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How to boost your customer numbers for the big spring events

Inspire your customers and up those profit margins with these new ideas and opportunities for Mother's Day, St Patrick's Day and St George's Day.

Mother's Day

Cards and flowers are a must for Mother’s Day, but why not put on a different treat for mums visiting your venue? Try an afternoon tea or dessert extravaganza, sprinkled with extra touches.

Afternoon tea time

Tiers of sandwiches, scones and cakes plus a pot of coffee or tea is Mother’s Day heaven. Get prepped in advance by making bakes that store well – think coloured macaroons, mini Victoria sponges and small squares of chocolate cheesecake. Try some unusual bread choices to upgrade your offer. An open rye sandwich with smoked salmon, dill and horseradish-spiked cream cheese would be delicious.

Give yourself plenty of time on the day to make fresh scones and stock up on clotted cream. Make your own jam if you really want to push the boat out. Give the option to ‘go premium’ on the afternoon tea with a glass of wine, a cocktail or fizz as an add-on.

Afternoon tea cakes

Pudding club

Made famous by The Three Ways House Hotel in The Cotswolds, pudding clubs have now become more common across the UK. Yet they are still rare enough to be a very special treat.

The usual routine is a glass of bubbly, followed by a light main course, and then the puddings commence! Five, six or seven puddings is quite normal, with a goody bag to take home if customers can’t make it through them all. If you’re a venue known for your fabulous homemade desserts, why not introduce it for a special Mother’s Day treat and other upcoming events. Charge a set price per head and take pre-bookings to make planning easier.

Try out this decadent French toast as one of your puddings.

Remember the little touches

Make it really special for your customers – a half-price or free drink for mum as she arrives and a small gift of chocolates or flowers to take home would make the day all the more memorable. Use social media to advertise your offer beforehand, so customers know they’re going to get something special. Alternatively, provide your offer as a last minute ‘surprise and delight’ moment.

Bubbly with strawberry
“Customers are prepared to pay 12% more than normal on occasions like Mother's Day”
- Paymentsense Restaurant Insights 2020

St Patrick's Day

One of the big party nights in the calendar, Ireland’s saint’s day in 2021 might be a little different, but that doesn’t mean any less fun.

The top tipples

As well as the obligatory Guinness, give your customers a taste of the other classic Irish drinks. Make a special themed menu with cocktails, shots, shorts and bottles to show the variety of drinks Ireland has to offer.

Whiskey is a must – try The Pogues Single Malt, created in a West Cork distillery. It’s fantastic served on the rocks or in a cocktail like this Iced Irish. The Dubliner Irish Whiskey and Honeycomb is a great option for customers who like their drinks a little sweeter. Serve the liqueur in a frozen shot glass.

Put on a memorable menu

Take pre-bookings for a night of traditional Irish food and music. As well as the essentials – leek and potato soup and Irish stew – cook up some soda bread flavoured with smoky bacon, spring onion and cheese. The no-yeast loaf is simple to make and delicious served alongside the soup and stew with some Irish butter.

Other meals to consider are bacon and cabbage or colcannon, and boxty, which is a fried pancake made of mashed and grated potato. Top the boxty with bacon and eggs for breakfast, brunch or lunch.

If you’re looking for a great dessert, a certain domestic goddess has a chocolate stout cake worth trying or you could go a bit leftfield and serve a fruit porter cake with Irish cheddar. Remember an Irish cream liqueur or coffee to finish off the evening nicely.

Irish stew

St George's Day

A pint and a snack is exactly the thing to kick off the St George’s Day festivities. Consider a deal on a pack of nuts or crisps and your on-tap beers and ciders.

Make sure your snacks are easily seen at the bar. More than a third of customers purchase snacks because they noticed them while getting a drink and 52% of customers purchase them on impulse (CGA Pub Snacking habits survey April 2020). This means the position of your snacks offer and display is super important. Rustic baskets, wooden boxes or clip-strips behind the bar will really get your snack selection front and centre of customers’ attention.

Create a snack takeaway box

Bump up lunchtime trade with a St George’s takeaway box filled with English goodies. You could also sell them as a snack box to take home after a few drinks. Fill the box with:

1 Flaky sausage rolls flavoured with onion marmalade or thyme and cheddar. They’re quick to make or buy them in to save time
2 A bag of nuts such as KP Salted, Dry Roasted or Honey Roast Peanuts. Perfect for those lunchtime munchy moments
3 Chunky Scotch eggs spiked with chilli. Choose some with top-quality pork to get customers coming back for more
4 Scones with cream and jam. Scoop the jam and clotted cream into sealed pots or look out for mini jars of jam for a premium feel
5 Marmite and cheese straws are a real celebration of the iconic spread. Put plenty in the box – they’ll disappear!
6 Don’t forget crisps – try English classics Walkers or Tyrells. Depending on the size of your box, opt for small or sharing bags.
Men doing cheers
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