It’s one of America’s most sacred rituals: consuming your own body weight in beer, wings, and pizza over a six to eight hour period on Super Bowl Sunday. Over 100 million people watched the Super Bowl last year, which means almost one-third of Americans will be tuning in. For restaurateurs who want a slice of this mass gorging, you need to ensure your Super Bowl restaurant promotions are compelling.

8 Super Bowl Restaurant Promotion Ideas

1. Offer a Super Bowl Discount

The Super Bowl presents a huge potential opportunity, but it’s one that everyone is competing for. Unless you’re a sports bar that’s guaranteed to be packed, you need to counter some of the cost savings of watching the game all day at home. Offer discounts for those who sign up in advance, and for groups who host their party at your establishment.

2. Tailor Your Super Bowl Menu to the Teams Playing

For example, if the New England Patriots were playing, offer special menu items such as clam chowder, lobster rolls, or Boston baked beans. We know from last year, they’re a big fan of their local Sam Adams beer as well. For the Philadelphia Eagles you could serve Philly Cheese Steaks, soft pretzels, and hoagies. If you’re local, offering such dishes is an expression of regional pride, and if you’re not, it’s something enticingly exotic.

3. Create a Super Bowl Giveaway

If there’s anything Americans love more than football, it’s free stuff. Even if their team isn’t playing in the big game, you can still give them a chance to win. Throughout the game, announce winners for giveaways and get your customers even more riled up. For example, each quarter you can give out a gift card to diners who filled out a free raffle ticket. 

4. Go Long On Social Media Marketing

Social media is a cheap and effective tool for restaurant marketing. Ensure all your profiles are up to date, are keyword optimized for “Super Bowl,” and consider offering specials on Yelp, GrubHub, OpenTable, and the like. Post a poll to your customers to see who they think will win, tell them to tag a friend they’re going to watch a game with, or feature your TV set-up and appetizers on your story to catch their attention.

5. Email Your Fan Base

Don’t forget to blast your email databaseemail marketing remains an effective marketing tool for small businesses. Don’t leave this until the last minute; make sure you’re getting the message out a month in advance Send a redeemable coupon to your customers’ inbox, and you’ll have them hooked.

6. Online Ordering, Catering, and Delivery

Don’t forget those you can’t convince to brave the winter weather. Takeout, online ordering, delivery, and catering allow punters to enjoy the convenience of having someone else do all the cooking. It’s easy enough to employ one of the many online services available if you don’t already have your own service (Upserve offers free Online Ordering for their customers with no fees!). And make sure everyone knows that you can bring your delicious wares to them with consistent in-store and online reminders.

Group Of Male And Female Friends Celebrating Whilst Watching Game

7. Super Bowl Bar Specials

Some love the Super Bowl for the football, some watch the event for the funny commercials and the halftime show, and others are just looking for an excuse to drink on a Sunday. Design all you can eat and/or drink specials, special menus, and see if you can get your liquor or beer vendors to sponsor the cost of a TV to giveaway. Alternatively, you could offer a free appetizer for tables that order a meal and drink. Nothing gets a football fan’s mouth-watering like some 50 cent wings! If people already decided they’re going to a bar for the Super Bowl, specials can help increase their check average.

8. Don’t Forget The Non-Sports Fans

You can guarantee that plenty of people will be dragged into watching the game by their significant others or friends. Making sure these people feel accommodated can be a secret weapon for a restaurant looking to pack the house. You’ll want to have most of the TV’s turned on to the game, but be sure to have at least one or two on the other big game…the Puppy Bowl. The best part is, both crowds will be cheering, so they’ll blend right in. If they’re more of a cat person, you can also entertain them by putting out some games of your own. Set up cornhole, make sure the dartboard is hung, or put a deck of cards at each table. While the sports fanatics are wrapped up in the game, the others will be wrapped up in their own. 

Still dishing out 20-30% to third party online ordering sites? Keep that cash in your pocket with Upserve Online Ordering.

Super Bowl Sunday Online Ordering Stats 

While the promo ideas above are a great way to get those who are looking to go out for the big game into your bar or restaurant, at-home Super Bowl parties still reign supreme. You can still gain business from party hosts by offering delivery or takeout specials that help them feed the whole team.

Upserve’s data science team studied our over 10,000 US customers and found that in-house sales go down 20% overall on Super Bowl Sunday with 14% fewer tickets coming through. However, delivery and to-go orders go up by 14% on game day – a great opportunity to make up that lost revenue. 

Check out some more stats below to see how your target customers order and eat during the Super Bowl.

Online Ordering by Region

Football fans in the Midwest and South order the most delivery, while Northeast and South are both tied for the highest percentage of takeout orders. Our friends in the West are either home cooking or just not that into the Super Bowl – takeout orders are up only 3% while delivery is actually down a whopping 10% overall. The Midwest had substantially higher delivery increases while the Northeast prefers to take orders to-go.

Delivery vs. Takeout by region on Super Bowl Sunday

More Than Just a Coin Toss: Wings vs. Pizza. What’s the Best Super Bowl Snack?

Pizza, chicken wings, burgers, and nachos are all football favorites. Pro tip: Wings sell the most by far, so promote delivery and takeout deals for wings on your website and social media in the weeks leading up to game day.

Burger orders remain relatively steady as does pizza, except for our outliers in the west, who order 10% more pizza on average. Nachos are not yo’ Superbowl food: orders take a dip – they’re easy to make at home and don’t travel well.

Wings vs. Pizza on Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Restaurant Ideas from Industry Experts

We asked some restaurant pros how they handle Super Bowl Sunday in their restaurants. They told us some tips and tricks on how to attract guests on a day with stiff competition between bars and restaurants.

How Do You Stand Out on Super Bowl Sunday?

Drew French, founder of national pizzeria Your Pie: “A great way for restaurants to stand out on this day is to offer a service that provides a benefit for customers. Usually, customers are either short on time to make food or simply don’t want to go through the process of making food for their guests on this day. By providing a special food delivery service, or bundle offer on take-out food, restaurants can stand out amongst their competition.”

Matthew Piekarski, executive chef of Las Vegas rooftop bar and grill Beer Park: “A restaurant can stand out by creating a memorable experience for its guests. We use our outdoor venue to create an experience that feels like you’re watching the game with your friends in a park or casual environment, and then elevate that experience by providing classic tailgate fare, a huge beer selection and activities and games–perfect for groups.”

How Do You Host a Successful Super Bowl Sunday?

Candice Simons, owner of Detroit Mexican restaurant Alley Taco: “Our three-part secret formula to successful events is to promote, decorate and accommodate. Promoting your event in advance, on social media, is key. Create a Facebook event for the occasion detailing restaurant hours and specials. Tell them how many hi-def TVs you have. You have to convey that watching the game in your restaurant will be a better experience than watching at home. Decorate the restaurant to draw guests into the experience and make the restaurant feel like a party. Accommodate large parties by offering group packages that will make planning hassle-free for your guests.”

Drew French: “Inside the restaurant, the focus should be on bringing groups together. Games that allow friends and family to compete against one another and having special areas for people to watch the game as a group are key elements to hosting a successful Super Bowl Sunday.”

David Doyle, regional director of the multi-location Massachusetts-based Tony C’s Sports Bar & Grill:  “Prior to a major sporting event like the Super Bowl, where your restaurant may be expecting a high volume of patrons throughout the day and night, it’s vital to ensure that you are stocked with enough food and beverages so as not to ever run out, especially of the ‘fan favorite’ items.”

Group Of Male Friends Celebrating Whilst Watching Game On Screen In Sports Bar

What Lessons Have You Learned From Hosting The Super Bowl at Your Restaurant in the Past?

Drew French: “The best advice I can give to a restaurant on Super Bowl Sunday is to think about what kinds of struggles a customer may face on this day and then work to provide a solution. Families may struggle to find family-friendly places to take their children to eat, or groups of friends may struggle to find affordable and delicious food for everyone to enjoy. Think about how you can help make the day enjoyable for your local community and you’ll create customers for life.”

Candice Simons: “Depending on where you are located and how long you have been open, I would make sure advertising is done via social media and local media outlets to announce game day specials. Social media is an effective, easy and inexpensive way to reach your audience with promotional specials.”

Stephen Zagor: “My advice to maintain revenue would be to create take-out and delivery options. It is easy to be a dud on this day and put a lot of effort into developing a marketing plan, menu, program planning, etc. You need to know your customers and understand that you can’t get a new market for a night.”

Matthew Piekarski: “With football and sporting events, in general, we really try to remain neutral as a restaurant and never pick sides on a team we’re rooting for. My best advice for a new restaurant owner would be to stick with the classics and don’t venture too far outside of what the expectation of the event is. Super Bowl is a universal experience and it’s important to give people what they want – Super Bowl staples always include beer, wings, and pizza.”

David Doyle: “Don’t run out of anything, don’t take reservations, and instruct your host or hostess not to seat incomplete tables. Don’t overdo it! People are there to watch the game and enjoy their experience so keep it simple, appetizing and fun. You don’t necessarily need to create menu specials for the Super Bowl to attract guests, but ensure that your wait staff are highlighting the most popular menu items when approaching tables.“

The restaurateurs know better than anyone, Super Bowl Sunday is going to be busy for any restaurant or bar. To make sure your operation runs smoothly and keeps your customers and staff happy, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the best restaurant POS in the game. 

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Ryan McSweeney started his restaurant career as a dish-washer at the Sundae School Ice Cream Parlor in Dennisport, Massachusetts. For five years he served Cape Cod vacationers the biggest scoops of their favorite flavors. He spent many more years in the service industry, and brings his knowledge and love for the restaurant-world to Upserve where he provides the best restaurant technology to restaurateurs around the country.