Restaurants Can Score Big for the Super Bowl

In  a few weeks, bars and restaurants will be filled with hungry and thirsty football fans celebrating their favorite team. Now is the time to get your plays in order to be a winner this Super Bowl Sunday.

Themed Menus for the Win: Want to show support for this year’s best teams? Provide special menu options from the cities the contenders hail from – a Philly Cheesesteak if the Eagles make it or a Cuban for Miami. Even offering team-themed cocktails will entice viewers to watch the game at your establishment.

Play The Field: Some Super Bowl viewers prefer to watch the game in the comfort of their own homes, but that doesn’t mean you should lose out on sales. Dive into Super Bowl-specific catering menus and other deals to reach those not leaving the house.

All Things Buffalo: Not only does a contender for this year’s Super Bowl come from Buffalo, but a top game day eat was created there – Buffalo wings. Each year, it is estimated that about 1 billion chicken wings are eaten on Super Bowl Sunday, so operators must keep a large supply of wings on hand for those hungry football fans. Is inflation still driving wing prices? What else should operators keep in mind to maximize profit for the popular item? 

Are there any new trends restaurant operators should be aware of?

The price of many staple items is continuing to increase throughout the beginning of this year. Chicken, especially, has reached a high price point, so operators will need to spend extra time managing their budget to be able to order ample amounts of chicken to serve the highly-coveted chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday.

Catering and parties will become increasingly popular in 2024 as people continue to gather for in-person events, so consider offering Super Bowl catering menus for parties at home. If your establishment has a private room or separate space, you might want to allow a private party or two.

With Wings being king—how can restaurants stand out from the competition and have a craveworthy product?

Everyone loves a good Buffalo wing, but don’t let that flavor be your only option. Provide choices for your customers, including garlic parm and mango habanero, or better yet, create your own wing sauce. Many consumers are leaning towards locally sourced products and homemade food items, so a housemade sauce is sure to impress. It’s easy to make ranch and blue cheese in-house as well – and they’ll taste much better than jarred sauces anyway.

What are best tips for making sure your restaurant is well staffed and well stocked to handle the extra influx?

Operators need to invest in a back-of-house technology system that simplifies daily tasks for them, such as inventory and scheduling. These platforms will help manage inventory and track usage, providing operators with the information needed to not only replenish inventory with the proper quantity to ensure they do not run out but also not overorder perishable inventory of items that have a higher cost than average due to the time of year.

Vendors face the same challenges in their warehouses with the supply and demand of key items such as wings, dips, etc. Your biggest enemy for Super Bowl Sunday will be procrastination. Prepare in advance by reviewing the increased projected sales and product mix (PMIX) reports. Give yourself ample time to make an educated decision about ordering the proper amount of inventory and supplies – if you wait too long, the vendor might have already allocated their inventory and you will be forced to buy elsewhere at higher prices and lesser quality than your current offering. This could not only compromise your customer experience for the Super Bowl but also damage the long-term impression of your brand integrity on a day (weekend) when you have a greater opportunity to reach a larger customer base inside your three-mile ring.

Are there ways for a restaurant operators to simplify to better execute orders on the day of the event?

Compare your guest count and PMIX from previous years to project this year’s business flow. Order accordingly using the current sales trends to prevent from overordering or even worse, running out. Make sure to not only evaluate the PMIX of food and beverage but also any supplies needed to support the increased off-premise sales such as catering, to-go supplies, etc. The Super Bowl is one day, however, the increased traffic flow from dine-in and carry-out presents a huge opportunity to increase repeat business in the preceding weeks. Use Super Bowl Sunday as a bouncing board to build future sales.

Providing specialty cocktails and meals allows for items to be prepared in advance. Big-batch cocktails can be made before opening and will limit the amount of time bartenders use to make them. Offer items on your menu such as spinach artichoke or buffalo chicken dips, which can also be made in large quantities, to cut down on cooking time in the kitchen. Now consider how you can pair the two as a combo offering which makes it easier on execution. For instance, a Super Party Platter of wings, dips and chips paired with a signature cocktail.

How can you encourage people to come into your restaurant when so many prefer to be at home?

Provide Super Bowl-themed specials, such as menu options from the cities of the contenders (a Cuban if the Miami Dolphins make it or a Philly Cheesesteak for the Philadelphia Eagles, for example) or deals on a combo of wings and beer.

Super Bowl Sunday has become an unofficial national holiday. Most people remember where they were and how they felt when they reflect on the festivities and feasting. Take advantage of this opportunity to create an emotional connection between your brand and your customer base. Ensure your establishment has enough TVs where most tables will be able to see the game, and instead of playing music over the game, play the original game sound for guests to hear the penalty announcements (and the roars of the crowd).