In March, as the trees begin to turn green, bars are following suit by going green for St. Patrick’s Day. What was once a single day to celebrate Irish heritage has become a month of festivities at bars, restaurants, and city centers.

60% of Americans are expected to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this year, which has bars and restaurants seeing green in more ways than one. Restaurants can follow these 3 tips to find their very own pot o’ gold this St. Patrick’s Day.

 

1. Go Green – Literally

Green wasn’t always the color associated with St. Patrick’s Day, but we’ve gone shamrock-crazy in the last few decades. Some bars roll out green decor and drink specials as early as March 1st to start attracting revelers. Let your staff accessorize their uniforms with some green for the occasion!

If your restaurant serves alcohol, make sure they’re stocked with green beer, specialty green cocktails, and plenty of support staff for the rush of patrons who’ll be ordering drinks. St. Patrick’s Day is one of the busiest bar holidays of the year – with celebrants around the world drinking 5.5 million more pints of Guinness than they do on an average day. Irish Coffee, Irish Car Bomb cocktails, and Irish whiskey will be flying off the shelves, so make sure your inventory is stocked. You can also score points by having cabs or rideshare information on hand for guests who need a safe ride home.

 

2. Food for Thought

If your restaurant doesn’t serve liquor, there are plenty of foods that can get guests into the St. Patty’s Day spirit. Of all the people celebrating this holiday, 50% plan to do so with food. Of course, some of these will be cooking their own traditional Irish meals – including corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, and Irish soda bread. However, the National Retail Federation predicts that 27% of guests will celebrate by attending a party at a bar or a restaurant.

This is a great time to serve traditional Irish meals that appeal to your guests. You may even consider extending your hours on 3/17, to capture the business of hungry, late-night partygoers. So what if your sushi restaurant isn’t equipped to serve corned beef and cabbage? Any festive green food will capture these diners’ fancy. Whether you’re serving spinach or mint ice cream, get ready to turn your restaurant (and your cash register) bright green.

 

3. March Ahead

St. Patty’s Day parades have been an American tradition since 1737. The parade actually began in Boston, and found its way to Ireland years later as a means to boost tourism. This is a great day for people to travel to big cities like Chicago, which is famous for dyeing the Chicago River green for the holiday. If your business is located in a metropolitan area, you’ll be surrounded by people who don’t know their way around, and are looking for delicious ways to celebrate.

Send a food truck or a runner to the parade near you. You can sell food directly, or pass out flyers inviting marchers to continue the festivities at your nearest location. Try implementing a quick and easy loyalty program for new customers, like 50% off their first drink if they bring in a voucher.

St. Patrick’s Day is holiday that brings plenty of green. $5.2 billion was spent on this holiday in 2017, and that total is expected to rise in 2018. Make sure your restaurant is shamrockin’ so guests come a-knockin’!