Don’t Just Come to Play, Come to Win: How to Score on Your Game Day Menu

The big game is around the corner, and whether you’re dealing in touchdowns and takeout, or defense and dining in, your team won’t be the only ones scoring big. In restaurant management and football, success lies in practice and preparation. Fear not – there won’t be any running drills or tackling dummies in your future. This Super Bowl season, your plays should showcase accurate forecasting, efficient ordering, and menus engineered to earn cheers from both teams. 

It’s no secret that the Super Bowl is an honorary holiday for restaurants, and no surprise that this year will bring in huge crowds. According to the National Retail Federation, of the 192.9 million football fans tuning into the game, 103.5 million plan on throwing or attending a party, while another 17.8 million plan to watch at their favorite restaurant or bar. We know what you’re thinking – that’s a lot of chicken wings! Considering the major spikes in take-out and delivery, operators should plan to keep their grills running hot. They might also want to restock popular brews, with recent research from the International Wine and Spirits Record asserting that the alcohol e-commerce sales will hit $42 billion by 2025. Let no superfan commit the game-day cardinal sin of running short on beer!

With more food comes the potential for more waste. According to the Natural Resources Defence Council, U.S. restaurants rack up 22-33 billion pounds of food waste per year. Not only does this damage the environment, but it also puts a huge hole in owners’ pockets. As the industry continues to face product inflation, labor market fluctuations, and supply chain issues, maintaining margins is more important than ever. According to the National Restaurant Association’s recent “Restaurant Business Conditions Survey,” 92 percent say food costs are a significant challenge, while 89 percent say the same about labor costs. With numbers like these, the pressure is on. What’s the surest strategy to keep from fumbling the ball? Transform your restaurant’s history into powerful insights and plan accordingly. 

Review the Tapes: Expert Ordering

  • Dust off last year’s numbers to establish guidelines. Though numbers will vary based on current events, keeping and checking your records keep you from running blind. With a solid reference point, you will come closer to landing in the end zone (without going over!)
  • Break those numbers down into smaller categories. Checking how many appetizers, entrees, desserts, and drinks were sold will further guide your purchasing decisions. With more thorough records, you can also check individual plate performance to ensure your fan favorites stay stocked. 
  • Secure pricing before placing bets on new dishes. Tell your supplier your price points and the necessary ingredients for anything you’d like to put on the menu. Have a discussion about whether or not your purchase can remain within that range. You don’t want to add something to your menu that’s going to lose you money, and chances are they will be willing to work with you.

Know Your Players: Consider Costs and Showcase Stars

  • Let low-cost, high-profit plates be your MVP. These dishes are the key to impacting your bottom line. Test out new specials and combinations leading up to the big day. They may find their way onto your menu forever.
  • Sell chicken wings. 1.25 billion chicken wings are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday, and right now, the chicken market is in your favor. Wings, thighs, legs and tenders are at low market levels, making them a perfect option to serve. There are also great no-prep sauces and seasonings to spice up your offerings.
  • Offer special toppings for those standard burgers. They may stick and add $3 or $4 to every sale.
  • Prioritize what is popular. You might even consider raising the price a few dollars to make more on your most popular items.
  • Consider offering takeout. One in seven Americans will order takeout on Super Bowl Sunday. Combining takeout with special offers – i.e., free wings with a purchase of an entree, helps you make money even if fans decide to stay in. Keep in mind that the three most popular Super Bowl orders are pizza, wings, and chips and dip.
  • Involve your team. After all, they know your customer best, and it’s an opportunity for them to share their own creativity. 3, 2, 1…Break! 

Whether you’ll be sporting red or green face paint this year, you can guarantee a win. Your customer demands and profits shouldn’t be the epic rivalry that’s got you crossing your fingers and sweating by halftime. Through careful planning and strategizing, you can provide an array of drink options, appetizers and entrees that will keep your clientele celebrating through the end of the game, whether or not they’re happy with the outcome. Plus, you protect your profits. This Super Bowl Sunday, work with your suppliers and find cost-effective options that make you the top choice for celebrating for years to come.