Up Your Game Plan for “The Big Game”

“The Big Game” is exactly one month from the day today.  If you want to get in on the biggest game of the year, now is the time to put your game plan in motion.  Proactively working to get customers in your door is key to winning during this busy sports’ season.

These tips can help to boost sales and keep the crowds happy during football season:


Advertise, advertise, advertise.  Make sure that everyone knows that you are THE place to watch their favorite team.  Place table cards on every table.  Put posters on the front door, in the waiting area, and in the restrooms.  Advertise on your website and all your social media outlets and ask your friends, family, and staff to share, like or retweet it.

Create a buzz through word-of-mouth. Starting weeks in advance, have every server tell each table that you will be hosting the specific events and all of the activities planned around them.  Start asking guests where they plan to watch upcoming games, and personally invite them to join you at your location.  Put out team decorations, balloons, and signs as soon as you know which teams are playing on upcoming dates.

Offer game day specials.  Not only does this get more customers in the door, it can also help your staff.  Sales will spike when the game first starts, then trickle down as the game progresses.  Providing free chips and dip, nuts, pretzels, discounted appetizers, and drink specials that are quick and easy to whip together can stall food orders just enough so the kitchen does not get slammed all at once.  Offer between-quarter specials as well as post-game to boost sales.

Consider beer buckets.  Beer and sports go hand-in-hand.  Knowing that it will be one of your top sellers, consider having a manned, cash-only or handheld credit card reader beer buckets to expedite orders and free up your servers’ time. Be sure these are located away from tight areas that may become too congested.

Promote take out.  There will be many guests who prefer to host their own get together, but do not want to cook.  Take advantage of this by promoting take out or curbside pickup.  Take as many pre-orders as possible so that you can order, prep, and staff properly.  Assess your kitchen in advance.  Can you prepare three large orders every 15 minutes? Or does it take 20?  Offering predetermined time slots can help keep your BOH staff out of the weeds.

Don’t forget about the local teams.  In many communities, high school and pee wee football are just as important as the NFL games.  Offer team night discounts or hand out free appetizer or ‘$5 off your next visit’ cards to locals to make sure your restaurant is their first choice after their games (or for takeout if mom and dad don’t want to cook after running the kids around all evening).