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Theme nights are a great way to bring in custom and drive sales at your outlet.

“Research from The UK Eating Out Market Data Report 2017 is showing that visits are flat but spend is up. This tells the industry that when people do go out they do so to indulge,” said Darren Chapman, Nestlé Professional business development chef. “Therefore operators need to create occasions to celebrate, and offer dishes that are different from their normal menu.” Why not host an Irish night or English night in light of St Patrick’s Day and St George’s Day?

Luck of the Irish

St Patrick’s Day on 17 March is now a huge celebration world wide – and not just for the Irish! A natural footfall driver for the on trade, St Patrick’s Day celebrations can provide consumers with a unique and memorable experience which ultimately supports our Great British Pub industry.

When to host
This year, the event falls on a Saturday, so it gives operators the chance to make it a weekend event. Running promotions from Friday through to Sunday will help maximise your total sales opportunity.

Stock up!
Guinness represents 95% of the total stout category*, so it is essential that licensees stock up and maintain perfect quality Guinness, whether it is through a 50L or 30L offering. Also stock up on premium drinks variants with a wide range of the best-selling brands.

How to do it
Operators need to drive footfall through activation and promotion in their outlets. Last year, those that used Guinness POS materials saw an average sales uplift of 96 pints* – a sales increase of about £352. Guinness is rolling out St. Patrick’s visibility kits across 11,000 outlets nationwide. Worth £20 each, they include flags, bunting and posters designed to increase visibility and engagement from the entrance of the outlet through to the point of purchase. Hats will also be available, which are popular with consumers and can be used for giveaways and promotional activity. And don’t forget to dress up your staff – lots of green and a leprechaun, or two.

• Screen the Six Nations rugby match between England and Ireland on 17 March – Guinness drinkers visit the pub more frequently than other beer drinkers* so showing the match will encourage more customers to your venue, driving rate of sale and pints in hand.
• Serve an Irish-themed menu – Irish sausages and mash, beef and Guinness pie or grilled steak with whiskey sauce are perfect. Sharing plates or finger food is a good option too. Soda bread, pasties, mini bacon and cabbage pies or Irish stew are all popular.

Sources: CGA; GB On Trade; Volume (HL); MAT to P10 (07/10/17), Kantar Worldpanel 12 months to June 2017,CGA Nielsen Strategy Reports, 2017

By George!

St George’s Day on 23 April recognises the patron saint of England who, legend has it, slayed a dragon and saved a maiden in distress.

Who can celebrate?
Everyone! From cafes to care homes, outlets of any size can join in with the celebration. The occasion appeals to all ages, so operators are in a prime position to raise revenue whilst having a lot of fun!

How to do it
St George’s Day is becoming a popular day of celebration, and each year builds more interest and momentum. If you have a license then stocking a selection of English beers is a must, or make sure you are stocked up on traditional soft drinks, and of course tea! Stick with English favourites but quirky and creative dishes will make the event more memorable. Try swapping a traditional pie filling for chicken tikka, for example, or spice up a nice cup of tea by offering a traditional Rum Baba soaked in a tea infused stock syrup. Red and white St George’s cross flags to decorate your premises are a given and POS kits are available if needed. And don’t forget to dress up your staff – keep it simple with a red and white theme, or go all medieval with dragons, knights and maidens.

• Offer a free pint to servicemen or serve red and white cocktails
• Hire Morris dancers
• Arrange a cockney knees up!
• Hold a sing-along with nostalgic favourites
• Serve traditional soft drinks such as dandelion and burdock, barley water, cream sodas and ice cream sodas
• Hold an English history quiz
• Hire a bouncy castle and Maypole dancers if you want it to be a family event
• Give a rose to all the ladies on arrival. People wore them on their chests as a symbol of the saint
• Make all your dishes for the day English – starting with a full English! Cream teas, fish and chips, a roast dinner, pie and mash – even jellied eels!
• Sort the DJ playlist to be all English singers and bands

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