• Pizzeria operators prepare for Super Bowl blitz

By most accounts, Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest sales day in the U.S. pizza business. Pizza Hut and Domino's Pizza alone claim to sell more than 1 million pies each on this, American football's most-legendary day.

Holly Ryan, Domino's public relations manager, said the number-two chain has tracked the day's sales history closely and uncovered several tasty stats.

"We have learned over the years some interesting phenomena," said Ryan. Among them:

* The phones ring most between the national anthem and kickoff, and at the two-minute warning before halftime.

* Toward the end of the game, sales increase in the city of the winning team.

* If an NFC team wins, sales increase in cities of other major NFC teams, and vice versa for cities home to AFC teams.
* Close games result in higher sales because customers are less likely turn off the TV and go home.

"The more intense the competition, the less people want to go to the kitchen and prepare food, so they pick up the phone and order a pizza," Ryan said.

Domino's alone expects to sell about 1.2 million pizzas -- a 42 percent increase over a typical Sunday. Fifty-nine percent of those will be pepperoni pizzas.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, QuikOrder.com, a firm which handles online orders for Domino's in Chicago, said average the average Super Bowl day order was for 10 pizzas. The average check for the day was $55.98, versus $13 for a normal day.

Jim Kargman, president of QuikOrder.com, told the Sun-Times that sales of side items such as wings and bread sticks, soared as well.

Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Papa John's declined to reveal their game-day expectations.

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