The Big Game will be kicking off in about a month, and the only thing more exciting than the action is the food the fans will be eating!

Last year’s contest was viewed by 113 million people, and according to one survey, nearly 40% of them ordered takeout or delivery. Studies show that consumers prefer to mix takeout with home cooking for gameday eats, and they’re often craving classic tailgate food with a twist. Here are some tips for setting up your operation for a win on the big day.

The Play Clock

When it comes to having smooth service and keeping guests (on- and off-site) happy during football, timing is everything. Create a plan for when and how you’ll take orders and assume that you’ll be busiest leading up to the game and during the first half.

  • Encourage pre-orders with special offers, including BOGOs, only available to guests until 2 p.m. on gameday to lock in your orders in advance and alleviate stress on the kitchen.
  • Staff up to handle delivery and takeout orders while keeping in-house guests happy.
  • Offer your gameday menu in multiples of four, with coordinating pricing to make it easy for guests to serve a crowd.
  • Create a special pre-game Happy Hour with football-related food and drink specials to drive traffic on-site, before and during the game.

The Players

The most popular football foods are pizza and Buffalo wings. These are the go-to dishes fans order, so ensure they are represented on menus. But rather than serving traditional options, consider putting a new spin on these classics to help your specials menu stand out from the competition. Since it’s a big bowl game, why not play around with creating bowl versions of gameday favorites, combining beloved flavors in a convenient way?

  • Pizza: Deconstruct pizza in a bowl, with all the toppings and plenty of cheese, minus the crust. You can create a few standard selections, including popular favorites like pepperoni, meat lovers, and veggie, or allow guests to create their own.
  • Wings: Load up boneless wings on a bed of salad, french fries, or Entice® Jumbo Stuffed Tater Kegs. These taters are more than your average tot. Whether you opt for bacon, cheddar, chive, or the game-friendly Buffalo chicken flavor, these are great first downs your guests will love to munch.
  • Subs: Chopped subs and salads were huge this past year, so why not take advantage of the trend with a chopped sub bowl, including a selection of deli meats and cheeses, lettuce, tomato, onions, and peppers? This has everything fans love about a sub, in a bowl format!
  • BBQ: Start with a base of cornbread or mac ‘n’ cheese and add BBQ pork or chicken. Try West Creek® Moonshine Carolina Jala-Mango Barbecue Sauce for something unique that will add a taste of sweet heat!
  • Chili: You can’t go wrong with gameday chili. Consider offering a beef chili, made with Braveheart® Black Angus Beef, as well as a plant-based lentil and bean chili to keep all of your guests satisfied. Provide lots of add-ons like chips, sour cream, cilantro, and cheese to make your chili really fun!

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