Whether they’re looking for greasy food, cheap drinks, or an energized crowd, empty-stomached football fans will be flocking to bars and restaurants across the country on Super Bowl Sunday. Popular bars will be hit heavily with large crowds hoping to catch the competition between the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, while others will be excited to see new commercials and Justin Timberlake perform the famous halftime show.
Preparing a bar or restaurant to support large crowds and catering to all guests is important for big sporting events like the Super Bowl. Design firm 555 International works primarily with sports bars and restaurants, and president and founder James Geier says, “It’s important to make your experience different and better than the norm. Keep it at a quality level and you’ll have people come back and tell others about the great experience they had.”
Scoping out what the competition has prepared for the game will not only help generate an event concept but also identify the customer base. For Super Bowl LII, New England and Philadelphia are in relatively close proximity to each other, but fans from coast to coast will want to celebrate the occasion. West-coast bars can attract the majority of customers without allegiances to either team. Geier says, “Look at the age base of the customer. College, post-college, and young professionals have grown up with an interest in sports through college or professional teams that their parents were fans of. You don’t have to be in a big sports city to have interest in the fan base or potential guests.”
Sports fans won’t show up if they’re unsure if a bar is showing a game; promoting the event will bring guests into the space. Letting potential customers know via social media, local radio coverage, or even flyers that a bar is hosting a game will attract those customers. Geier says, “Promotion is a major aspect of the bar and restaurant business. How you promote your business, who you promote to, and the hooks and angles used for promotion make your environment something that people want to go to.”
Using competition research and promotion, bars can generate a food and beverage packages or deals for the Super Bowl. While wings and beer are always cheap and viable options, Geier suggests getting creative and having a variety of selections. Another option is having a high-quality food and beverage package that ensures each guest has a seat and keeps a limit on foot traffic. “You only have a certain amount of space so you want to limit to people that will spend money and not just stand around nursing a drink,” Geier says.
Promotion, competition, and quality all tie into the experience. Temporary design elements can change to encourage sports lovers to come out for the Super Bowl or other big games. Flexible seating arrangements allow guests to move around and see the game from all angles. Giveaways and sponsored items will create the right energy for a game. Also, “décor and signage can help support larger crowds and make the game a little more interesting and exciting,” Geier adds.
Permanent electronics, like televisions in the right areas, ensure customers can see the game from anywhere in the bar and eliminate congestion. Sports sound system mechanics will make the sound crisper than with music settings. A resident disc jockey can pump up the crowd between commercials and keep customers entertained when the game isn’t on.
Preparing for a higher volume of guests will guarantee that a bar or restaurant has all the elements needed for Super Bowl LII. Being ahead of the competition and adequate promotion is key to having a game-day win. Geier says, “In the restaurant and bar business, it’s extremely important that you’re always at the top level and people know it but you’re working hard to give people a reason to come back.”
Photo: Gemini in Chicago (Courtesy of 555 International)