football field

This year, advertisers will spend $359 million on Super Bowl TV ads. While their budgets may exceed yours, that doesn’t mean you should be any less creative or strategic with your Super Bowl bar promotions leading up to the big game. There are all kinds of Super Bowl ideas for bars that can help you make the most of America’s most watched sporting event.

If last year’s record ratings are any indicator, this year nearly 112.2 million Americans will watch the biggest US sporting event of the year – the Super Bowl — and a good portion of those will be watching at a bar. As a bar owner or operator, you don’t need us to tell you that the big day calls for special promotion and preparation and special super bowl bar ideas. For larger than average crowds at your bar, a high demand for larger than average orders of Super Bowl party food, and of course, a staff that’s game-day ready.

super bowl footballs

Here are some eye-opening stats that show just how big of a boost Super Bowl Sunday can give your business:

According to Fox Sports:

  • Super Bowl Sunday is the 2nd largest food consumption day of the year in the U.S… behind Thanksgiving
  • 1.23 Billion chicken wings will be eaten on game day

Nielsen Company says:

  • 71 million pounds of avocado are used to make guacamole during the game
  • There is a 35% increase in pizza deliveries on Super Bowl Sunday

And Huffington Post reports that a whopping 325 million gallons of beer will be consumed!

Score Sales With Super Bowl Bar Promotions

These statistics give us some important information about consumer behavior on Super Bowl Sunday:

  • Consumers want both eat-in and take-out options in larger quantities than usual, ie: this day is all about large groups.
  • Competition is steep on game day, you’ll have to go the extra mile to make your business stand out.

Let’s put this into football terminology: You’ve got four downs to make your ultimate bar marketing touchdown or else you’re going to have to throw a Hail Mary.

Super Bowl fans at bar

1st Down Super Bowl Bar Ideas: Host a Super Bowl Party At Your Bar

Consumers often think hosting a large group at home is their best option. But hosting a hungry (and thirsty) crowd takes a lot of prep (and money). Encourage large groups to come in with Super Bowl bar promotions and menu specials targeted towards large groups. Tote comfort, ease, affordability, and the ability to build custom party platters.

Pro Tip: promote a VIP section that large groups can reserve ahead of time for the best view of the game.

2nd Down Super Bowl Bar Ideas: A Super Bowl Menu For Every Fan

Wings, pizza and beer own the day as far as menus are concerned. So how do you make your menu stand out from the crowd? Add a specialty Super Bowl menu item from each team’s home turf to make guests feel at home and like they’re doing their part to represent their team.

Pro Tip: You probably already have something on tap that screams New England – Sam Adams Winter Lager perhaps – combine it with a chowder or the calamari to make a winning game day combination without having to change a thing in your kitchen.

3rd Down Super Bowl Bar Ideas: Bar Marketing 101, Back To Basics

Getting the word out is key. Social media is a great option for connecting with customers where they already are: when was the last time you posted an upcoming bar promotion on Facebook? Is your YELP profile updated and mention sporting events so you’ll come up in searches? Are you using email marketing to share your Super Bowl promotions with your most loyal customers? Use these channels to get the word out that your bar is the place to be for the big game.

hot spicy wings

4th And Inches Super Bowl Bar Ideas: Capitalize On Every Opportunity

You made it to the fourth down, but you’re still not sure you can convert those marketing efforts into a touchdown? Take the kick: don’t forget about the take-out crowd. Many bars like yours have built a loyal customer base because your food is fantastic. Get the word out that you’re taking orders: Send an email blast, offer early-order incentives, place in-store collateral around your bar this week, and promote your Super Bowl food specials on social media right up until game time (and beyond – halftime munchies anyone?).

Pro Tip: Create targeted social promotions based on your most loyal customers with Upserve’s Customer Finder feature. We show you who your best customers are, when they visit, what they order and how much they spend, then let you associate a social profile so you can create more targeted social ads to attract more customers just like them.

Throw an unforgettable Super Bowl celebration with help from our Restaurant Marketing Guide.

Easy Super Bowl Ideas for Bars: Touchdown Celebrations!

You’ve created a winning event and attracted the right customers to your team…time to celebrate right? Well almost, first you’ve got to make their experience a great one so they’ll come back again and again.

bar marketing

Make sure you and your staff are ready for the larger than normal crowds. Stay focused on not just getting through it, but creating a fantastic experience for everyone involved. And be sure to promote upcoming events and promotions like trivia night or week day happy hour specials to entice guests to join you again.

charcuterie board with glass of wine

Seasonality is one food trend you can put your money behind - seasonal menus see 26% more orders, after all. Learn the ins and outs.

Download The Guide

A Unique Spin on Super Bowl Bar Ideas

It’s possible you feel left out because your bar doesn’t have flat panel televisions lining the walls. Or maybe your business has very little to do with sporting events – perhaps it’s an artisan gift shop, a specialty bakery, a clothes boutique, pet supply store or a spa. Don’t despair. Just because you can’t or don’t usually target your promotions to sports fans, that doesn’t mean you need to sit out of all the marketing fun.

This year, as Super Bowl weekend approaches, I’m issuing a challenge: find a way to go against the grain. There are a lot of people out there that are not football fans, even more that are not sports fans at all. Here are some examples of ways that you can have fun marketing for that big weekend and still reach the people who probably don’t even know what teams are playing:

Focus on the Food, Drinks and Fun

There are folks that don’t give a hoot about football and yet, might be planning big events for Super Bowl Sunday anyway. Why? Because it’s an excuse to have a bunch of people over, mix up some drinks or plan a great menu. So for the fabulous hosts, the foodies and just the social butterflies (who may or may not be watching the game) – have your marketing focus on food, drinks and fun gifts or supplies. In recent years there have been a lot of parties that went beyond the traditional chips, dips and beer. The internet is full of recipe and cocktail guides and people are getting downright fancy.

Farmstead prepares fantastic Super Bowl packages that are upscale twists on some traditional classics. Their newsletter promotion is addressed to superfans and superfoodie hosts and party-goers alike.

Promote the Puppy Bowl Instead

Sports fans and non-sports fans can all get behind the Puppy Bowl. An annual event, now in its 8th year, that has a target audience of… well just about everybody, because who doesn’t love puppies?

Last year, Puppy Bowl attracted 9.2 million viewers in it’s marathon broadcast over a 12 hour period during Super Bowl weekend. It’s a big deal. Entertainment Weekly’s PopWatch featured the starting line-up recently and people were commenting about their favorite puppy all over the interwebs.

Having a “Puppy Bowl Weekend” sale or promotion is a cute idea that could be used for anything from dog accessories to cupcakes or even a kid-friendly lunch event at a restaurant before the bigger game starts later on in the evening.

Be an Alternative to Football-Mania with No TVs

For non-sports-fans, there doesn’t seem to be anywhere to go where people aren’t obsessing over the big game. Your bar or restaurant could provide a football-free safe haven or a fun alternate event.

Last year, Japanese dessert bar and bakery, Kyotofu held an Anti-Super Bowl party with food, drinks and a movie marathon!

For at least two years, The Loring Kitchen and Bar has been an anti-Super Bowl haven for “those of us who dread watching four hours of f-ball!”

In years past, Pop Champagne & Dessert Bar has advertised food and drink specials, while making it clear that it’s definitely a Football-Free zone!

If you have a bar or restaurant with no television, be sure to promote that! There is a growing number of people looking specifically for places to go where sports won’t be broadcast on every wall. The Washington Post actually keeps an updated guide of bars without televisions as part of their nightlife section. Especially during Super Bowl weekend this could be a huge selling point and strength for your bar or restaurant!

Just Remember to Be Polite

It’s possible to market to the folks who don’t care about football by being playfully “anti-football” or providing alternatives to Super Bowl mania, without bashing or insulting the folks who do care. Going overboard with negativity is never a good idea in any marketing or promoting, it simply sours the overall message.

Football season may be over on Feb. 3, but March Madness is just around the corner.

Check out Upserve’s seasonality report!

Written by   |  
In a perfect world, Theresa would spend her days reading good books and writing all the time... and she'd own all the shoes her heart desired. When she's not on the hunt for shoes, you can find this Rhode Island transplant on the hunt for food that comes close to "Long Island". Her favorite? Caffe Dolce Vita in Providence's historic Federal Hill.