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Musings on the Foodservice Industry

Pizza and Football Yield Big Score

In a faraway place, long, long ago (around the 1970s), there were but a few football games on television.

Monday Night Football was in full bloom yet there were still only regional Sunday professional games and a handful of college games available on Saturdays.  There was no NFL Network or Hulu or vast internet on which you could find any game anytime from anywhere.

Then consider the incredible popularity of fantasy football and sports betting that have helped catapult football into the No. 1 sport in America.

Well times have changed, and with it the opportunities for pizzerias.  Here are a few numbers you may find inspiring: By the end of the last NFL season, 202 million fans tuned in with NFL game viewership nearly tripling primetime broadcasts. Forty of the 50 most-watched shows were NFL games; Thursday night football viewership was up 53 percent and for the third consecutive year, NFL games were the most-watched show in all 17 weeks.

Football – either pro or college – is on almost seven days a week providing you, the pizzeria owner, to grab the football and score big with increased sales.

Promotions may be dominated by the big guys like Pizza Hut® and Domino’s®, but whether you have one beer and pizzalocation or many, you can piggyback on their ideas.  Here are a few promotions to consider:

  1. Delivery – Pump up delivery by offering game-time discounts. You can tie-in your rewards programs, give points for customers who order weekly, run local promos to giveaway pizzas to lucky winners.  Keep it simple.
  2. Catering – Everyone has football-watching parties. Promote the heck out of your catering program and get creative with your menu. Offer volume discounts and themed parties geared to the local teams.
  3. More Meat – What is better than a “pigskin” promo for meat-lovers? Offer game-day deals on pizzas stacked with pepperoni, sausage, salami and other meats.
  4. Family Style – Get the whole family involved by offering specials for kid-sized pizzas – personalized smaller sizes for picky kids work well. Add a football touch by giving away a certain number of free team hats or pennants to the first 50 customers.
  5. Add Televisions – Show as many games as you can and beef up your TV’s so that you draw more customers on game days. Promote the heck out of your in-store football promos and Happy Hours. Get your beer company involved. Spread the word via social media, in-store table tents, receipt tickets, etc.
  6. Support Local Teams – Don’t forget to give back to the local high school teams. Tell your customers that a certain percentage of their game-day purchase will go to the high school football team.

The football season starts tonight, make sure your customers have plenty to cheer about, including abundant amounts of pepperoni, America’s favorite pizza topping.

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