Football Season Marketing Ideas: Get Your Restaurant Ready for Game Day

By Raubi Perilli

      Aug 19, 2022     Solutions    

Football season is right around the corner. Soon, fans will be planning their weekends around their favorite teams -- and looking for something to eat and drink while they gather around their TVs with friends and family.  

This time of the year is an opportunity for restaurants and bars to increase covers, sell more food and drinks, and even ramp up takeout and delivery options.  

If you want to score this season, get ready to give fans what they want by using these football season marketing ideas at your restaurant.

7 Football Season Marketing Ideas

Don’t wait until kickoff. Get ready now with these football season marketing ideas.

#1) Add regional football games to your calendar.

Start by taking a look at the football schedule -- or rather football schedules.  

While you may think of the NFL first, there are plenty of other football leagues and games to consider. Think about favorite local college teams and even nearby high school football schedules. Create a calendar that lists all of the important regional games that nearby customers will be interested in. Plan to have specials and extra staff on those dates.  

If you have multiple locations, keep in mind that the same games might not be relevant at each location. A multi-location marketing best practice is to focus on the regional teams that local customers will care about most.  

Related: 6 Regional Marketing Tips for Brands Trying to Tap Into a Local Market   

#2) Show your love for local teams.

Once you identify the teams and games that nearby customers care about, show your support by creating an atmosphere for fans.  

  • Decorate your restaurant with banners or marketing promotions that feature favorite teams.
  • Create food or drink specials that include references to local teams or players.
  • Give your staff uniforms, t-shirts, or jerseys that feature local teams.

Connecting your business to local football teams is especially important for regional brands or franchises that want to create a local footprint. Highlighting your location’s affinity for the home team can help connect your brand to the community.

#3) Create game-day drink specials.

When fans visit a restaurant to watch a game, they are usually there for three to four hours. Keep this in mind when crafting a menu of drink specials.  

Offer specials that provide customers a discount during their lengthy stay. For example, drink buckets with ice are a great way to keep customers satisfied with the added bonus of relieving the stress on your team running back and forth to get drinks.  

Also, focus your specials on drinks with high margins and low alcohol content. Promote beer and custom cocktails rather than shots or other high-alcohol content drinks to keep customers in control.

#4) Create a game-day food menu.

Take the same game-day considerations and adjust your food menus to accommodate the football crowd.  

  • Highlight small plates and appetizers that customers can order throughout the duration of their visit.
  • Build a combo menu or bundle that serves a group of guests.
  • Design a limited time offer that is only available during games.

Focus on football favorites like appetizers, wings, and burgers, but also throw in other healthy and unique food items to make your restaurant or bar stand out against competitors.

#5) Get systems in place for game-day online ordering.

When you think about your game-day customer base, don’t limit yourself to on-site customers. Consider how you can promote game-day ordering for takeout, and get your systems set up to accommodate an increase in orders.  

  • Create game-day bundles and feature them on your website. Build food bundles that are perfect for an at-home party and clearly highlight the specials on your homepage.
  • Set up online ordering. Alleviate stress on staff by setting up online ordering through a tool like MenuDrive that sends orders directly to your kitchen staff.
  • Decide if joining a third-party delivery app is right for you. Third-party apps like UberEats and DoorDash can help you reach new customers, but it can cost you. Apps take a large percentage of each order, so weigh the pros and cons of using an app or having customers order directly from your restaurant.
  • Hire extra help to support game-day takeout orders. If you plan on ramping up your online orders, make sure you have someone to pack orders and serve guests coming in for pick-up.

Related: Drive More Online Restaurant Orders with These 8 Tips

#6) Print game-day signage.

When you create new game-day drink and food specials, make sure your customers know about them. Add print signage to your restaurant so customers are aware on game day and can also notice your promotions and plan to come back during the game.  

Print signage for walls, windows, and bathrooms. Set up table toppers and use menu inserts during game times.  

Also, if your restaurant plans to feature a variety of games across multiple televisions, get signage that allows you to note which games will appear on which TV. This can help your guests get set up to watch their favorite teams, with less stress on your team.  

Related: 12 Bar Marketing Ideas You Should Be Using But Aren't

#7) Start promoting to local audiences.

Don’t limit your game-day marketing to in-store promotions. Make sure local customers know about your special deals and offerings by setting up digital marketing campaigns to promote them.  

Run social media ads. Create organic posts about your upcoming specials, but also use paid promotions to get more exposure from nearby audiences.  

  • Use geotargeting to reach customers near your location.
  • Use hypertargeting to connect with customers who are interested in football.
  • Use high-end graphics that stand out and differentiate your brand.
  • Grab extra attention by including an offer in your ad.

Send out email and text marketing promotions. Pull information from your customer data platform and notify your customers about upcoming deals. Start building the excitement a few days or weeks before kickoff. Share promotions, and include deals to get customers to choose you over your competitors.  

Run a geofencing campaign. To reach even more local customers, use geofencing for restaurants. Run a geotargeting ad campaign that identifies customers near your business or near your competitor’s business and shows them display ads with your football promos.

Get Your Restaurant Ready for Football Season

Football season is right around the corner. Is your bar or restaurant ready?  

If not, use these football season marketing ideas to tap into the opportunity of game-day revenue. Build out menus and systems that create great guest experiences. Create a game-day tradition that ties your customers to your restaurant and their favorite teams.  

If you need help with getting your restaurant ready for football season, MyArea Network is here to help. Talk to our team about setting up systems to attract more attention from local customers.  

We specialize in reaching nearby audiences and would love to show you how we can increase your game-day covers and online orders.