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Profitable Promotions

Tapping Into St. Patrick's Day Revelers

February 26, 2013 By: Alissa Ponchione


The luck of the Irish has never been so prevalent as it is at McGinty’s Public House in Silver Spring, Maryland. St. Patrick’s Day isn’t just a one-day event for manager Gerry Lee and his staff, but an annual can’t-miss holiday. Nightclub & Bar checked in with Lee on their plans for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day, so if you haven’t started planning yet you can take some helpful hints from them.  

Every St. Patrick’s Day—this year the party starts at 2 p.m. on March 17—McGinty’s has Irish dancers, Irish fare and drinks for revelers, as well as Celtic rock music from The Forty Piece—a band so popular that Lee books them for next year’s St. Patrick’s Day right after their set ends. “If you don’t have music, then people just look at each other. Therefore, we tie it down well in advance,” he quips.

Because this is McGinty’s sixth year hosting a St. Patrick’s Day party, Lee says that the planning “gets easier with time.” Though, he admits, the first year any event is held, there will be issues. Now Lee knows how much beer will be consumed, how to staff the event and how to capitalize on the food without running out, which means including an abbreviated menu of Irish lamb stew, fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, green beer and more. 

One of the most important things when you begin your planning is understanding your demographic. McGinty’s is a serious party that now attracts families, young revelers and professionals from office buildings down the street to the pub. But it’s important when you first start out to understand what your clientele expects from this type of promotion.  Lee also reminds us that there can be a difference in “the demographic of people who are there” compared to regular business hours.

Therefore, you need to plan for challenges. “It’s a three-day weekend rolled into one day,” Lee says. “Logistically, it’s challenging.” To overcome those challenges, Lee “treats it as a really busy weekend day and night,” he explains, which means combating rowdy revelers. “You have to calm them down a little bit,” he advises. “You get the enthusiastic revelers and you have to be diplomatic.”

For Lee, staffing is the biggest issue when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day. When staff is working all day, it can be daunting for them. “Crowds are coming non-stop,” he says. “It’s a slow build-up from lunch then into mid-evening and by night, the staff is exhausted.” The key, he says, is to motivate the staff. “They know it’s tough, but it’s worthwhile monetary-wise," he says. 

St. Patrick’s Day is a unique holiday, says Lee. “It’s celebrated all over the world.” Every owner or manager should be planning something to capitalize on the profits they can make on this festive holiday.


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