From pizza and chicken wings to burritos and subs, restaurants hope to capitalize on the appetites of Super Bowl fans
Super Bowl XLVI will be the year’s most important game not only for the New York Giants and New England Patriots, but also for the restaurant industry.
The Feb. 5 contest is one of the biggest sales days for several pizza and wing brands, and many other chains not normally thought of for party food are planning big offers this year.
According to estimates from the National Restaurant Association, 48 million Americans will order takeout or delivery food from a restaurant while watching the Super Bowl. Another 12 million people are expected to visit a restaurant or bar to watch the game.
Day of dough for pizza chains
Pizza Patrón, the Dallas-based chain of 100 restaurants in seven states, is hoping not only to sell lots of pizza, but also to remind its customers that it offerswings and several dips, said brand director Andrew Gamm.
“Super Bowl Sunday is not the biggest day of the year for us, but it’s in the top four or five, and we want to improve and capture more business,” Gamm said.
Pizza Patrón has introduced four new Party Paquetazos — which means “combo” in Spanish and is pitched toward the chain’s core Hispanic demographic — combining wings, large pepperoni pizzas and five-piece orders of QuesoStix. They range in size from a $34.99 Paquetazo of 30 wings, two orders of QuesoStix, two pizzas and three dips, to an $84.99 combo of 90 wings, four orders of QuesoStix, four pizzas and eight dips.
Wings are featured prominently because Pizza Patron is hoping to become a one-stop shop on game day for customers, who told chain officials that they often were making two trips to buy pizza and wings from separate restaurants, Gamm added.
“On average, wings are between 10 percent and 14 percent of our sales mix, but since they’re so synonymous with the Super Bowl, we saw an opportunity to capitalize,” he said. “We matched ourselves up against some wing concepts and what they offer, and tried to create the benefit that for the same price, you get pizzas in your deal as well.”
The brand isn’t hoping for just a rush of these party orders on Super Bowl Sunday, Gamm said, but hopes to kick off continued orders of the Paquetazos throughout the year.
“Our franchisees immediately asked if they could run this all year,” he said. “With our Hispanic-customer focus, soccer is real big with them, and that season runs through early June. We developed our POP and marketing materials to run for an extended period of time.”
Papa John’s Pizza also is looking to get a yearlong boost from the game as the official sponsor of Super Bowl XLVI and the National Football League. This year the Louisville, Ky.-based brand is tying a nationwide giveaway to the Super Bowl’s pregame coin toss, and is advertising the promotion with commercials starring founder John Schnatter and football players Peyton Manning and Jerome Bettis.
Watch Papa John’s Super Bowl commercial; story continues below
Through Feb. 1, people can vote at www.papajohns.com to predict whether the coin toss will come up heads or tails. If a majority of Americans vote the correct call, the more than 3,000-unit pizza chain will give away a one-topping pizza and a two-liter bottle of soda to every customer enrolled in its Papa Rewards online-loyalty program, to be redeemed the day after the Super Bowl.
“This won’t be an easy call for America, but as the official pizza sponsor of the NFL, it’s an easy call for Papa John’s to offer a promotion like this to our loyal customers,” Schnatter said in a statement. “The Super Bowl is the largest stage in all of sports, and it’s the biggest sales day of the year for us.”
Papa John’s set a single-day sales record last Super Bowl Sunday, selling more than 1 million pizzas.
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Wing chains look to take flight
Super Bowl Sunday is always one of the biggest consumption days for chicken wings, and several chicken wing brands step up their game every year for the NFL postseason.
Buffalo Wild Wings is offering a takeout special of 24 wings plus two side dishes or shareable plates, which also comes with peel-and-stick “eye black” stickers. The Minneapolis-based chain also schedules extra staff for Super Bowl Sunday at its more than 815 locations to handle the highest volumes it sees all year, officials said.
According to Harris Interactive data supplied by the National Chicken Council, about 23 percent of people watching the Super Bowl on television eat chicken wings while doing so, and about 1.25 billion wings are expected to be eaten during the weekend.
Wingstop, the Richardson, Texas-based chain of 500 locations, expects to sell 5.6 million wings during Super Bowl weekend. If the brand meets its sales expectations this year, it would mark the 12th consecutive year that Wingstop sets a single-day sales record.
“Wings are becoming the go-to snack for Super Sunday parties,” Jim Flynn, the brand’s chief executive, said in a statement. “The menu at a watching party has become almost as important as who wins the game. Our fans place orders weeks early, and Wingstop starts prepping for the big day months in advance.”
The chain said sales on Super Sunday are 290 percent over the typical Sunday on average. Wingstop is projecting sales growth of 12 percent compared with last year’s Super Sunday. Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman has been the chain’s spokesman since 2003 and recently joined its board of directors.
KFC also is using the Super Bowl occasion to promote its Sauceless Hot Wings, recently offering them for 50 cents per piece.
Other foods get in the game
Super Bowl promotions are not limited just to pizza and wing chains, however.
Chipotle Mexican Grill, for instance, is hoping to drive orders of its Burritos by the Box offer for the Super Bowl without participating in the expensive advertising during the game. So the Denver-based brand is offering half-priced boxes of six burritos or more in the “Super Big Internationally Televised Professional Football Bowl Game Half Price Party in a Box” promotion on Feb. 5.
The chain is referencing but not naming the Super Bowl with its social-media profiles, website and in-store signage.
Columbus, Ohio-based Charley’s Grilled Subs, on the other hand, is running its “Grill-Iron Classic” competition through Feb. 20 to build up its Facebook fan base and promote its core Philly Cheese Steak and California Chicken Sub.
Fans are invited to “like” Charley’s Facebook page and vote for their favorite between the two subs, in exchange for free food or an entry into a sweepstakes for one of nine $500 cash prizes.
“Our Charley’s Philly Cheese Steak has had a legendary following for 25 years, but over the past few years the brash new California Chicken sandwich has built its own cult-like following,” said Mike Cassar, vice president of marketing for the 450-unit brand.
“We know a good rivalry when we eat it, so we are playing the two coastal favorites against each other by plying our socially savvy fans with free food and prizes for their vote,” he said.