Fall sports are around the corner, and that means big business for restaurants. Get in the game with dishes that bring the heat for customers without the high-ticket stadium prices.

Sports lovers will be out in full force this fall to catch their favorite teams and celebrate with friends and family. While that’s always an easy bet for restaurants, pumping up your menu with new gameday food offerings can give you a leg up on the competition.

By streamlining ingredients and using ready-made products, you can keep costs down. One way to do that is with sauces, spices, and rubs. Spices are only a tiny fraction of food costs but can help take your gameday dishes from the bench to star players. Win over sports fans and score higher check averages with our tips for cost-effective, flavorful gameday grub.

Score with Sharables

Sports fans sharing their love for their favorite team goes hand-in-hand with shareable snacks and small plates. Sharing munchies with friends as they root for their favorite team is an easy strategy to boost sales. By utilizing inventory you already have on hand and speed-scratch sauces and spices, you can easily level up your snack game to please hungry fans.

Anything “loaded” is a safe bet. Toppings piled high on fries, nachos, tots, and more are gameday favorites. Serve up a hearty shareable with crispy fries doused in Cattlemen’s® Memphis Sweet BBQ™ Sauce, scallions, and a fried egg. Pretzel bites and beer cheese are also a cost-effective, yet highly popular gameday food. Or bulk up fried platters with dips like marinara, ranch, honey mustard, and salsa.

Cue Up Comfort

International cuisines continue to grow in popularity, so combining them with bar food to bring in adventurous eaters and sports fans is a win-win.

Put a twist on the traditional burger by adding some international flair with Franks® Sriracha Chili Sauce, crispy fried onions, purple cabbage slaw, and spicy kimchi on a sesame seed roll. Wings steal the show in just about any sport. Draft prepped sauces and rubs like McCormick Culinary® Caribbean Jerk Seasoning, or Franks® Stingin' Honey Garlic Sauce to bring all-star power to your chicken wings for a quick prep, low-cost, yet flavorful option.

Tailgating MeatsMVP LTOs

Speed-scratch sauces and ready-made rubs can help restaurants introduce LTOs with on-trend flavors and without adding extra costs or labor. Smoky and sweet flavors top consumer demand. Mix the two with Lawry’s® Chipotle Cinnamon Rub to create a craveable LTO such as charred cauliflower bites or to infuse a happy hour cocktail special that will have guests cheering. A zesty habanero ranch sauce could be used as a dip for fries, as a drizzle over pizza, or as a spread for a gameday hoagie.

To-Go Tailgate

Most fans are interested in sports-themed meals and promotions from restaurants and bars. Meal kits, take-and-bakes, and themed family meals are popular among Gen Z and millennials, with nearly half of those demographics wanting to see them on restaurant menus, according to industry reports.

Take proteins and ingredients already on your menu and create three or four package deals. Offering a tailgate package with a la carte options like dips, sauces, and cocktails is great for customers looking to personalize their experience, resulting in higher sales for you. As a bonus, and a way to encourage customer loyalty and repeat business, include a bounce-back deal or promo in their package for next time when they come back to root for their teams.

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