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8 Tips to Prepare Your Restaurant for Super Bowl Sunday

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This article was written  for FSR by Mark Calvillo, Senior Vice President of Product at R365.


According to a 2022 survey conducted by the National Retail Federation, 13.7 million adults planned to watch the game at a bar or restaurant. To attract, accommodate, and wow these potential customers, the preparation should start weeks in advance.

From securing inventory, to staffing correctly, and creating profitable menu items that are both crowd-pleasers and quick to get out the door, now is the time to develop a winning strategy. Below are eight tactics to streamline operations and maximize profits on Super Bowl Sunday.

Start marketing now

In the restaurant world, 65 percent of patrons tend to be return customers. This presents a great opportunity for operators to promote their restaurant to guests as the place to be on game day. In the weeks leading up to the big game, be sure to promote game day offerings via email, social media, table tents, and by having the waitstaff personally invite guests to participate. 

Optimize a specialty menu

Properly managing inventory will help ensure customer satisfaction. Forecasting sales is the best way to manage expectations. This can most easily be done by factoring in recent sales, last year’s football season sales, any recent local-competition changes, and even the weather.

Stay well stocked

Evaluating restaurant data from your restaurant financial reporting software can improve results from critical business decisions such as managing inventory, organizing scheduling, creating loyalty programs, and improving underperforming stores. These key areas can add profit to your bottom line and ensure you are running a streamlined, optimized business.

Ensure staff is mentally prepared for the crowd

Large sporting events have a different tempo than a regular Sunday shift. The crowd will arrive at the same time and want to be served immediately, only to linger at their tables for up to four hours. While guests may completely ignore staff during the game, they will expect immediate service during commercials, between quarters, and at halftime.

This can be extremely stressful for restaurant staff. By optimizing labor on hand, ensuring roles and expectations are clearly communicated, and checking in with employees, stress levels can be managed.

Offer game day to-go packages

Make it easy for football fans who want to have a restaurant-quality experience at home. Create a to-go menu with fan favorites and incorporate a pickup schedule with pick-up times spaced in 15 minutes increments to minimize wait times. Also, consider creating a temporary prep area to speed up the packaging process, ensuring that everything is warm and on time for each customer.

Expedite service for top selling drinks

Beer and sports go hand-in-hand. Knowing that it will be one of your top sellers, consider having a manned, cash-only or handheld credit card reader for beer buckets or a keg with plastic cups to expedite orders and free up servers’ time. Be sure these are located away from tight areas that may become too congested.

According to Restaurant365’s partner BeerBoard, here is what football fans preferred to drink on Super Bowl Sunday in 2022:

  • Domestic Beer: 50 percent
  • Craft Beer: 34 percent
  • Import Beer: 16 percent

Take advantage of your patio

So many restaurants created outdoor dining spaces at the onset of Covid-19 but have not taken full advantage of them since the return of indoor dining. This extra space could be a perfect place to boost sales by staging a tailgating party atmosphere complete with outdoor games such as cornhole or giant Jenga. Be sure to have space heaters or contained outdoor fire pits if located in an area with cooler conditions.

Create return business opportunities

A high-quality experience from great food and drinks creates memorable service. On top of game-day specific specials or menus, during football season, operators can use other tactics such as a fan loyalty program. Punch cards, coupons, or loyalty programs are inexpensive compared to marketing costs to bring in new customers. A game day specific program will keep the restaurant top of mind with March Madness around the corner.

Whether your football team made it to the big game or not, the boost in sales the Super Bowl can bring should not be ignored. Taking the time now to attract guests, get a restaurant location in order, and prepare staff properly will score points with patrons, increase profits, and ensure the night runs smoothly.