How to Score on Big Game Sunday

Profitable strategies and trending menu items for the biggest game day of the year, with promotion calendar

While there’s no Vince Lombardi Trophy for surviving the madness that is sure to be operating a restaurant on the day of the biggest football game of the year via takeout and delivery (there should be!), this guide will help you stay fumble-free straight into the end zone.

The Big Game is the second-largest food holiday of the year, providing plenty of opportunity for bar and grills, caterers – just about any foodservice operation ­– to have a profitable holiday.

In this article, you’ll get a back-of-the-house game plan, tips to make delivery a breeze, trending menu items to make your menu stand out, and a marketing calendar to help you get the word out to diners. Let’s get to work.

Create A Game Plan

While we are on our way to returning to normalcy this year, most sales will be done through your off-premise channels. Below, you’ll find tips and products to help you plan accordingly.


Leverage Data to Avoid Over- or Under-Ordering
According to Yahoo! Finance, Americans ate more than 1.3 billion wings during last year’s game. Utilize restaurant data analytics to calculate a sales forecast for Super Bowl Sunday. Some POS systems collect this information for you, making it easier to dive into your sales and make projections. These projections will tell you what sold well, what to '86', and just how many wings you should order. You’ll also want to leverage pre-ordering to right-size quantities.


Make Your Menu Pop
The stars of a game day menu are similar from year to year, but diners crave twists on classics. Finger foods like wings, chips and dips, queso and pizza reign supreme, but consider offering  specials that take familiar items and give them an interesting twist, like Moroccan Fried Chicken Wings. Alternatively, a gimmick related to the team’s mascot or home city can give diners another way to feel like they’re supporting their team.


Smarten Up on Staffing
These days, right-sizing staff is more important than ever. You may be light in the front-of-the-house, but you’ll need your back-of-the-house A-game. Consider cross-training front-of-the-house teams in advance to properly pack orders for delivery to those you may otherwise need to cut early. You don’t need every staff member you have to ensure a profitable day. Prepare ahead of time, using the days before to slowly increase your production for pre-orders.

Menu Templats

Game day profits webinar

Game day ready products

Deliver A Smooth Handoff

During a typical year, more than 48 million Americans order takeout or delivery – this year, that amount is expected to increase exponentially. Make sure you have a catering menu right-sized for small groups of 4, 6, 8 or 10, instead of typically larger catering options.

Ensure your menu items are delivery-friendly. You may want to under-sauce wings and add in an extra container to keep them crispy, find takeout-friendly sides and double up on the guac.

Check out the Taking It To Go brochure for all the containers you’ll need to keep hot foods hot, cold foods cold, and saucy foods from leaking.

Don’t forget the booze! Allowances for to-go alcohol are still in effect in many states – use this as an opportunity to upsell beer and pre-made cocktails. Learn how to build an off-premise alcohol menu here.

All-Star LineUp

Making your game day menu stand out to diners is a challenge we encounter every year. Think of it the same way you do Thanksgiving – give them their favorites while adding a spin they can’t get from a home-cooked meal.

Our culinary team has compiled some game day-ready products that can help you get a competitive edge.



Hilltop Hearth® Premium Pimento Cheese Stuffed Pretzel Knots are a Southern-inspired spin on a familiar shareable appetizer. Serve some today.
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Molly's Kitchen® Battered Mozzarella Sticks are frozen, battered and ready to be pan-fried or fried. They make a classic appetizer
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Chips and Dip:

Harvest Value® Yellow Corn Tortilla Chips have an authentic flavor that pairs well with salsa and guacamole. Make them your diners’ favorite dippers today.
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Chef's LIne® Guacamole is made with hand-scooped avocados and packed in resealable tubs. Perfect for Mexican appetizers, chips or entrées
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The Perfect Burger:

Hilltop Hearth® Sliced Hamburger Bun come baked and frozen, ready to thaw for that perfect burger or sandwich.
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With its steak-like flavor, Cattleman’s Selection® ground beef is perfect for burgers, meatloaf, tacos and more. Serve it today.
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Finger Food Faves with a Twist:

Patuxent Farms® Red Curry Seasoned Popcorn Chicken takes popcorn chicken and adds a global flavor twist. Help your diners enjoy world cuisine in a familiar way.
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Patuxent Farms® Roasted Jumbo Chicken Wings are based on one of our best-selling wings – and will fly off your menu. Meet diner demand for a classic appetizer.
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So, you’ve leveraged your past ordering data, created a killer specials menu, and staffed accordingly. So why aren’t the orders rolling in? If you’re not promoting your offerings in places diners search, you’ll be leaving money (and food) on the table.

This year, more than ever, your digital front door is your gateway to revenue. We’ve created a schedule to help you reach your customers.

If you need help with establishing a killer Instagram account or setting up your Google Business location, watch our ‘Get Good at Instagram’ and ‘Get Good at Google’ webinars live or on demand here.
Dive deeper on how to drive profit from Instagram and take Insta-worthy photos here and in our Social Media Quick Start Guide.

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Update website with specials menu and send email to loyal customers
Update Google Business and Post on Social Media about offerings, and encourage early ordering
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Post on social media with great food photos, telling people how to order and pre-order
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Leverage your Instagram stories to share photos and videos of menu items without cluttering up feeds.
One week out! Freshen up the website and email customers
Post on social media with a menu reminder and links to order
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Post on social media channels, create a sense of urgency
Instagram Stories- one per menu item, with a swipe up link to order on each story
Send final pre-order email and post on social media about what and how to order last-minute
Instagram Stories- one per menu item, with a swipe up link to order on each story
It’s Game day! Post early in the day, and post several Instagram stories with enticing photos of menu faves to encourage same-day ordering.
Send emails and update post on social media, with thank you’s to those who supported your restaurant for the biggest sports holiday of the year.
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