Promote

The Best Football Promo Ideas for Bars and Restaurants

This football season, you can score big with fans with these game day food menus and promotional ideas.

10 min read
11/01/2024
Mx Blog (US/CA/AU/NZ)- The Best Football Promo Ideas for Bars and Restaurants - football and beer

Football season is a golden opportunity to boost your restaurant, pub, or bar sales with both on-premise and delivery sales. NFL and college football traditions run deep in American culture, and hospitality venues that are able to appeal to fans can benefit throughout game season.

Let’s dive into some of the opportunities football season offers pubs, bars, and restaurants, and we’ll even pass along some actionable promo ideas.

Football is big business for the hospitality industry

Talk to almost any restaurant owner in the United States, and they’ll tell you football is not just a sport — it’s deeply entwined with their livelihood. NFL and college football games connect communities, bringing fans together to eat good food and share an exciting experience (such as yelling at the television together). 

With the right planning, restaurants and bars can tap into this momentum and build their own loyal following of fans. Treat each game like a mini holiday by creating tailored menus and offering NFL- or college-themed football promotions to help boost sales. 

Football season is a major driver of traffic and revenue for many bars, pubs, and restaurants, including sales for dine-in and delivery orders. In 2023 alone, the estimated consumer spending on football’s biggest weekend in the US was $16.5 billion. To get a piece of this pie, restaurant operators can make football season work to their advantage — and that starts with brainstorming football promo ideas. 

Ideas for NFL and college football promotions

To make the most of big sporting events, you’ll want to start the season off strong by implementing creative football promo ideas. These can range from online advertising to iconic restaurant or sports bar menu items. Here are four strategies to get the ball rolling: 

1. Social media marketing 

Social media is an open forum for your promotional content. It’s also a great (and free!) way to spread necessary information, like a change in your menu or which games you’ll be playing on TV. Create buzz for your venue by posting across social platforms and sharing team-specific content and countdowns to game days. Whether you’re a huge pub or a small sports bar, the social media strategy stays the same: Keep a consistent posting schedule, publish quality content, and stay on-brand. See the Restaurant Marketing Calendar & Toolkit for detailed strategies you can try. 

2. Menu specials 

Special menus create hype around popular events and give you the opportunity to showcase themed dishes. Just be sure to update DoorDash with your limited-edition menu. Here are a few restaurant, pub, and sports bar menu ideas: 

  • Theme your menu after your town’s college football team or mascot.

  • Name dishes after famous players or football-related terms, like Scrimmage Sliders or Touchdown Tacos.

  • Help your takeout customers bring the tailgate party experience home with shareable menu items such as beer specials, appetizer platters, or barbecue favorites.

  • Offer game day discounts on high-margin dishes.

For delivery menu tips during football season, take inspiration from other successful game day menus, and don't hesitate to explore specialized appetizers, themed drinks, desserts, and more. A thoughtfully designed football food menu attracts fans, improves the game day experience, and can be used in your promotional content. 

3. Trivia

Promotion leading up to a big football game can help build hype while placing your venue squarely in the minds of your customers. Try hosting NFL or college football trivia events before big game days to soft-launch promotional dishes or delivery menus. You can also offer trivia questions and prizes through your social media accounts to encourage engagement and promote upcoming offers.

4. Offer giveaways

Nothing gets fans more involved than free swag. Host a contest or a giveaway during football season to drive restaurant sales. Your contest prize can be as simple as free chicken wings or a team jersey, as big as a big-screen TV, or as feel-good as a donation to a charity of the winner's choice. Buy one get one free (BOGO) offers are always popular at restaurants. DoorDash partners can run Promotions to target customers with enticing offers like $0 delivery or discounted items.  

Preparing for game day delivery orders

The additional volume of takeout and delivery orders during a busy event day does have the potential to sideline your kitchen, but don’t stress. You can streamline your menu and improve efficiencies by only offering the best-selling, most efficient, and most profitable items. Prioritize dishes that are quick to prepare and easy to package to keep your kitchen running smoothly.

Andy Husbands

A few hours before the game starts, we lower the availability of our menu for third-party delivery. This enables us to cook in larger quantities with less variables, resulting in faster order fulfillment. We also challenge our team members to not turn off or slow down third-party delivery — often this is a knee jerk reaction that is not good for the business, and can be avoided with proper planning.

Andy Husbands, CEO & Pitmaster, The Smoke Shop BBQ

Andy Husbands, CEO and Pitmaster of The Smoke Shop BBQ in Boston, also advises restaurants to put systems in place to avoid having to stop accepting new delivery orders. "We also challenge our team members to not turn off or slow down third-party delivery — often this is a knee-jerk reaction that is not good for the business, and can be avoided with proper planning," he said.

Here are a few more tips on handling the influx of game day delivery orders: 

How to increase delivery order size during football season

When you’ve got a busy night ahead of you, you want all of your ticket sizes to be as substantial as possible. Here are a few ways you can increase your delivery order size:

Alcohol delivery 

Guess what pairs well with a big game? A cold beer. By offering alcohol delivery alongside your menu, you can bump up those delivery order sizes — and your profit margins. Plus, alcohol orders don’t have to be prepped by your kitchen, so it’s a surefire way of increasing ticket sizes without strain on the line. 

It’ll help to boost customer satisfaction, too. The last thing someone watching the game at home wants to do is head out on a beer run during the second quarter. Check your city’s alcohol regulations, and sign up to offer alcohol delivery on DoorDash.

Minimum order size promos 

Encourage larger food orders by offering discounts or free items when customers hit a minimum order size. Promotions like this are easy to set up — DoorDash partners can simply log into the Merchant Portal and navigate to the Marketing tab to launch a campaign. 

Bundles 

Give fans the gift of not having to plan by putting together a football party package of game day appetizers or meals. Bundled deals have the advantage of letting your kitchen staff better anticipate orders and create large batches of menu items. 

Keep your kitchen from getting overwhelmed

If your kitchen staff is struggling to keep up with DoorDash orders during football games, there are a few ways you can alleviate some of the pressure and avoid downtime:

  • Activate Busy Kitchen to add additional prep and delivery time for your team.

  • Ensure you set realistic prep times to reduce avoidable wait times.

  • Set clear instructions for your Dashers to streamline your pickup process.

  • Keep your football food menu up to date by marking items as out of stock to help with any avoidable cancellations.

Football season is a super opportunity

The massive popularity of football brings a major opportunity to drive restaurant sales. From menu optimization to special offerings to increased promotion, restaurants can up their game for greater customer engagement and revenue.

Ready to sign up with DoorDash? Try Marketplace to offer pickup and delivery to football fans in your area. 

Author

Sara DeForest

Sara DeForest

Copywriter

logo subscribe to blog

Subscribe for insights to help you run a great business, delivered weekly to your inbox.