According to GuestMetrics, based on its database of POS sales, food & beverage sales over the St. Patrick’s 3-day Weekend posted solid sales growth of +2.5 percent compared to the prior year benefitting from the holiday falling on a Sunday this year vs. Saturday year ago.

“Comparing the rolled up period of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday this year against the same period from last year, St. Patrick’s Weekend posted healthy sales growth of 2.5 percent, the net result of traffic being about 1 percent below last year’s level but pricing up 4 percent. So even though traffic was a little soft, the strong pricing more than made up for that, which should be a positive for the operators,” says Bill Pecoriello, CEO of GuestMetrics LLC. 

“In terms of the specific segments within on-premise, bars benefitted more from the holiday falling on Sunday with 3-day sales up 6 percent, the net result of traffic up 2 percent and pricing up 4 percent, while restaurants’ performance was a bit weaker, with sales up 2 percent, traffic down 2 percent, and pricing also up 4 percent. On the whole, given the general weakness in on-premise during the final quarter of 2012 and the beginning of 2013, the weekend turned out to show healthier results. Looking specifically at the alcoholic beverage category for the St. Patrick’s Weekend this year versus the prior year, sales of total alcoholic beverages were up 3.2 percent while the number of total alcoholic drinks ordered was down 0.8 percent.”

“Digging deeper the dollar sales growth was largely driven by the spirits and wine categories, which both posted sales growth at around 6 percent, while food and cocktails sales grew about 2 percent, and beer and non-alcoholic beverage dollar sales were both flattish compared to the prior year,” says Peter Reidhead, VP of Strategy and Insights at GuestMetrics. “In terms of the actual number of drinks ordered, which is the more relevant metric for the alcohol suppliers, wine was up 6 percent, spirits was up 2 percent, cocktails were down 2 percent, and beer was down 4 percent, so while we usually think of St. Patrick’s Day as a heavy beer occasion, consumer preferences appear to have shifted to spirits and wine this year.”

“In terms of comparing the actual date of March 17th from last year, which fell on a Saturday, against St. Patrick’s Day this year, which fell on a Sunday, food and beverage sales this year are about 33 percent below last year, which is why we believe it is more meaningful to compare the rolled up weekends against each other,” says Brian Barrett, President of GuestMetrics. “In terms of the specific days we analyzed, Friday Alcohol Beverage sales this year were up 2.5 percent, Saturday Alcohol Beverage sales were down 4.9 percent, and Sunday Alcohol Beverage sales were up 24 percent driving the 3-day period up 3.2 percent.” 

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