Canadian Pizza Magazine

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Marketing insights: The Super Bowl of pizza

The Super Bowl of pizza


For the pizza industry, Super Bowl Sunday is well…the Super Bowl of pizza days. It’s what Christmas is to mistletoe. What Valentine’s Day is to chocolate. What St. Patrick’s Day is to green beer…you get the picture. Many pizzerias report that Super Bowl Sunday is their busiest day of the year and that means you should plan for it with the same precision a chocolatiere plans for V-Day. When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday – do we have our playbook down pat?

For the pizza industry, Super Bowl Sunday is well…the Super Bowl of pizza days. It’s what Christmas is to mistletoe. What Valentine’s Day is to chocolate. What St. Patrick’s Day is to green beer…you get the picture. Many pizzerias report that Super Bowl Sunday is their busiest day of the year and that means you should plan for it with the same precision a chocolatiere plans for V-Day. When it comes to Super Bowl Sunday – do we have our playbook down pat?

p18_superbowl 
Game day (Super Bowl Sunday) is the busiest day of the year for many pizzerias.


 

“The Super Bowl is one of the biggest snacking days of the year,” says U.S. Frito-Lay spokesman Jared Dougherty. He also lists Memorial Day and July Fourth as other contenders. Other product categories leading a recent ACNielsen report on Super Bowl statistics were beer ($17.9 million sales increase), cola and other carbonated beverages (up $13.2 million), frozen pizza (up $7.3 million). Consumers are likely attracted to the ease and cost of frozen pizza. They can cook it at their convenience at a lower perceived cost. Perhaps offering a few specially priced topped uncooked pizzas on a par baked crust in the days leading up to Super Bowl would help capture some of this business for your foodservice operation? The numbers support the popularity of this segment, sales of Kraft Foods’ frozen pizza brands, including DiGiorno, Tombstone, and California Pizza Kitchen, spike about 25 per cent each year in the weeks leading up to the game.

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Henry Balzer of the NPD Group reminds us that some finger foods popular on Super Bowl Sunday are healthy too. “The true money on Super Bowl Sunday is in vegetables,” Balzer says. “You think everybody is watching the game, but [there are some] 210 million people in the country (U.S.) who aren’t watching it. They’re going to eat a Sunday meal, and that meal will almost definitely include a vegetable.” The NPD Group’s study of the most common food on American dinner tables (or TV trays) over the past five Super Bowl Sundays ranked vegetables highest, present at 29 per cent of meals, followed by potatoes (23 per cent), salads (14 per cent), and sandwiches (13 per cent). Take some of those raw vegetables in your inventory and create a special Super Bowl veggie platter to go with your pizza offering. In Canada it’s estimated that about one Canadian households in six watches the big game on TV. Party gatherings are commonplace and will be even more so in 2009 as slower economic conditions make entertaining at home a cost-effective way to spend time with friends. Having a take-out/delivery program in place will be imperative and your marketing strategy will need to ensure that you start promoting your features and delivery service by about mid January. To promote your take out/delivery service, place ads in the sports section of your local paper and print some stickers for pizza boxes delivered during the month of January. Pizza Pizza Canada’s media centre showcases a nice “post game” analysis of this blessed event. “Super Bowl Sunday is our busiest Sunday of the year, in terms of pizza sales and deliveries,” said Pat Finelli, vice-president of marketing for Pizza Pizza, Canada’s leading pizza-maker for slices sold. “The week of Super Bowl, our sales figures go up by about 6 per cent over an average week. At peak time, our call centre answers in excess of 150 calls per minute.” A poll also conducted by Pizza Pizza reveals that pizza is by far the favourite food fare for Super Bowl parties. In a survey of 1006 people conducted from Jan. 11 to Jan. 22, 2007, 81 per cent of respondents cited pizza as their favourite food followed by chicken wings at 9 per cent. Nachos garnered a modest 6 per cent of the votes.

The findings closely match Pizza Pizza’s own sales performance for Super Bowl Sunday. On game day, the company typically sells over 40,000 pizzas and more than 150,000 wings. The most popular ingredients for the football feast are, in order of preference: pepperoni, green peppers, mushrooms, bacon and red onions.

Since the Super Bowl itself is fertile ground for those who love statistics, here are a few more courtesy of Pizza Pizza’s media centre: The pizzas they serve on Super Bowl Sunday represent a combined total of three tons of pepperoni slices and more than nine tons of mozzarella cheese. This equals enough slices to stretch the length of a football field and enough cheese to exceed the combined weight of each team’s 11-player starting lineup on the field.

As the big game draws closer and the two top teams are revealed – why not create pizzas designed to represent each of the teams. Last year’s match-up between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots could have inspired a traditional thin crispy hand-tossed crust with pepperonis and light sauce (New York) versus a “Miami” style pie topped with salsa and spicy chicken. Why not have your own “team” get into the fun by wearing football shirts during the two weeks leading up to the game. It’ll prompt lots of questions from patrons. It also may just help you make it to the end zone.