Blog Post / September 14, 2020 / Best Practices

Restaurant Marketing Ideas: How to Maximize Business Throughout the NFL Season

by Mikayla Walzog
Mikayla Walzog

Want to learn how you can maximize revenue this NFL season through creative restaurant marketing ideas? We’ve got you covered!

Football season officially kicked off earlier this month with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Houston Texans going head to head in the first game of the season at Arrowhead Stadium. As football returns to primetime, this game ushered in a historically lucrative season for bars and restaurants.

While the pandemic might have changed how game day looks and feels, it hasn't changed football fans' desire to gather with friends at their favorite venues to share good food and drink. Whether looking to boost on-premise or off-premise revenue, with the right guest experience platform in place and a toolkit of restaurant marketing ideas, operators have everything they need to maximize revenue this football season.

On-Premise Restaurant Marketing Idea: Host an Outdoor Watch Party

Your bar or restaurant can still host a lucrative football watch party during the pandemic. By having the party outdoors, observing social distancing guidelines and capacity limitations, and enforcing mask-wearing, you can create a safe environment for guests.

Here's how to host a game day watch party and what to include in your restaurant marketing to bring guests through the door.

Emphasize Reservations

Reservations are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic. They not only help you avoid overcrowding and ensure social distancing best practices are met, but also provide a seamless way for you to capture guests information that can be used for future restaurant marketing. There is even the added benefit of being able to use this captured guest data for contact tracing purposes.

Encourage guests to reserve tables throughout the season in your restaurant marketing efforts. Want to drive urgency for the bookings? Mention limited availability to create a sense of scarcity, which encourages action from the guest. Make sure to include a link to your direct reservations platform in your promotions to drive direct, free bookings.

Bounce Sporting Club in New York markets game day reservations through their social media channels

Protect Yourself from No-Shows

Game days are lucrative, and while government-mandated capacity restrictions are in place, each no-shows can have a  significant impact on revenue. With the right technology in place, you can ensure you have protections in place so you don't lose money on no-show reservations.

One way to protect revenue is to ask customers to share their credit card information to make a reservation. On your online reservation platform, let guests know that you'll charge them a no-show fee if they don't uphold the reservation. Make sure that the fee is significant enough so that it disincentivizes guests from not showing up (we suggest $25/person as a starting point). In your reservations policy, also note the deadline by which guests can cancel their reservations without being charged.

As part of your efforts to eliminate no-shows, you can also offer a virtual waitlist for your guests looking to visit your venue, ensuring you’ll always have customers who can fill any last-minute availability .

Most importantly, don’t forget to communicate with guests about reservation and waitlist policies, in addition to any health and safety guidelines, so they know what to expect before they book a table.

Curate Custom Packages & Sell Tickets

An additional way to help maximize revenue ahead of game day  is to create prix fixe packages, require pre-paid table minimums, or even sell tickets for watch party attendees. . Using your existing guest experience platform, leverage the power of your restaurant marketing team to create compelling packages to market to guests. These could include include preset food and drink as part of the event, or you could let guests apply the ticket price towards a food and beverage minimum. You could even pre-sell specialty game day branded merchandise or other high-margin branded items from your restaurant. The options are endless!

Offer a Special Menu for Game Day

Create a game-day menu to make your watch party even more appealing to guests.

Add football-watching classics like burgers, wings, and chili to your special menu. And don't forget about drink specials! Highlight a new beer on your menu or create a game-day cocktail to leverage your beverage program to boost alcohol sales.

Include your on-premise game day menu across your website, share it across your social channels, and don’t forget to market it directly to guests via email. The more places you can share the information, the more likely customers are to make a reservation or purchase a game day package.

Tailgate packages are available at The Ainsworth

Off-Premise Restaurant Marketing Idea: Maximize Catering and Delivery Revenue

Restaurants and bars have an unlimited capacity for off-premise orders. Get creative with your takeout offerings and focus on generating a high volume of orders to maximize revenue.

Game-Day Delivery & Takeout Bundles

For those guests not willing or able to join you in person, bring the experience into their homes by making bundles of popular game day foods available for takeout and delivery during the NFL season. Selling fan favorites -- like burgers, wings, chips and dips, and beer -- in a curated package makes it seamless for guests to order, and will likely drive higher profits for your business versus relying on a la carte ordering. Make it simpler for football fans to order food from you in one click, rather than making it themselves.

Pro Tip:  When promoting your takeout menu to guests, make sure you’re linking directly to your restaurant's direct online ordering platform instead of third-party websites to maximize profit margins.

Football Season Catering Menu

As more people start to welcome friends and families back into their homes, don’t forget to offer large-format versions of these game day food packages. To make this offering more operationally viable, choose foods that can easily be made in bulk and that hold up well in a delivery environment. Include a catering menu in any marketing  that promotes your game-day offerings so that customers know to place these larger catering orders several days in advance.

With some extra preparations and a focus on creative restaurant marketing ideas, the hospitality industry can enjoy a lucrative football season. Learn how the SevenRooms guest experience platform can help you maximize revenue this year.

About the Author

Mikayla Walzog

Mikayla Walzog writes about the intersection of technology and hospitality for SevenRooms. Her passion includes all things food & beverage and chipping away at her ever-growing bucket list of new restaurants to try.

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