This past Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs faced off against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV. While the Chiefs were busy charging ahead towards victory, your restaurant may have been swamped, either hosting rowdy groups of people who hunkered down to watch the game, or preparing off-premise orders for hungry football fans who wanted to watch from the comfort of their homes.
The National Retail Federation reported that American adults watching the event were predicted to spend an average of $88.65 on food and beverages, merchandise, and party supplies, which amounted to a whopping $17.2 billion nationwide.
Whether or not those numbers played out as predicted remains to be seen, but we have compiled exclusive data from Toast customers to help you understand consumer trends during this year’s Super Bowl, so you can better plan for next year. Let’s see how your restaurant stacks up.
What Times Were Busiest This Super Bowl?
Hourly restaurant sales rose and fell with some regularity on Super Bowl Sunday. As you can probably imagine, the morning hours were a bit quieter, but the number of transactions at Toast restaurants started to increase significantly around 11:00 A.M. Around noon, though, hourly sales shot up and nearly doubled.
Hourly sales increased from there, with transaction volume reaching its peak around 1:00 P.M. Hourly sales were still at a high at 2:00 P.M., but from there, sales saw a steady decline throughout the rest of the day. People were still ordering food and drinks once the game started — and well into it — either in-restaurant or via delivery or pickup. But what the data tells us is that many people plan ahead on Super Bowl Sunday, by either ordering ahead and picking up food to bring back to their or a friend’s Super Bowl party, or by stopping in for lunch before heading off somewhere to watch the game.
Peak hourly sales were the same in 2019, too, with the highest transaction volume happening between 12:00 P.M. and 2:00 P.M. So next year, make sure you and your team are prepared to handle the influx of guests and orders likely to come rushing in at these times.
Check out the graph below for a full view of hourly restaurant sales on Super Bowl Sunday 2020.
How Does the Super Bowl Impact Ticket Size?
Interestingly, Super Bowl Sunday sees lower ticket sizes compared to your average Sunday.
This year, the average ticket size at Toast restaurants on Super Bowl Sunday was $30.84. On an average Sunday in January 2020, the average ticket size was $32.75. The same thing happened last year, with average Super Bowl ticket size being $29.60, while average February 2019 ticket size was $32.16.
This data could point to a few different trends. One is that people are spending less when dining with restaurants on Super Bowl Sunday if they have plans to watch the game later on at their homes or at a friend’s. Another is that people may be purchasing lower-priced menu items like wings and appetizers, especially if you’re running promotional deals on them.
On-Premise vs. Off-Premise: How Did It Play Out?
Since many guests opt to watch the game from the comfort of their own living rooms or those of friends and family, off-premise is huge on Super Bowl Sunday. And our data supports this.
While on-premise ticket size was still higher (at $32.00), the average off-premise ticket size at Toast restaurants was $26.90. This is 16.3% higher than the off-premise ticket size on an average Sunday. At the same time, on-premise ticket sizes saw an 8.7% decrease as compared to average Sundays.
Also important to note: More and more, off-premise orders are being made online, rather than over the phone. On Super Bowl Sunday this year, total online order sales at Toast restaurants were 16.41% higher compared to online order sales on average Sundays.
So what does this all mean? While you might see smaller ticket sizes in-restaurant, you and your team should be prepared to handle the influx of off-premise orders you can expect to receive on Super Bowl Sunday. Not only that, but you’ll need an online ordering system that’ll help you seamlessly manage the rush.
If your restaurant uses a POS-integrated online ordering system, you won’t have to sweat any big surges in delivery and takeout orders, since orders will be sent directly to your team in the kitchen.
Run into Next Year’s Super Bowl with a Game Plan
As it is with any big holiday or event, a successful Super Bowl Sunday comes down to planning and preparation. Make sure you have the resources in place — staff, production, technology, or otherwise — to properly support and keep things as stress free as possible.
Then it’s time to start finding ways to fill your dining rooms or bars and have your guests get their game day orders placed. To learn how you can tackle next year’s Super Bowl head-on, check out our Super Bowl Survival Guide, which covers promotion ideas and tactics from other restaurateurs who’ve done Super Bowl Sunday and made it out alive.