How to get your restaurant ready for St. Patty’s Day

St. Patty's Day is a big one for restaurants and bars across America. Share this article

If you own a restaurant, you're going to need a lot more than the luck of the Irish to survive Saint Patrick's Day. It's one of the biggest bashes around the country, which can either be fortuitous or disastrous for your establishment. Forget the leprechaun, and follow these pointers to make good on the boisterous celebration.

Have a refresher on safety
For those who don't work in the restaurant industry, March 17 is a day to rejoice and toss back a few pints. For service industry folks, gearing up for St. Patty's Day can feel more like preparing for battle. Servers and bartenders will be memorizing drink specials, handling rowdy partiers and chugging ample energy drinks to keep up with the high volume of patrons. While there is much work to do, safety is at the forefront of flawless St. Patty's Day service.

If you haven't already done so, talk to your staff about the importance of slip-resistant footwear. On any given day of the year, employees have to worry about greasy floors and normal messes. But on widely celebrated holidays, they're faced with even more sticky situations stemming from spilled beer, tipsy guests and festive costumes gone awry.

"Proper footwear is key to operating smoothly."

Proper footwear is key to operating smoothly. Encourage your staff to purchase a pair of slip-resistant shoes so they don't fall head over heals in the middle of service. A good pair of shoes also prevents injuries, such as kitchen burns. 

While you're on the topic of safety, it couldn't hurt to hold a refresher course on alcohol service. At pre-meals leading up to St. Patty's Day, review information from the TIPS training course with your crew. These simple measures could save you and your employees money from potential lawsuits, medical bills and broken property.

Offer a unique spin on Guinness
In addition to ensuring the safety of your staff and guests, beer, the staple drink of St. Patty's Day, should be on your radar. The Irish holiday is the perfect time to revamp your brew menu. Go above and beyond this year by adding beer combinations to the mix.

Fill a pint glass with equal parts of two different beers for a completely new taste. Here are a few classic options, suggested by The Perfectly Happy Man blog:

  • Black and Tan: Guinness and Bass
  • Half and Half: Guinness and Harp
  • Black and Blue: Guinness and Blue Moon
  • Black Velvet: Guinness and Strongbow Cider.

Prepare a big batch o' cocktails
You don't have to sacrifice quality for quantity to create festive cocktails this year. Restaurants are increasingly preparing big batches of boozy refreshments, which means your bartenders can provide patrons with craft cocktails without excessive muddling, shaking and stirring during the big push on St. Patty's Day.

Don't forgo quality for quantity this St. Patty's Day.Don't forgo quality for quantity this St. Patty's Day.

Boston.com specified that big batch cocktails are not to be confused with punch. Nor are they sangria. They're festive libations that are prepped in larger quantities several days in advance. The publication did a little digging to get bartenders' perspectives.

Try this recipe
Curtis McMillan from Wink & Nod, a hip speakeasy, gave Boston.com his recipe for Barbarian's Rum Cup. Here's what you'll need to make 30 servings.

  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 2 cups Orgeat almond syrup
  • 1 1/2 bottles Myers Jamaican rum
  • 1 1/2 bottles Monkey Shoulder Blended Malt Scotch Whisky
  • 6 dashes Angostura bitters

Toss the aforementioned ingredients into a giant bucket and simply add ice to complete the drink, suggested McMillan. Although this recipe was recommended for a Fourth of July party, you can put an Irish spin on it by adding a drop of Creme de Menthe. A small portion can dye the drink green without altering the flavor.

Play these top 10 St. Patty's Day songs
Perhaps the only aspect of business that's second to drinks on St. Patty's Day is the ambiance. Many people who go out to celebrate are looking for the frills. If you're expecting a solid bar crowd, put together a festive playlist. Last FM came up with the top 100 songs for St. Patrick's Day. Here are 10 of them. 

  1. Danny Boy
  2. I'll Take You Home Again Kathleen
  3. Bunch of Thyme
  4. Cliffs of Dooneed
  5. Forty Shades of Green
  6. Clare Tune
  7. Sing Irishmen Sing
  8. All For Me Grog
  9. Gypsy Rover
  10. An Irish Lullaby

Come March 17, your beverages and ambiance will be taken care of, freeing you and the rest of your staff up to keep an eye on everyone's alcohol consumption. Preparation trumps luck any day of the year.


Gripping news brought to you by Shoes For Crews, the trusted leader in safety footwear for more than 30 years.

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