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Restaurant Super Bowl Specials and Trends to Help Boost Sales

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Justin GuinnAuthor

Super Bowl LVII is Sunday, February 12 at 6:30pm ET. If this year’s big game is anything like past years, people will be tackling plate after plate of food. 

It’s a prime time for restaurants to capitalize on increased traffic for in-store and off-premise orders.

Toast ran a recent survey to understand consumer Super Bowl restaurant plans and help operators forecast what to expect and how to maximize sales on the day. Read on to see the data and learn what restaurant super bowl specials and tactics may help drive more consumers into your restaurant.

Top super bowl restaurant takeaways

  • 57% of guests that dine at restaurants at least three to five times a month are planning on patronizing restaurants as part of their Super Bowl viewing plans

  • For consumers that plan to patronize a restaurant for the Super Bowl, the most popular plan is a combination of takeout and cooking at home (29%)

  • Buy-one, get-one offers (42%) are the most popular for encouraging consumers to dine in or order takeout/delivery from a restaurant for the Super Bowl, followed by discounts on specific menu items (41%)

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Consumer Super Bowl restaurant plans combine takeout, delivery, and home cooking

Toast surveyed nearly 1000 guests that dine at restaurants at least three to five times a month — including dine-in, takeout, delivery, and drive-thru. 

When asked about viewing the Super Bowl, a majority of consumers are incorporating restaurants into their plans.

Our research shows restaurants can expect to serve 57% of Super Bowl viewers, across takeout, delivery, and dine-in. The other 43% of viewers are planning to cook at home, though many plan to combine home cooking with takeout and delivery.

Of the 57% of consumers planning to patronize restaurants for the Super Bowl, the most popular plan is a combination of takeout and cooking at home (29%). That’s followed by just takeout alone at 23% then a combination of home cooking and delivery at 22%.

Restaurant Super Bowl specials to encourage more sales

Our research inquired which types of restaurant Super Bowl specials and offers would encourage viewers to dine in, order takeout, or delivery for the game.

Buy-one, get-one (BOGO) deals are the most impactful restaurant Super Bowl specials at 42%. That’s followed by discounts on menu specific items (41%), combo deals (39%), a separate Super Bowl special menu (36%), and packaged takeout meals (32%).

BOGO being most popular makes sense, as these offers likely provide the most value for diners. Combo discounts make sense as well when considering how popular chicken wings, pizza, and similar such food items are for watching the Super Bowl.

Separate, special menus and packaged takeout meals are appealing as operators can design these to be high-margin breadwinners — though they can be operational headaches, so it’d be great if your team was able to package meals in advance of the day, such as salads and cold items. Staff could also put together a decent head start of prepackaged meals or par cooked specials to lessen the craze of the rush.

Keep your operation scoring beyond Super Bowl restaurant plans

It’s critical that restaurants forecast and plan for holidays and special events, such as the Super Bowl. 

While this can be easier said than done, a great place to start is reviewing sales from last year’s big game — which was February 12, 2022…and was a thrilling game with three lead changes and a winning score with less than two minutes left to play.

If you want to go deeper, Super Bowl 55 was played February 7, 2021 and Super Bowl 54 was played February 2, 2020.

Past restaurant sales data can give you an idea of what to expect, though it’s important to put that in context of any relevant marketing efforts employed for the day. Together, this data can help set expectations, staffing, food orders, and prep for this year’s Super Bowl.

Many restaurants also keep running notes to provide context to sales. This would be a great time to read back through any such notes as well.

While you’re at it, why not employ this level of restaurant forecasting and analysis every day, or at least every week — not just the big ones. 

If you’re already doing that, kudos! How can you go deeper and get more precise? Perhaps you can turn your eye to maximizing margins by recipe costing and calculating plate costs.  

If reviewing past sales, forecasting, and general analysis isn’t your strongest skill, no sweat! The right tools can help simplify this work. It starts with a strong foundation in Point of Sale and basic reporting tied to it. From there, restaurant tech stacks can include: 

Methodology

Toast conducted a blind survey of 970 U.S. adults ages 18 and older from January 13, 2023 - January 14, 2023. Respondents were not made aware that Toast was fielding the study.  All respondents indicated they order from restaurants at least 3 - 5 times per month. Using a standard margin of error calculation, at a confidence interval of 95%, the margin of error on average is +/- 4 - 5%.

Forward-Looking Statements

This report contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which are not guaranteed, and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes in circumstances that are difficult to predict. Forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and assumptions, which may not prove to be accurate. These statements are not guarantees and are subject to risks, uncertainties, and changes and we assume no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, except as required by law. Specific factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the effect of economic conditions in the United States and globally, general industry conditions and the other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in Toast’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Toast does not guarantee you will achieve any specific results if you follow any advice herein.

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