Five dates that generate high pub and restaurant sales

Suppliers and operators can secure big sales on key occasions in Ireland’s on trade in 2024 - and CGA by NIQ’s OPUS research reveals how to achieve them

55% of people pair food and beer when eating out compared to 37% when eating at home.

Consumers remain eager to enjoy national holidays and family occasions in bars and restaurants in the Republic and Northern Ireland, and a treat mentality means they are ready to spend. However, with the cost of living crisis and high inflation putting pressure on disposable incomes, it’s crucial to understand who and when to target, and which categories work best on these occasions. Here are five of the key days for the diary in 2024.

1 St Patrick’s Day
This remains Ireland’s biggest single occasion, and OPUS shows two in five (40%) consumers visit the on premise to celebrate it. This number rises to 49% among those aged 18 to 34, who also over-index for drinking spirits and visiting high-tempo, drink-led outlets. There’s a great chance to capture sales and establish brand loyalty in this valuable age group—throughout the day but especially later in the evening.

2 Mother’s Day
Outside of St Patrick’s Day, it is the family led occasion Mother’s Day that is most popular. Well over a quarter (29%) typically visit the on premise for this occasion, while 59% say being with family is a top priority in general. It’s another big day for spirits, with Mother’s Day consumers over-indexing for cocktails by 11 percentage points, and a vital moment to engage less frequent users of bars and restaurants.

3 New Year’s Eve
December is the top month for Ireland’s on premise, and the most popular day of all is New Year’s Eve, when 29% of consumers typically go out. Christmas Eve isn’t far behind on 25%, and CGA’s Ireland Christmas Report shows there are smaller spikes on Boxing Day and Christmas Day.

4 Easter weekend
Easter can’t match Christmas for on premise sales, but with 21% of consumers visiting over the weekend, this is another important occasion to encourage brand trial and trade-ups—especially if the weather is good.

5 Bank holidays
Bank holidays deliver welcome boosts to sales through the Spring and Summer months. They tend to attract more frequent on premise users who are ready to treat themselves, and nearly half (48%) of Bank Holiday drinkers say they are likely to pay extra for a better quality drink.

Sian Brennan, CGA by NIQ’s client director, Ireland, said: “Consumers across the island of Ireland are keen to celebrate big occasions with family and friends in the on premise, but with money tight they want to be sure they’ll get a high quality and good value experience. Suppliers and brand owners need an expert understanding of people’s habits and expectations on key dates, and OPUS is here to deliver it.”


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