food and beveragemarketing

Is Your Restaurant and Bar Ready for Football Season?

It’s hard to imagine, but the first game of the football season has come and gone, and we have just four short months to bring in these fans and make them our fans. Of course, not every type of establishment caters to the sport’s enthusiasts. Many, however, appreciate this crowd that eats and drinks their way through the big game. 

Some of the top restaurant chains designed to draw in the football crowd include Buffalo Wild Wings, TGI Fridays, Chili’s, Hard Rock Café, Outback Steak House, and Applebee’s. Look at their websites, and you’ll see that they are gearing up to take their share of this group.

For example, TGI Fridays is offering 50-cent wings and $2 Miller Lite drafts at participating locations on Monday night. Known for their social media posts, they shared this LTO on Instagram. Chili’s is “staking its claim as the bar destination this season.” When football games are on, they’re offering an expansive happy hour and bar menu. 

Take a look in Las Vegas, and you’ll see restaurants offering free draft beer for fans wearing Raiders’ gear during games, $23 buckets of five beers, immersive virtual stadiums, deals on loaded fries with guacamole, pork sliders, and field goal shots.

Marketing for Sporting Events: Have You Got the Word Out?

Customers look for promotions that are tied to the game or event. They also appreciate creative endeavors. So, instead of offering 10% off your appetizer platter, consider giving patrons a percentage off of a specific item for every touchdown by the local team up to a certain point.

Create game-day drink specials, like drink buckets with ice. A game-day food menu should include small plates and appetizers, combos that serve a group of guests, and LTOs during the games.  

Restaurants that are not set up for big football crowds can still get in on the action by promoting game-day online ordering and takeout. Create football food bundles that are perfect for at-home parties and highlight them on your website. 

Let your customers know about these events via in-house signage, table toppers, and menu inserts. Run social media ads and use geotargeting to reach potential guests that are near your location. Hypertargeting can connect you with customers specifically interested in football. Use geofencing, another location-based marketing tool, to identify customers near your business or your competitor’s business and send them your football promos.

How Do You Create Repeat Customers?

Now that you’ve got them in the door, how do you keep them coming back? Millennials or Generation-Y, those born between 1981 and 1996, is a lucrative and growing customer segment for restaurants. Research shows that this population dines out more than any of the other generations and spends more when they’re eating out. Their preferences include diverse flavors, ethnic cuisine, customization, and dining out as an experience. They also tend to share these experiences more readily on social networks, which is good news for your restaurant.

Meeting up with friends and family and cheering on their teams while enjoying great food and drinks is one way to create an experience for this crowd. Restaurants have been cashing in on football season, NBA finals, and the World Cup for some time. 

There are, however, other events throughout the year that you can market and create a buzz about. These may include the Academy Awards or Grammys. Pull out the red carpet and invite guests to dress up for the occasion. Set up a contest where the person that predicts the most winners in each category wins a prize. Even popular TV shows and series- or season-ending episodes can bring in the crowds. Some talked-about TV shows in 2022 include Abbott Elementary, Atlanta, and Barry.

Your great food and drinks, prompt and knowledgeable service, clean and creative ambiance, and fun entertainment will keep them coming back for more.   


What is the most popular football food? 

CBS Sports reported on the most popular game-day foods based on Grubhub’s delivery platform and the hundreds of thousands of orders they process daily. The research found that favorite foods vary significantly by geographic location. That said, brisket took the number one spot for the most ordered food during football season.

The top five foods were smoked brisket sandwiches, cheeseburger empanadas, pepper burgers, roasted chicken, and buffalo mac and cheese. I know, I asked the same question: Where are the chicken wings, and how did cheeseburger empanadas make the second most popular item? 

Even odder, the top five food items in the Northeast were salmon avocado rolls, garlic knots, buffalo chicken pizza, grilled chicken, and barbeque spare ribs. 

On the other hand, DoorDash reported what many of us consider typical game-day go-to’s. They gathered data from Sunday orders from adults who said they were sports fans. Their nationwide results found the top five foods were mozzarella sticks, boneless wings, chips & salsa, Caesar salad, and pepperoni pizza.

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