color.

How much do consumers spend on St. Patrick’s Day?

In 2023, consumers in the United States were expected to spend an average of $45 on St. Patrick’s Day

How do you promote St. Patrick’s Day?

To promote St Patrick’s Day, decorate your storefront or office with St. Patrick’s Day decorations to create a festive atmosphere and draw attention from customers. 

You could also offer St. Patrick’s Day-themed discounts or promotions to entice customers to make purchases and engage with your business. Another idea is to host events and activities on social media platforms to reach a wider audience and generate excitement for your celebration.  

What foods are staples on St. Patrick’s Day?

Some of the common ones include:

  • Corned beef and cabbage
  • Potatoes
  • Irish stew
  • Soda bread


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