Getting your Restaurant Ready for the Big Game

Football fans in restaurant

The Big Game is the most highly anticipated sporting event in North America. Every year, the game grows in intensity and viewership, amassing huge profits for companies and businesses through advertising and smart marketing. Using the excitement around the event gives restaurant owners ample opportunities to increase their profits and widen their customer base.

Prepare Your Team

Before you can have your menu created or contests setup, you will need to prepare both your employees and restaurant for the day. Your team should expect to experience one of the busiest nights of the year (particularly for sports-oriented bars) and know where they should be at any moment during the night, how best to help each other, and who to talk to when problems arise. On the flip side, you, as the owner, have a responsibility to ensure everyone knows the game plan for the evening, all the new specials, and how best to upsell those promos. Your supplies will also need to be well-stocked. Not much is worse than running out of food and drink during the Big Game.

Football fans in restaurant Online and On-the-Go

Across the country, people opt to host their own Big Game parties rather than going out to a bar, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t have the opportunity to have the pub fare they crave during game time. Most restaurants have already amped up their online and takeout options, but the Big Game offers a chance to develop and advertise these aspects of the business. Creating app-specific or carryout promotions for the gameday will help increase your overall sales without overfilling the restaurant. You can also entice customers with presale orders so they can avoid wait times. Pre-order options are also great ways to bring people to your business over your competitors’.

Catering is another excellent option for you to expand your revenue and customer base. With so many Big Game parties being held, there will be some that are too big for the individuals to host. Here comes you and your team: by offering catering options, you can give customers that true Big Game, tailgating vibe while being away from the stadium.

Highlight the ‘Bowl

As the main theme of the night, the Big Game should be highlighted in every aspect of the restaurant during the game, from décor to the food and drink menus. Embracing the teams with thematic décor or uniforms for your employees will heighten your customers’ experiences.

When customizing your Big Game menu, the obvious options are wings, fries, and nachos, but you can make these items more unique and interesting according to the teams. Use special ingredients or sauces from those cities to bring a liveliness and authenticity to viewers who live away from the game. Something to further excite your customers and make your place stand out will be to incorporate different food promotions and plating. Larger groups can receive discounts, while some foods can come served in “super bowls” for added flare.

Close up of big game snacksThis is also a great opportunity to promote new food or drink items to your customers through sample tastings. You can offer these bite-sized portions with discounted beverage pairings to help increase immediate and future profits. Considering how future sales will do after the Big Game should be done during it as well.

Maximize Merchandising and Experiences

Sports merchandising (jerseys, hats, balls, etc.) is a great way to excite and invigorate fans of both sides of the game. Having some fun or unique items on display (have access to signed items?) will bring the more intense and energetic fans to your restaurant over others. Selling these items can be done in two ways: directly sell them or offer them as prizes for any competitions, tests, and games that you can come up with for the off time during the game.

You can also enhance your guests’ experience through premium offers at premium prices. Gift bags related to the teams or the game in general can turn regular customers into high-end VIP customers. Premium packages can include sectioning off a portion of your restaurant with comfier seats, the best TV views, and a personal waitstaff. Try including a special, super secret menu that only these package-holders can order from.

Embrace Competition

With one of the most thrilling sporting competitions on your television screens, customers will be feeling that competitive edge that can’t be found elsewhere. Entice your customers with friendly competitions of your own: have wagers on scores, who gets the first touchdown, or the winner, and those who guess correctly receive immediate or future coupons for discounts and freebies. During halftime or the pregame show, incorporating a food- or football related contest (trivia, wing-eating contest, etc.) can make customers excited leading up to the game and bring them in for an extended period.

How’s Your Halftime Show?

Some consider the Halftime Show just as exciting – sometimes more so – than the game itself. More people tune in for the intense music concert regardless of the musician as the showmanship during the show is cranked to 11. With all eyes on the Halftime Show and restaurant seats being filled, it can be used to your advantage. Including special promotions that only happen during halftime is a great way to bring in more people during the show who might not have been there during the game. The Halftime Show is special, so your short-lived specials should reflect that by being extravagant, fun, and enticing. Consider involving the artist into the special in someway: name specials after them or their songs or try finding ingredients that remind people of them.

Consider the Non-Sporting Customer

Believe it or not, not all your customers will be interested in the big game. If your establishment can manage, consider closing off a separate room or space for those who don’t want to be a part of the football crowd. Early promotions separate from your event related ones that are within a strict timeframe before the game will also bring those non-fans into your restaurant and want them to come back because they were also catered to.

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