On the Line / Marketing / Super Bowl Survival Guide: 6 Restaurant Super Bowl Promotion Ideas

Super Bowl Survival Guide: 6 Restaurant Super Bowl Promotion Ideas

Are you ready for the Super Bowl? Read how other full service and fast casual restaurateurs are doing for the big game, and get inspired for your own celebration.

Superbowl survival

Are you ready for some football?

This Sunday, February 2nd at 6 p.m. EST, the Kansas City Chiefs take on the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. 

This is Kansas City’s first Super Bowl appearance in 50 years, and experts predict this will be one of the closest games in recent history, so it’s guaranteed to be a game to remember.

While fans are getting hyped up for the big game, you can do the same for your restaurant or bar. This week, restaurateurs all over the country are thinking about how to use this event to create a cool experience for their guests or run a Super Bowl promotion that’ll get more folks in the door.

Americans eat more on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year, aside from Thanksgiving, so your restaurant stands to benefit from hungry football fans. In fact, according to the National Retail Federation, American adults are predicted to spend an average of $88.65 on plans around the Super Bowl, which amounts to a whopping $17.2 billion nationwide. 

Here’s how to make your restaurant the prime spot for fans to watch Sunday’s game (or an escape from the chaos, if your guests aren’t into that kind of thing).

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Super Bowl 2020 Promotion Ideas for Bars and Restaurants

Planning is key when it comes to hosting a spectacular Super Bowl party. If you’re looking for ways to fill your dining room or bar this Sunday, try one (or more) of these tactics from other restaurateurs who’ve done Super Bowl Sunday and made it out alive.

Prepare for Crowds

Whether you’re increasing staff or production, it’s best to overprep. If your restaurant is traditionally slower on Sundays, you might be used to operating with fewer staff. But it’s a good idea to beef up your delivery team or kitchen and serving staff, depending on where you expect to see the most orders come through. 

If you have hot wings on your menu, for example, double up your preparation. Appetizers will likely be flying out of your kitchen as well, so consider preparing a couple extra pounds of onion rings and french fries so you don’t lose out on customers.

Look at your sales data and performance metrics from past years using your point of sale system to make smart preparation decisions to make sure you’re ready for the big day.

Promotional Deals

Get more customers in the door with all-you-can-eat deals, drink specials, or buy-one get-one bargains.

Buffalo Wild Wings knows that Super Bowl Sunday is a huge day for their establishments, and last year they offered free wings to everyone in the U.S. and Canada if the Super Bowl went into overtime. Though the game ended in regular time, Buffalo Wild Wings is wagering wings once again. This year, wing lovers have about a 10% chance of winning big. Those odds are worth it for a lot of hungry fans, and the company loves the engagement they see from their supporters, both in their restaurants and online.

Another interesting promotion idea hails from EagleBoltBar in Minneapolis, who gives out touchdown shots to anyone in a football jersey. Getting creative when marketing your restaurant can help you compete with the industry’s top dogs.

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10 Restaurant Promotion Ideas

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Use these promotion ideas from real restaurants to inspire your marketing activities.

Encourage Reservations

If you often see big crowds for Super Bowl Sunday, encourage your guests to make a reservation. Consider offering food or drink specials with each booking, or ticketed reservations through eventbrite, like Casa del Barco. For $25 in advance or $30 day of, customers get access to a nacho-taco bar and two drink tickets. The $5 discount is an added incentive for patrons to book early, which will also help Casa del Barco better prepare for the day’s festivities.

Offer Complimentary Tastings

Have a new beer or liquor you want to promote? There’s no better time than this Sunday. Offer free tastings, and sell the beverage at a discount if guests decide to purchase. Include menu items that pair nicely with the booze to boost profits even further.

Run a Contest

Even during an event as big as the Super Bowl, there might be some moments of lackluster performance. Try spicing things up during dull moments with contests. 

Clery’s, a Boston sports bar, hosts a wing eating contest during the big game. The Graystone Tavern in Chicago hosts a Super Bowl Squares contest for the chance to win a $100 gift card. Both contests promote purchasing from the establishment, so they’re driving up profit as well as entertaining their guests.

Advertise Pick Up and Delivery

This is a good strategy for most restaurants, because many guests will opt to watch the game from the comfort of their own living room, surrounded by friends and family. In fact, Toast restaurants saw an average increase of 6.73% of off-premise diners last year on Super Bowl Sunday compared to other Sundays in February. If you use an online ordering system, any surge in delivery and takeout options will be a breeze, as orders will route directly to your kitchen. 

Wing It On, a wing restaurant with locations in Connecticut and New Jersey, is promoting their pre-order offers. They’re offering limited pick-up slot times, which not only encourages pre-orders and helps them manage production but makes their wings all the more coveted. 

Eventide is taking carry-out options a step further by offering “The Big Game Package,” which includes food for up to six people. The offering contains the restaurant’s most popular items, from appetizer to dessert. This means Eventide can be any fan’s one-stop-shop for Super Bowl take out. 

Host an Anti-Super Bowl Party

Believe it or not, not every diner wants to go to a loud bar this Sunday. Or even watch the game at all. Many diners will still want to enjoy a nice meal without a dozen screens and screaming fans surrounding them. If your restaurant can offer something different than the normal Super Bowl viewing location, use that to your advantage. It depends on what your guests want, but if they’re not into the festivities, market your restaurant as a Super Bowl boycott destination — a safe haven from sports fans — to appeal to those who aren’t interested in watching the game at all.

Bonus Round Cafe in Chicago is hosting a “Big Game Blitz” for those that prefer board games to sports. They are offering $1 off beers, and have selected special shareable plates along with large-scale board games that last one to four hours (about as long as the Super Bowl). 

Thorough planning can make this Sunday a day of huge profit. Market your specials, prep your kitchen, and gear up your staff for Super Bowl LIV. Bonus: no padding required.

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