Before the big game, prepare your team to perform like champions despite the obstacles created by the pandemic.
The Cincinnati Bengals are set to take on the Los Angeles Rams on February 13, 2022, in the most anticipated football game of the year. While all Americans were confident that professional sports would make a comeback after being temporarily muted by COVID-19, many restaurants are still facing low traffic, supply chain issues, shortages of staff and the inability to accurately forecast sales.
Before the big game, prepare your team to perform like champions despite the obstacles created by the pandemic. Here’s how:
1. Customize your game day menu. Sporting event menus are dominated by fan favorites. With the surge in inflation due to the pandemic, profit margins can be greatly affected. To make up for lost revenue, print temporary menus with higher prices or experiment with low-cost, higher-margin specials such as nachos, chili, or pizza to offset revenue. Be sure to order extra inventory of the most popular game day favorites so you don’t risk running out. Extras can be used for promotions within a week of the game to ensure they are not lost.
2. Offer a special tasting menu or an appetizer buffet. Customers may not want to partake in a hearty meal, especially if they have to be parked in your restaurant until four o’clock. Instead, offer small tasting plates, tapas-style selections, or even a self-serve appetizer buffet. Variety will keep customers happy, and there will be minimal delay in food service if your kitchen or wait staff gets into weeds.
3. Consider beer buckets. Beer and sport go hand in hand. Knowing this will be one of your best sellers, consider incorporating large, ice cold beer buckets where transactions are restricted, walk-in customers pay in cash or by credit card swiped through a handheld reader. Beer buckets are great for speeding up orders and freeing up your servers’ time, especially if you anticipate you’ll be understaffed. Also, make sure these are located away from narrow areas that can become too crowded.
4. Deal with the stay-at-home crowd. Not everyone wants to go out for the big event, especially with COVID-19 still lingering. But that doesn’t mean you can’t turn the home crowd into customers. Offer catering specials for full meals, tailgate boxes, or even take-out and warm-up appetizers for those planning to host their own get-togethers. Consider setting up a special staging area to make the fulfillment process as efficient as possible so as not to interfere with your internal customer experience.
5. Take a family approach. The super bowl is often associated with an afternoon of adult bar food and drink, but families are also often included on the big day. Have coloring pages, games, and maybe even a screen showing the Puppy Bowl available for those with their children.
6. Promote Return Visits. The Super Bowl is a great opportunity to encourage customer loyalty. Once you’ve brought them to the door of a special event, entice them to come back by presenting them with discount coupons for future visits. Take advantage of the social media frenzy by offering special offers to customers who share their photos, tagging your establishment or using a special hashtag.
7. Stay in touch. Hosting a giveaway is a great way to get email addresses so you can stay in touch year-round. Depending on your budget, it could be something as simple as a free dinner or as extravagant as a flat-screen TV. Create entry cards that require at least their name and email address, then be sure to send them information regarding events, specials, menu changes, and more. to keep your restaurant in mind when planning their next night out.
Whether you’re a football fan or not, the boost in sales that the Super Bowl can bring can’t be ignored. Taking the time now to prepare your establishment and staff to perform as best they can amid the pandemic-related complications facing our industry will certainly score points with your guests.