5 Steps to Prep Your Restaurant for the Super Bowl

Make game day a win for your restaurant by preparing in advance and having the right tech in place to manage takeout orders and big crowds.

2 months ago   •   5 min read

By Garrett Calcaterra

For many restaurants, the Super Bowl can be one of the busiest—and most profitable—days of an otherwise slow season. In 2022, for example, SpotOn saw an 18% increase in online ordering transactions on Super Bowl Sunday. Meanwhile, on-premise orders of wings nearly doubled. Whether you’re expecting a large crowd, higher than normal takeout orders, or a combination of both, here are five steps to help you prepare for the big game.

1. Plan your menus

Like with any other high volume sales day, it’s a great idea to analyze your menu and make sure it’s going to turn you a healthy profit.

For your dine-in menu:

  • Your most popular and most profitable items are your stars. Make sure they’re front and center.
  • For your equally popular but less profitable plow horse items, consider pairing them with higher profit margin items as part of a pricing special.
  • Don’t stop there. Be strategic with using pricing events to entice crowds in with discounts on low cost items that are easy for your kitchen and/or bar staff to crank out. With SpotOn Restaurant POS, you can set pricing events in your back-of-house settings.
  • Trim the fat. If an item isn’t profitable, don’t be shy about pulling it from your menu. If preparing it is going to bog down your kitchen, scrap it. If you can’t source enough stock from your suppliers to meet demand during the big game, pull it from your menu for the big game.

For your take-out menu:

  • As with your dine-in menu, tighten your online ordering menu for the big day with items that are profitable and manageable for your kitchen.
  • If need be, limit certain items to dine-in ordering only. If you know, for example, you’re going to sell every last wing on hand and they’re going to make more money in the dining room as part of a beer and wing pricing special, then remove them from your takeout menu.
  • Consider offering meal kits and group platters for customers planning on hosting their own Super Bowl parties—and encourage them to order well in advance so your staff can prepare beforehand.
  • Update your online ordering menu. With a first-party restaurant online ordering system like SpotOn Order, you can easily do this from your back-of-house settings, and with our Google Business Profile integration, it’ll update your to-go menu on Google too.

2. Spread the word

Football marketing templates for a social media post and an email displayed on a laptop
SpotOn makes it easy to connect with your customers with customizable templates.

Once you have your menu, pricing specials, and any special events or activities planned, take a multi-channel approach to getting the word out.

  • Go the traditional route with printing signs or fliers to place in your dining room and takeout bags.
  • Post on social media with all the details of what you’re planning for the big day. Be sure to advertise your hours, specials, events, and how to order online ahead of time for takeout orders.
  • Send a marketing email to everyone on your mailing list. If you’re using SpotOn, it’s a simple matter to create both a social media campaign and a marketing email using our premade templates within your SpotOn Dashboard.
  • If you’re hosting a private watching party or running an exclusive Super Bowl menu or drink package, you can ask guests to register (and pay) in advance using Experiences with SpotOn Reserve.

3. Figure out your staffing

Look back at your staff schedule from last year's Super Bowl to help you coordinate staffing this year. With a comprehensive labor management tool like SpotOn Teamwork, you can easily compare your staff schedule with POS data to see if you were staffed efficiently. From there, make changes accordingly to ensure you're appropriately staffed. If you don’t have data at your fingertips, talk to management and staff who were on hand last year to assess whether you're appropriately staffed or need to adjust this year.

4. Shine on game day with tech

A server holds out a handheld restaurant POS for a guest to pay with their card
Handheld devices help staff cover more tables and provide faster, better service.

With your staffing figured out, use technology to make sure you’re setting your team up for a big win, particularly if you know you’re going to be shorthanded.

  • Use a digital waitlist app and reservation system to help manage seating if you’re expecting a full-house. It will help bring sanity to your host station and keep guests up to date with real-time wait times and 2-way texting.
  • Equip your servers with handheld point-of-sale devices. This makes it easy for them to cover more tables and work more efficiently, with the ability to send food and drink orders straight to the kitchen from the table.
  • Consider using QR codes to have guests order and pay right from their table.This frees up your front-of-house staff to deliver food and drinks faster and ensure guests are having a good time.
  • Make sure your staff is well rewarded by presetting suggested tip amounts on your handhelds, QR ordering, and receipts. Then, streamline the tip management process with the SpotOn Teamwork labor management solution.
  • Set the pacing controls on your online ordering, so that you can limit the number of online orders coming in and keep your kitchen from getting swamped.

5. Keep the momentum going

Creating a great experience on game day goes a long way toward creating customer loyalty, but don’t leave it to chance. Again, technology can be a huge help here by making it easy to add all your game-day guests to the customer database for your restaurant.

Once you’ve seamlessly collected email addresses from everyone, it’s then a simple matter to reach out to them all year long with targeted marketing campaigns, whether it’s for the next big event or to drive traffic on a slow Wednesday night with an enticing happy hour special.

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