Super Bowl Catering: How to Prep Your Restaurant for the Big Game
There’s no doubt that the Super Bowl is one of the busiest days for restaurants, especially for takeout and delivery. With one in seven Americans (48 million) ordering takeout or delivery for the big game, Super Bowl Sunday is an event no establishment can afford to ignore.
With the big game being right around the corner, it’s time to start taking some serious steps towards prepping your restaurant and finalizing Super Bowl catering packages.
Here are seven easy ways to get your restaurant ready for kickoff.
Create a Special Menu
When you’re watching football with your friends and family, what are some of the foods you crave? If your mind went straight to pizza and wings, you would fall in line with the majority of your fellow Americans. Pizza and chicken wings are the top two Super Bowl snacks.
To put that in perspective, according to the National Chicken Council in 2019, Americans will eat 1.3 billion chicken wings over Super Bowl weekend — that’s about four wings for every man, women, and child in the U.S.
In 2018, Dominos alone sold over 2 million pizzas, which is a 40% increase in sales from any typical Sunday.
While these are the two most popular main foods of the Super Bowl, other popular foods that rank as well, including a variety of dips and other appetizers.
Even if pizza and wings aren’t part of the regular menu, with that type of popularity, it’s worth adding them to your game-day lineup. You can create traditional versions of these dishes or put a unique culinary spin on them and spice things up a bit.
Tweak Menu Items to the Teams Playing
Along the same lines of adding popular grub to the menu, you can also modify existing menu items. Thematic menus are an easy way to get customers excited about the game. Take Super Bowl LII between the Patriots and Eagles, for example. You could incorporate players’ names, positions, or general football terminology into the names of your current dishes. You could have a Brady burger or Foles fries without having to redesign the menu entirely.
Spruce Up Your Catering Packages
One of the most significant decisions people will make on Super Bowl Sunday is whether to stay at home or go out. If catering packages aren’t already something you offer, it’s essential to create some for game day so you can reach a broader range of customers. People will naturally gravitate towards their favorite eateries, so why not entice them with a catering menu?
- Catering Bundles- Pairing popular game day foods together in packages allows larger groups to be well-fed without breaking the bank.
- Research Your Competitors- Some of your biggest competitors will be restaurants that are known for pizza and wings, such as Buffalo Wild Wings and Dominos. Figure out what you can do better, whether that entails better quality, more food, or unique flavors that will draw locals to your restaurant instead.
- Offer Kids Menu Options- Between the halftime show and coveted commercials from big brands, the Super Bowl is becoming more and more of a family affair. Offering a kids menu will help attract people with children to order from your restaurant rather than a competitor with no kid-friendly options.
- Speed Up Online Ordering- With online ordering gaining popularity, optimizing your online ordering process ahead of the big game will make operation Super Bowl run much more smoothly.
Stock up on Supplies
The last thing you want to happen on the big day is to miss out on sales because you didn’t stock up on enough product to cover the walk-in orders or last-minute catering requests.
Super Bowl parties call for many mouths to feed, and missing out on sales due to not having enough food and other supplies can be frustrating. Nevertheless, it’s avoidable with the right amount of preparation.
Checking inventory and projecting what you need to order should be done in the weeks leading up to the big game to avoid running into any vendor shortages. By using your restaurant POS system, you’re able to get a detailed inventory report and use historical data (if available) to make a projection based on data.
Once you’ve done a thorough analysis of your inventory, it’s important to note that your most popular orders on any given day Sunday might not be the same on Super Bowl Sunday. For instance, you might sell a lot of seafood-based products on the weekend. During game day festivities, this type of cuisine probably won’t be as popular.
Run Game Day Promotions
Nobody can turn down a good deal, especially on a day that entails forking over a lot of money for food and beverages. An efficient way to increase your sales is to create promotions that are unique to Super Bowl Sunday.
The following are perfect examples of promotions to run:
- Buy one get one free drinks- Customers go crazy over this promotion, and it’s easy to understand why. Everybody loves free things, especially free beer. While this is a great promo, remember, it’s you and your staff’s obligation to serve responsibly.
- Early bird specials- Customers who place a catering order a week or so in advance get a percentage off their total bill. This promo is a win-win because this gives you a better understanding of how much food you’ll need, which leads to more accurate inventory and less waste. It also gives the customer a deal they can feel good about.
- Half time and post-game specials- Strategically timed specials create an incentive for customers to stick around longer. These types of promos can include half-off beer or wing deals.
- Beer buckets- Offer a special discount to groups who order a bucket of beer instead of just one or two at a time.
- Promo codes- For those who choose to order catering packages, you can offer a 10 percent off promo code exclusively for online orders. This type of offer will encourage patrons to order via this method and make your operations more efficient.
Some other restaurants such as Pizza Hut and Dominos offer Super Bowl deals that are hard to pass up, so it’s important that you can compete with the chains.
Prepare for the Takeout and Delivery Rush
Offering delivery and takeout is one of the smartest moves you can make for the game day. Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most hectic days for restaurateurs, so save yourself some grief and make sure that you’re prepared for the takeout and delivery rush.
Lean on Technology for Help
Although we all want to believe that we can tackle all obstacles by ourselves, that usually isn’t a realistic expectation. Using restaurant technology to make deliveries and takeout orders more manageable is the right move on Super Bowl Sunday.
Using a pay-at-the-table device and mobile payment options allow employees to complete quicker transactions away from the stationary point of sale system.
Don’t End Up Understaffed
A sure-fire way to slow down service during the big game is by being understaffed. Super Bowl Sunday should be one of the easiest scheduling days on your calendar. The kickoff time is set in stone, and you can generally expect the game to last around four or five hours.
Make sure you have enough servers and bartenders to service your dine-in customers, as well as extra staff on hand, to gather, organize, and deliver catering orders.
Advertise in the Weeks Leading Up to the Game
Now that you have a plan for Super Bowl Sunday, you need to get the word out to customers and potential customers ahead of the big game.
Here are some easy yet effective ways that you and your employees can get the word out:
- Post flyers around your restaurant and your community about game-day specials
- Use social media to your advantage to share your message with your followers in an eye-catching way
- Distribute coupons that are only available for use on Super Bowl Sunday
- Conduct and email marketing campaign to target your existing customers
- Hold a social media contest that rewards customers with game-day discounts
Create a Fun In-House Atmosphere for Guests
Not only do people want to watch the game, but they want to feel comfortable in their surroundings as well. If you’re hosting a Super Bowl party in your restaurant, you need to create an atmosphere that’s inviting and exciting.
Here are some ways that you can get your customers excited to come to your restaurant:
- Touchdown celebrations:
Offer dollar shots or free french fries every time the home team scores a touchdown.
- Decorate for both teams:
Everybody has their favorite team, and you might have yours as well. It’s important to represent both teams when you’re decorating to keep a common middle ground.
- Viewing party:
Hosting a viewing party at your restaurant is a great way to reach customers that don’t want to stay at home. Make sure your cable service is up to date and accounts for any additional TVs you may bring in for the special day.
- Don’t forget about the people who aren’t into football
Although it may seem like every American is a diehard football fanatic, there are people out there who couldn’t care less. Try highlighting alternatives such as the Doggy Bowl to make those who are there for a fun time feel more included.
Preparing your restaurant for Super Bowl catering doesn’t have to be stressful, as long as you get all of your ducks in a row with time to spare. Lastly, remember to have fun and put your unique flare into the planning to create an unforgettable experience for your customers.