Tag Archives: Super Bowl

Get Your Bar Ready for the Super Bowl

We’re just two weeks away from Super Bowl 52, and chances are your bar or pub will be the place to be for many pigskin-loving patrons. Of course everyone is going to want people to choose their establishment, so you’ll want to make sure your business stands out. Here are a few ideas to try!


Nothing grabs the attention of a customer more than the potential of winning free stuff. “I’VE ALWAYS WANTED TO WIN A MONTH’S SUPPLY OF CHEESE PUFFS!” Create some giveaways or raffles for your customers. You can reach out to local businesses to see if they want to help sponsor your prizes, which allows for a nice cross-promotion for you both. Another option is to reach out to liquor distributors and offer samples of their beers or liquors. Again, the goal is to get the customer in the door, and freebies are pretty hard to pass up.

Themed Menus

Photo Credit: traveloriented/Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Photo Credit: traveloriented/Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Another fun thing you can do is create a special menu for the big game. Tailgate food is a great idea to consider, whether it’s hot dogs, wings, burgers, you name it. You could even set up a buffet and charge a flat rate for your customers to eat from it as opposed to your a la carte menu.

Have fun with your menu items! You can create fun themed dishes to feed your diners. Once the teams have been decided, create a menu around the team names or players (for example, “Belichick-en wings”).

In-Game Promotions

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Photo Credit: Ben Sutherland/Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

During the game, keep things lively by creating promotions that tie into the game. For example, offer a certain drink special during the first quarter only. Maybe serve free popcorn at halftime. Or after the game, whichever team wins, one of their themed appetizers is offered at half price the rest of the night. Keep your customers engaged and willing to stay and spend their money at your place with these in-game promotions.



Top photo credit: hertelkyle via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

Super Bowl

Super Bowl 2014: Restaurants Gear Up For The Big Game

Super Bowl 2014 Spending

It’s that time of year again: The Super Bowl. The big game is one of the restaurant and retail industry’s largest revenue sources driving in massive amounts of traffic and increasing sales in food, apparel, televisions and more.

According to the National Retail Federation, total spending is estimated to reach $12.3 billion with 77 percent of that being food related.

“Restaurants and bars will see their share of fans; the survey found 10 million fans will enjoy the game from their favorite local establishment,” they said.

From their research, 39 million Americans will throw a Super Bowl party of sorts for the event and 62 million will attend one.

Super Bowl chicken wing salesFan Favorites and Boosts in Sales

To gear up for the Super Bowl, restaurants have to be prepared to serve customer favorites, one of those favorites being chicken wings.

Chicken wings have become a top menu item among Super Bowl viewers. In fact, the National Chicken Council said 1.25 billion wings will be consumed for the 2014 game; 20 million more than in 2013. This also means the ranch and bleu cheese will be flowing.

Pizzerias also see a massive boom for the Super Bowl as it is one of their highest sales days of the year. Not only do the pizzas sell fast, it is a great opportunity for delivery drivers too.

“Delivery sales of pizza spike the most during close Super Bowl games,” explained Pizza.com. “On Super Bowl Sunday, pizza delivery drivers can expect $2 tips to sometimes soar as high as $20.”

Among the wings, pizzas, dips and other staples of Super Bowl parties, a drink of choice among restaurant guests and party goers is alcohol.  One might think beer would top the list, which it does, but according to QSR Magazine, craft beers, hard ciders, sparking wins and flavored liquors will be requested this year too.

Super Bowl restaurantsArea Restaurants

Cities that host a Super Bowl experience more traffic and exposure than they could ever imagine.  This exposure builds in the months leading up to the game and peaks the week of. Restaurant business in particular sees a massive boom from area residents and out-of-town guests participating in activities and events.

This year is East Rutherford, N.J.’s year to shine at Metlife Stadium, however, being just a skip, hop and jump away from New York, N.Y. has caused some confusion. The media and television personalities have referred to this year’s big game as being held in New York, which is untrue.

The distance between the two cities brings on a situation unlike any other state–both cities share efforts and reap the benefits. One possibly more than the other.

“The official Super Bowl Host Committee estimates the game will bring in between $550 and $600 million in revenue to New York and New Jersey,” CNN reported.

With quite a bit of the spotlight on New York, East Rutherford’s Mayor, James Cassella, hopes the town just breaks even, despite hosting the actual game and more events.

Either way, restaurants in both states will see a boost in traffic. Central Restaurant Products’ hometown, Indianapolis, hosted the 2012 Super Bowl and it has really changed the vibe of the city since. And in terms of restaurant sales, they skyrocketed for the locations close to  festivities, but even jumped for restaurants over an hour away.

Just as Indy and all other Super Bowl hosting cities have experienced, New Jersey and New York will have this great opportunity to showcase their cuisine and show their residents and guests from all over the world what they are all about.

Super Bowl NY restaurants

“Forty Ate”

New York will have pop-up restaurant Forty Ate, a creation of Danny Meyer, for the week. It is a modern steakhouse that will serve lunch and dinner, as well as “bar bites” throughout the day.

“Forty Ate will provide diners the ultimate Super Bowl experience,” their website said. “Danny Meyer’s renowned Union Square Events (USE) in collaboration with the Renaissance New York Times Square hotel will operate the Dining Room and Bar, which is designed by GMR marketing.”

The website added Forty Ate will feature NFL artifacts, the full set of 47 Super Bowl rings and appearances from NFL players who will be dining there.

Impact of the Super Bowl on Indianapolis Foodservices

For Indianapolis, early February usually has bitter cold temperatures, snow and ice.  Those in the city avoid being outdoors as much as possible because of the frigid temperatures.  So upon being named the Super Bowl host city for 2012, it could only be expected that people were wondering how the city was going to pull it off.

Not only did Indianapolis exceed expectations, the weather was unusually cooperating too.  There were days with temperatures in the low 50s, almost making locals forget about the severe ice storm the city had just a year ago.   There were a few days with rain, but all in all the weather was oddly pleasant for this time of the year.

Super Bowl Village ribbon cutting ceremony

The 10 day extravaganza kicked off on Friday Jan. 27 with the first six or seven days being heavily local traffic.  Then by Thursday Feb. 2, the out of town guests started trickling in and the city was packed.

One of the major benefits of having an event as large as the Super Bowl in Indianapolis is how close everything is in the downtown area.  It’s very manageable to walk from one end of downtown to another.

Restaurants all over the downtown area and beyond were anticipating a huge increase in business.  Before events began, Julia Watson, vice president of marketing and communications for Indianapolis Downtown Inc., said businesses were forecasting as much as six months of business in the 10 day period.

So restaurants planned. They all planned. Those restaurants and food trucks in the immediate downtown area close to Super Bowl Village had to do a little bit of extra planning to ensure their food deliveries could be made and employees could get to work due to street closures.

Today Show crowd

Originally, it was anticipated 150,000 people would come into the city—and in a recent Indianapolis Star article; Super Bowl Host Committee officials said the total attendance (locals and out of town guests) at the Super Bowl Village alone was probably over 1 million.

So how did it all pan out for foodservices?

It was great for those near Super Bowl Village.  But many downtown locations a little further out from Super Bowl Village and extending cities planned for large crowds that didn’t all come.

Despite being 20 to 30 minutes outside of downtown, OAKLEY’s Bistro, a restaurant on Indianapolis’ northwest side, was successful.  In January, they said they were creating different menu options and were even opening on Super Bowl Sunday and the following Monday—two days they are normally closed.

“We had a great weekend, very busy,” said Chris Hopkins, manager at OAKLEY’s.  “A lot of our business was from out of town guests and it was great to introduce them to OAKLEY’s.”

Hopkins said the only negative aspect were the number of people who made reservations then didn’t show. They were able to still fill the spots with walk-in traffic, which is something Hopkins said is pretty common on special event weekends.

Monument Circle

When it came to mobile food, the food trucks were a big hit.  The city reserved space for them on Monument Circle, where the famous Super Bowl Roman Numerals stood.

Food truck Duos Indy was nervous and excited before all the Super Bowl festivities took place.  After it was all said and done, the warm weather was great for them and the rainy days weren’t the best.

“We had an amazing Friday night and were prepared for that kind of business every day,” said Becky Hostetter, chef and co-owners of Duos. “Other days and nights were fine and right at our projections, but the rain Saturday was problematic.  We also found that Sunday was a bust.”

Hostetter also noticed how a majority of the crowds stayed closer to the Super Bowl Village and away from some of the locations on the outer parts of downtown.

“That was hard for all our friends in the restaurant business in the surrounding areas (Fountain Square, Mass Ave., etc.) who had worked so long and hard to prepare thoughtfully for such an event.”

All in all, Hostetter said they discovered they were completely capable of handling the large crowds while prepping in a smart and thoughtful way.  They also met their expectation of serving guests within 60 seconds of them approaching a window.  This is quick service–especially on their busiest nights, one of which they served around 550 people.

When it came to food rescuing (organizations who gather food that foodservices overstock, over prepare or don’t use that hasn’t been served to the public), Ben Shine, communications and development manager at Second Helpings, said they had a whirlwind of a weekend.

On Feb. 6, Shine said they had already rescued around 20,000 pounds of food, with more to come.  Then they recently updated the numbers and on Feb. 16, the total amount rescued was 46,000 pounds.  And for their kick-off event “Souper Bowls,” where local artists, chefs and community members got together to help fight hunger in central Indiana, they had over 500 in attendance and cleared just over $10,000.

St. Elmo Steak House

As for restaurants? Those closer to the Super Bowl Village probably received the most business—with the most popular place in the city to visit being St. Elmo Steak House.

Prior to the events, St. Elmo’s made sure they were fully prepared.  Bryn Jones, director of marketing, said they knew they would be a go-to place but it ended up being even bigger than they anticipated.

“It was a very big week for us in terms of sales and national and local publicity,” Jones said. “We were prepared for both, but it was still a lot to handle.”

Shrimp is one of the restaurant’s signature menu items and Jones mentioned over the course of the week, they sold over two tons of it.

St. Elmo’s was a top restaurant for celebrities and athletes to dine at, too.  Michael Douglas, Adam Sandler, John Travolta, Jerry Bruckheimer, The Fray, Eli Manning and Tom Brady are just a handful of the many celebrities and athletes Jones said came through their doors.

“Pretty wild week!” he said, which is a perfect way to sum it up.

Super Bow Host Committee with Blue wearing Super Bowl scarves

It was an incredibly wild week for the city.  Indianapolis put on a Super Bowl extravaganza that many frequent Super Bowl visitors said was the best they had ever experienced. Who would have thought the Midwestern city with the nickname “Naptown” would go on to host one of the best Super Bowl’s to date?

The city exceeded expectations and it was not only a great opportunity to showcase the city as whole, but to showcase the finer details such as great food and Hoosier hospitality.  Definitely one for the record books, that’s for sure.

All images used with permission from the 2012 Indianapolis Super Bowl Host Committee.

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 2/3

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for January 29 through February 3.

Mimi’s Cafe Goes Red
From Mimi’s Cafe, Read News Release

Image: Mimi's Cafe

Today is the American Heart Association’s “National Wear Red Day” to raise awareness for heart disease in women.  Mimi’s Cafe, a French-inspired casual dining restaurant with 145 locations around the country, is taking it a step further by marking Feb. 3 as a kick-off date to a month long campaign.  Anyone that comes into the restaurant on Feb. 3 can get a free cup of soup–then for the remainder of the month there will be other opportunities for diners upon making a donation.  Read the release news release in full on Mimi’s Cafe’s website.

Restaurant Performance Index On The Rise
From National Restaurant Association, Read Article

It seems like we just heard similar news that the Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) hit a new high. The National Restaurant Association recently came out with an article stating the RPI finished out December up 1.6 percent.  This is the highest level it’s been in the last six years and the next few months should be on a positive track.  For more information, including a deeper look into how the RPI is calculated, visit the NRA website.

Foodservices Across the Country Prepping for Game Day
From SmartBlog on Restaurants, Read Blog

Restaurants all across the country have been gearing up for Super Bowl Sunday.  The NRA estimates 48 million Americans will order takeout and 12 million will watch the game at a bar or restaurant. Pizza and wings are on the top of many restaurant’s menus, but there’s more! Check out SmartBlog’s article which covers what restaurants are up to for game day.

Image: Schnitzelbank Bratwurst/Super 46

And the Winner of Super 46 Sandwiches Is…..
From Indianapolis Monthly, Read Blog

At the beginning of January, Indianapolis Monthly began “Super 46 Sandwiches,” a list of top sandwiches in Indiana.  They opened it up for voting to find the top sandwich in the state.  People from across the state put in their votes and a winner was decided this week–which was the Bratwurst from Schnitzelbank in Jasper, Ind.  Their bratwurst went up against many great contenders such as Shapiro’s Rueben, Harry and Izzy’s St. Elmo Prime Rib Sandwich and Rock Cola 50s Cafe’s Mile High Club Sandwich. Read more about Super 46 on their website, which includes ways to search different sandwiches if you are or will be in Indiana.

Image: kakisky/MorgueFile

 Super Bowl Recipes

Whether you’re waiting tables or at home with friends on game day, it’s always good to have some party recipes on hand.  Here are a few websites we found that feature a plethora of Super Bowl themed recipes:

Please share your favorites with us below in the comment section–or tell us about your signature recipe!

Foodservice Industry Week in Brief: 1/27

Looking for some of the week’s top information? Here are five stories from the foodservice industry for Jan. 23-27.

Progress with School Nutrition
From USDA, Read Blog

Image: jdurham/MorgueFile

There’s been much buzz over school nutrition over the past few years, especially though the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.  This week more progress was made when the USDA announced the new standards for school nutrition.  Some of the changes include more fruits and vegetables, only only offering fat-free or low-fat milk and basing calorie counts on a child’s age  so they get the accurate portion size.  For the full report, read the USDA’s blog.

Restaurants Adding To Menus

This week seems to have had quite a bit of news with restaurants adding to their menus.  Here are few of the places mentioned:

  • Starbucks: Beer, wine and additional food items (i.e. hot flatbread)
  • Taco Bell: Breakfast with items such as egg or sausage burritos, hash browns, Cinnabon and coffee
  • McDonalds: Chicken McBites

Vancouver Restaurant Sells One Expensive Hot Dog
From The Canadian Press, Read Article

Image: alvimann/MorgueFile

Depending where your restaurant is, what the occasion is etc., a typical price for the standard hot dog can be anywhere from $1 to $3. Sometimes you might hit an event where it’s more expensive. However one Vancouver restaurant has developed a hot dog that really has stepped it up–in both toppings and price.  According to a HuffPost Food article from The Canadian Press, DougieDog Hot Dogs has created “The Dragon Dog” which consists of items on the hot dog such as cognac, Kobe beef and lobster. All at a pretty penny, of course… it’s only $100. There’s much more to this hot dog, visit Huff Post Food to read all about it.

Restaurant Super Bowl Deals Out
From Nation’s Restaurant News, Read Article

Image: kahanaboy/MorgueFile

There are certain events the restaurant industry can benefit from and the Super Bowl is definitely one of them.  According to the National Restaurant Association, approximately 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery while watching the big game and 12 million will go out to a restaurant. NRN went into some detail looking into some of the special deals going on.  Be sure to let us know what your restaurant is doing below!  Read more on the NRN website.

Indianapolis Foodservice Impacted by the Super Bowl
From Central Restaurant Products, Read Blog

Image: Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center

For most cities across the U.S., Super Bowl Sunday is a big day.  But for Indianapolis, they’re actually getting 10 big days!  This year Central’s hometown of Indianapolis is hosting Super Bowl 46.

There’s a lot that takes place in a city when a Super Bowl is coming to down and it dramatically affects all businesses–foodservice industry especially.  Central talked to different restaurants, food trucks and other organizations to get the scoop and a behind the scenes look on what it takes to prepare for the big game (and all that comes with it).

Super Bowl Foodservice Series Part 1: Restaurants Gearing Up for Event

On Sunday Feb. 5, the New England Patriots and the New York Giants will meet again for Super Bowl XLVI.

Not only is the Super Bowl one of the biggest games of the year, but it’s also such a grand event for the hosting city.  This year, the game will be played in the same city as Central’s headquarters—Indianapolis.

The city is truly pulling out all the stops for the 10 day extravaganza that leads up to the actual game.  There are several events such as the NFL Experience and the Super Bowl Village which includes warming zones, an 800-foot-long, four line Zipline, exclusive opportunities and tons of free entertainment.

For all events to go smoothly, all businesses in a hosting city have to be involved and prepare.  This ranges from hotels and businesses to restaurants and food trucks.  The foodservice industry as a whole will play a huge role in the Super Bowl festivities.

Rendering of Super Bowl Village

Julia Watson, vice president of marketing and communications for Indianapolis Downtown, Inc., said businesses have had to forecast as much as six months of business in the 10 day period.

“You can’t do business as usual with a lean staff, or haven’t changed the delivery schedule to make sure to have supplies on hand,” she explained.

“Restaurants have gone to great effort and expense to maximize their ability to serve a very large number of visitors in a short amount of time.”

Watson said restaurants have stepped up in many ways such as an increased staff, streamlined food and beverage menus, extended hours of operation, additional seating and enhanced amenities such as outdoor heaters, etc.

There are an estimated 150,000 coming to Indianapolis.  While this is an excellent and unique business opportunity, it can be a challenge to plan how it will all work when taking into consideration the number of seats available versus how many will be coming in.

In a recent article from the Indianapolis Star, they estimated there are about 25,000 seats in the city’s approximate 200 restaurants.  Then on top of that, many streets have been closed so restaurants have had to strategically plan how they will receive deliveries from vendors and how their employees will make it in to work.

“Deliveries will be a challenge,” said Bryn Jones, director of marketing at St. Elmo Steak House. “Our plan here is to have all deliveries made in the early A.M. every day, and we will have employees working 24/7 so that we will be able to receive inventory when it is more convenient for delivery drivers to get in and out of the city due to the huge increase in traffic during the day.”

Then for their employee’s commute, Jones said they will have two buses circling a route to help employees get to and from the restaurant.

“This will be necessary to help us and our employees save money by not having to pay $50 or whatever amount is charged per day in parking.”

Going back to the mathematics of the “seat to tourist ratio,” the city has plans that will help both restaurants and visitors to make it all work.

Volunteers at Volunteer Kick-Off

Communications Director Jennifer Hansen of Indianapolis Downtown, Inc. said there will be “mobile concierge” on the streets walking around to assist visitors.

“They will have live updates on restaurant availability to tell guests what’s opening,” she said.

But restaurants will not be the only way visitors can get something to eat.

Hansen also mentioned the Super Bowl Village will have mobile food sites too.

Mobile food, which is a trend that has truly boomed over the past year—especially in Indianapolis, will play an important role in this year’s Super Bowl events.

Click here for the second part of our Super Bowl series to learn how Indianapolis food trucks will participate as well as food rescuing and how restaurants outside of the downtown area have been impacted.

All images used with permission from the Indianapolis Super Bowl Press Center.