Football season, Halloween shindigs, Thanksgiving and December holidays signal a 3-month feeding frenzy for pizza operators. And it all begins with that all-American pastime of football fandom — because what's a football party without pizza and wings?
Toppers, which has doubled in size over just the last three years, is one chain that enjoys huge sales increases due to football, but those extra orders mean a lot of prepping and planning, said Mac Malchow, Toppers director of national marketing and menu innovation. He gave us the lowdown on effective restaurant operation at this very busy time of year. See below.
Q: Has the brand done any data dives into which locations and days of the week tend to generate the most football-related orders?
A:On game days for stores that are on large college campuses … can see a 100 percent or more increase in Saturday sales versus a typical Saturday. Monday night, Thursday night, and Sunday night football games can create a large boost in sales for the stores around pro teams as well (and) play-off football can create a similar rush as a Monday, Thursday (or) Sunday night game.
Q: What's the key to meeting demand in ways that generate new customers and maintain old ones?
A:Staff, staff, staff. You need all hands on deck during those big order.
Q: When does the most business pour in on football days? For example, is it tailgating parties? Big home events or business-related football parties? Or pre- or post-game orders?
A: Mainly delivery orders prior to the game. In college campuses, there can be big rushes after the games sometimes, depending on if the team won or loss.
Q: What type of special staffing considerations do you have to have in place to handle a heavy delivery and carry-out load on your restaurants, as well as on-site, catering and other types of orders?
A: For pro teams, it’s more about the delivery. So, staffing drivers before and during the games is critical. For college games, the carry-out business can be substantial if the store is located near the stadium, so inside help is necessary.
Q: What's the biggest concerns around any of those larger orders for tailgate parties, big business-related football events or parties or even weddings associated with game day?
A:Timing more than anything. If the order is sent for right when the rush is at its peak, then it can be difficult to execute. If it’s right at the beginning or end, we’re good.
Companies: Toppers Pizza
Award-winning veteran print and broadcast journalist, Shelly Whitehead, has spent most of the last 30 years reporting for TV and newspapers, including the former Kentucky and Cincinnati Post and a number of network news affiliates nationally. She brings her cumulative experience as a multimedia storyteller and video producer to the web-based pages of Pizzamarketplace.com and QSRweb.com after a lifelong “love affair” with reporting the stories behind the businesses that make our world go ‘round. Ms. Whitehead is driven to find and share news of the many professional passions people take to work with them every day in the pizza and quick-service restaurant industry. She is particularly interested in the growing role of sustainable agriculture and nutrition in food service worldwide and is always ready to move on great story ideas and news tips.