News Column

Super Bowl a Boon to Some Businesses

Feb 1, 2013

Mark Fisher

pizza business

The Super Bowl creates winners and losers in the local restaurant and retail scene just as it does on the football field.

The stakes are high in both arenas: total spending on Super Bowl activities is projected to reach a robust $12.3 billion nationwide this year, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation (NRF). The average game watcher will spend $68.54, up from $63.87 last year, on Super Bowl-related expenses such as parties, snacks, athletic apparel, and even new televisions.

Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of those watching the game will buy pizza, wings, pizza, chips, soda and more for themselves and/or their guests, while 3.9 million households will buy new furniture items, such as entertainment centers, chairs and couches, according to the NRF survey. And an impressive 17 million fans will buy team apparel or accessories to support their team, up from 14.8 million last year. More than 179.1 million people will watch the game -- the most in the survey's nine-year history.

"Gathering with friends and family for the Super Bowl is an American tradition, and this year it seems consumers are in the mood to celebrate, which is good news for retailers who typically see slower online and foot traffic during these months," said NRF Senior Vice President Bill Thorne.

For some Miami Valley merchants -- sports bars, pizza shops that deliver, beer-and-wine carryouts -- the impact of Super Bowl Sunday is truly super. But fine dining restaurants and even those pizza shops that specialize in sit-down dinners often hear crickets chirping in their dining rooms on Super Bowl Sunday night.

Amy Haverstick, owner of Jay's Restaurant, said she sometimes shuts down entirely on Super Bowl Sunday because of lack of business. This year's Restaurant Week promotion extends through Sunday, however, and that will keep her restaurant's doors open this year. Jay's stayed open in 2011 and 2012, but the three previous years, the Oregon District restaurant took the night off.

"I always look ahead before the year starts, and if there's not a Broadway show or some other event going on downtown, we won't open," Haverstick said. "The Super Bowl is the most-watched television program of the year, and so many people are either hosting a party or attending one.

"We're not a sports bar -- we have one small TV near the bar, and it has the volume turned down."

In contrast, Super Bowl Sunday is the busiest day of the year for pizza sales: about 4.4 million pizzas were sold during last year's Super Bowl, according to PMQ Pizza Magazine. But the sales impact is far less generous to Dayton-based Marion's Piazza, whose nine restaurants depend on dine-in and carryout business and do not offer delivery.

"We're always down a little bit on Super Bowl Sunday," Marion's President Roger Glass said. "We don't have any televisions in our restaurants, so we don't get the benefit. We do get some carryout business just before the game, but once the Super Bowl starts, we may as well close up and go home."

Glass knows his competitors are raking in the profits on Super Bowl Sunday, and he has made his peace with that. "We let the other guys have that one day out of the year," he said, chuckling.

Tristan Koehler is one of those "other guys" -- he operates 19 Dayton-area Domino's Pizza franchise stores, and he is looking forward to "a busy, busy day" on Sunday.

"We'll be staffed up," Koehler said. "On Super Bowl Sunday, everybody works."

For Domino's Pizza delivery drivers, Super Bowl Sunday is usually a strong day for customer tips, in part because they're delivering larger orders than usual, and in part because customers are in a festive mood, Koehler said.

Koehler said he'll do his best to make sure his stores have plenty of product to sell. "We usually double our chicken-wing order," he said.

Domino's won't be alone. Super Bowl weekend is THE weekend for chicken wings, with more than 1.23 billion wing portions expected to be consumed this year, according to the National Chicken Council's 2013 Wing Report.

But consumers shouldn't worry about any shortage of chicken wings on Super Bowl Sunday or any time soon, according to Bill Roenigk, the chicken council's chief economist and market analyst.

A check with Kroger grocery stores confirmed Roenigk's view. "Kroger does not anticipate any shortages of chicken wings," company spokeswoman Rachael Betzler said. And there will be no shortage of Super Bowl-related items flying off the grocer's shelves, including party trays, ribs, guacamole dip, and a variety of cakes, cookies and cupcakes decorated for the game, Betzler said.

"Kroger will see a huge lift in sales on Saturday and Sunday this weekend due to Super Bowl selling," she said. --

Super Bowl by the numbers

-- Total Super Bowl spending: $12.3 billion

-- Projected viewers: 179.1 million

-- Percent of viewers who intend to buy food and beverages to celebrate the game: 74 percent.

-- Number of households that will buy new furniture items, such as entertainment centers, chairs and couches: 3.9 million

-- Number of fans planning to buy team apparel or accessories to support their team: 17 million

-- Number of pizzas sold during 2012 Super Bowl: 4.4 million

-- Number of wing portions that will be eaten during Super Bowl weekend: 1.23 billion

Sources: National Retail Federation, PMQ Pizza Magaize, National Chicken Council

Source: (c)2013 the Dayton Daily News (Dayton, Ohio). Distributed by MCT Information Services.

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