Super Bowl Sunday is one of the most important days for restaurants across the United States. On this day, millions of people gather to watch the biggest game of the year, and many of them do so at restaurants and bars. This means big business for restaurants, and a surge in customers and sales. 34% of Americans report they always go to a restaurant or bar to watch the Super Bowl, according to Toast.
Whether you love it or hate it, this year's game is expected to draw a large viewership with Taylor Swift in attendance to support Travis Kelce. This year, Super Bowl LVIII touches down in Las Vegas on Sunday, February 11.
Some full-service restaurants may see a decrease in business on Super Bowl Sunday with the game on TV, many others have an opportunity to bring in more customers—or sell a lot of takeout. For these businesses, it is important to be prepared for the influx of people and to have enough staff on hand to accommodate the crowds. Additionally, restaurants should make sure they have enough food and drink to meet the demand on this busy day.
But behind it all, what matters most is HOW you attract clients. So next, we're looking at some of the most creative ways to promote ahead of the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl 2024 Promotion Ideas for Bars and Restaurants
1. Prepare for volume
With the Super Bowl coming up, restaurants need to be prepared for the influx of customers. There are a few things restaurants can do to get ready for the Super Bowl:
- Stock up on supplies: Make sure you have enough food, drinks, and utensils to accommodate the increase in customers.Think of what's most likely to sell out first: finger foods, wings, pizza, kegs, napkins, special items, etc.
- Train your staff: Your staff should be well-trained and prepared to handle the increase in customer volume. This helps you avoid complaints from hungry fans while creating a memorable experience for clients.
- Promote your specials: Let your customers know about any Super Bowl specials you'll be offering. This ensures you'll have a rough idea of what people are more likely to order and you'll also sell everything.
- Get ready for the cleanup: Your post-game plan is just as important as your pre-game preparations. So stock up on all-purpose cleaners and check your soap dispensers and other supplies to get back to your regular schedule.
Recommended Reading: Restaurant Forecasting: How To, Formulas, Methods, and More
2. Go all-in on pick-up and delivery
Truth is: Most people will stay at home. And this huge event draws in a lot of people who are looking for a quick and easy meal. Delivery and pick-up orders tend to be higher during the Super Bowl than any other time of year. So if you're looking to boost your sales during the big game, delivery and pick-up are the way to go.
A couple of pitfalls to avoid here:
- You'll want to make sure you promote your pick-up and delivery options early and often. Your customers should know that you're open for business and ready to take their orders.
- Be prepared for a surge in business. It's hard enough to manage a higher workload without delivery. So make sure you have enough staff on hand to handle the increase in orders and customer service. Plus, be sure to stock up on those supplies!
- Offer discounts and specials. With so much competition around, this is a great way to entice customers to choose your restaurant over others. If you don't want to give out discounts, consider other perks like loyalty cards or free dessert.
3. Food and drink specials
Yes, specials are a must when getting your restaurant ready for the Super Bowl! But how do you stand out?
Some options to customize your restaurant's menu during the Super Bowl include:
- Offering tailored drinks/food to the teams playing
- Providing special pricing on large orders
- Offering free home deliveries
- Putting together item packages [see example below]
4. Run a contest or giveaway
A contest can be a great way to catch people's attention and even make their Super Bowl day more fun. If you're thinking about running a contest or giveaway during the Super Bowl, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Start by choosing a prize that will appeal to your target audience. If you're a sports bar, for example, you could give away tickets to the big game. Be mindful of your own budget though. Free vacations you won't be able to afford are a big no.
Next, promote your contest or giveaway through social media and other channels. Start at least one week before the day of the game and make sure to include details on how to enter and what the prize is.
Lastly, set a deadline for entry and make sure to announce the winner in a timely manner. Don't forget to deliver the prize with a bang!
5. Advertise on social media
Social media is one of the most powerful tools at a restaurant's disposal. Not only can it be used to connect with potential customers, but it can also be used to advertise promotions and specials. And what better time to use social media to advertise your restaurant than during the Super Bowl?
There are a few things to keep in mind when using social media to advertise during the Super Bowl. First, make sure your ad is creative and catches people's attention. Second, use relevant hashtags to reach a wider audience. And finally, make sure to monitor your social media channels during the game.
We've compiled some fun Super bowl promotional ideas to get your first social media marketing plan started. Here's what you could do:
- Start events on Facebook to promote special contests or in-restaurant discounts
- Try your hand at TikTok marketing with an original video series that might just go viral
- Work with an ad consultant or agency to set up some Instagram ads around and during the Super Bowl
- Be extra active through posts and stories on Instagram/Facebook
6. Look to your email list
If you're just reading this for the first time, now's the perfect time to start building your email list. Email lists are a great way for restaurants to keep in touch with their customers. They can be used to send out special offers, announcements, and even just friendly updates. And best of all, they're easy to set up and manage.
The trickier part is actually building the list. To speed things up, you could build a loyalty program or organize giveaways leading up to important events like the Super Bowl. Make sure to always ask for permission when adding people to your email list. Alternatively, you can also have a sign-up form on your restaurant's website that's easy to find and fill out. Quick tip: If your guests know that going to your website will get them a special offer or a free drink, they'll definitely check it out every now and then.
Have a look at our complete email marketing guide for restaurants as it's a good idea to do this in the long run.
7. Remember the non-sports fans
Not everyone's as excited. The solution? Offer other things to do besides just watching the Super Bowl. Sure, your TVs should be tuned to the game so customers can watch if they want to. But keep the noise level down so all customers can enjoy their meal without the distraction of the game.
You could also opt to strictly make home deliveries for fans and keep your physical location running normally. This ultimately depends on what brand you want to build for your place. Even anti-Super Bowl parties are a thing.
Staffing for success during the Super Bowl
By far the most often overlooked aspect of preparing your restaurant for the Super Bowl is staffing. Now that you've done all the promos and special menus, are you really ready to prepare and deliver the food? What about who's going to host in-restaurant events like trivias or other contests?
You simply need to stick to this three-step plan:
1. Confirm your team's availability
While the game itself is only a few hours long, the festivities often last all day. This means restaurants need to be staffed for both the early-game crowds and the post-game celebration.
The best way to ensure that your restaurant is fully staffed for the Super Bowl is to create a shift schedule well in advance. Confirm your staff's availability for Super Bowl Sunday at least four weeks in advance. This will give you time to create an accurate schedule for the entire day, identify potential staffing issues, and have enough time to solve them so you're not left doing it last minute and being even more stressed. You should also post the schedule in a place where all team members can see it. This way, everyone will know what their shifts are and can plan accordingly.
In addition to creating a shift schedule, you should also confirm team availability a few days before the game. Relook at your reservations, talk to all your staff working on Sunday, and reconfirm their schedules four days before the big day.
2. Communicate specials and info
To keep your staff aligned on the changes around the event, you can:
As a rule, stick to your general policies or simply use all of the methods above. This will let you make sure that your staff gets notified on time and won't forget about the shift changes.
By taking the time to communicate with your staff before the big game, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and ready to provide your customers with the best possible experience. You can opt to set up a dress code and encourage your staff [even customers] to wear jerseys or team colors that day.
3. Cover changes quickly
Quick changes always tend to happen when you least expect them. But you can prep for them if you use restaurant scheduling apps. These let you publish your new schedule instantly and automatically notify employees of changes. You'll see exactly who is available to take on a new shift and make changes on the fly.
Building a culture around the idea that it's ok to exchange shifts lets you increase accountability within your staff. Your team will also have constant access to their schedule while managers can fully get rid of all paper and misunderstandings in regard to scheduling.
Where to start with promoting your restaurant during the Super Bowl?
Start early. Don't wait until the last minute to start preparing for the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl can be an incredibly successful event for your business, so make sure you're prepared for anything that can be thrown your way.
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