With the return of sports on TV, fans are looking for ways to bring the tailgating experience to life within the comfort of their homes.

Many won’t have an option to head to the stadium, so this provides operators with an opportunity to recreate the tailgating experience through inspired menu ideas that can help drive excitement and foot traffic.

Nearly half of consumers are still nervous about dining out. As sports return to the tube, your customers are almost certainly looking for restaurant-quality options that they can enjoy via takeout and delivery or for socially distanced tailgates. According to a recent Datassential study, nearly 60% of consumers have purchased family meals in the past few months, so they’ve already been introduced to the convenience and affordability that this style of dining provides.

Here are some tips to help formulate a winning game plan for family-style meals that will leave consumers cheering:

Bring the Tailgate to Them

Folks are serious about their tailgates. Every parking lot pro has a go-to play, so be sure to cover a few bases. Offer a variety of tailgating packs. Classic game day appetizers always score big but try some flavorful updates like cheesy stuffed garlic bread meatball sandwiches, tangy collard slaw, and bacon ranch pasta salad – heck, bacon anything really. Ultimate brunch foods are sure to be a home run – mix in French toast sticks with dipping sauce options, sweet potato hash, or housemade donuts. Again, play like a champion and don’t skimp on bacon-related items. For the smoke lover, a grilling meal kit is a slam dunk. Throw in a beverage special with the purchase of a tailgating pack to create the full experience for your patrons. Spiced margaritas, shandy cocktails, and boozy ciders and coffees are sure to fire up fans.

CustomizeTailgating Kits

Consumers are all about customization. Their love of a wide range of flavors and options rivals their fandom of teams from all over the country. Let your guests select a variety of sauces for wings or chicken tenders, toppings for hot dogs or mix-and-match sliders. Utilize existing menu items to create family-style meals for your guests to enjoy from the comfort of their couch while watching their clubs. Pair an entrée with an appetizer or a couple of side dishes. Family style often gives customers the impression of more bang for the buck, and ultimately, this bolsters ticket sizes for you.

Health(ier) Options

It’s clear that consumers are more concerned about health than ever before. At the same time, amidst the pandemic, they are clamoring for comfort food to help navigate the unprecedented challenges unfolding around them. As cool weather sets in, many are seeking out warm, hearty foods while others are looking to get back into a healthier routine after quarantine. Ensure your menu has a mix of healthy/better-for-you and classic comfort foods. Items like vegan cauliflower queso, vegetable quesadillas, and vegetarian chili with grains and beans are likely to hit the spot no matter where diners fall on the health spectrum.

Communication is Key

Make sure the local area knows you’re open and offering game day specials. Utilize your website, Facebook, Instagram, and any other marketing tools to get the word out there. Consider offering a giveaway or sports-related promotion to gain additional excitement and traffic.

Sports are back in a big way, so take advantage of the playing field and bring stadium-style food directly to your customers.

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