According to the annual Super Bowl spending predictions compiled by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (RAMA), the number of people who are planning to watch Super Bowl XLVII at a restaurant on Sunday, February 3rd will not be any bigger than the number of fans who spent Super Bowl Sunday XLVI in a restaurant or bar. Maybe these stagnant predictions are the reason why there is such a noticeable game change for the best Super Bowl XLVII deals, discounts, freebies, and sweepstakes.
Overall, the Super Bowl XLVII restaurant game changes will be played with some new, some sneaky, and some super aggressive plays that are already being used to win food and dining dollars throughout the Super Bowl weekend.
Restaurants without sports viewing available (in other words fast food and fast causal restaurant chains) are aggressively competing with grocery stores and fighting against each other this year to be the retail food supplier of takeout food for Super Bowl XLVII parties. Conversely, restaurants with TV game-viewing setups are not aggressively advertising any Super Bowl XLVII promotions at all.
Chipotle (CMG) and Fazoli's want to run an end-play around grocery stores by enticing Super Bowl fans to cater instead of cook for their Super Bowl party guests. Carrabbas, Champps, and Dicky's BBQ also want you to eat their food on Super Bowl Sunday instead of buying it in the grocery store, but they don't want you to eat the food in their restaurants. Their Super Bowl XLVII deals are available for carry-out only on February 3rd.
Uncharacteristically, sports bar restaurant chain favorites like TGI Fridays, Buffalo Wild Wings (BWLD), and Hooters are apparently wagering that their restaurants are going to be filled with fans anyway on Super Bowl Sunday, so they're not aggressively advertising any Super Bowl specials at all. Only minor major restaurant chains like Dave and Busters and Duffy's Sports Grill are actively courting fans with Super Bowl drink and food special deals.
The biggest traditional Super Bowl food skirmish is always the battle of the pizza delivery chains. The fight to be the pizza of choice for Super Bowl pizza parties is always intense, but it is particularly extra competitive for Super Bowl XLVII. Papa John's (PZZA) has a five-topping large pizza for $11. Domino's one-ups that with a $10 five-topping deal. Papa Murphy's beats both prices with coupons for large pizzas ranging from $7 to $11. Cici's beats them all on price with 2 large 1-topping pizzas for $10.
But the surprise Super Bowl play for takeout pizza business will come from Carrabbas on Super Bowl Sunday with their Super Bowl Sunday deal for carryout wood-fired pizzas priced at $5. Carrabas doesn't actually specify the size of the pizza that you get for the $5 deal, so it's a little bit like comparing apples to pepperoni, but the "wood-fired" promise might be the competitive difference that helps them steal a significant portion of the pizza party business.
Hardees and Carl's Jr. are the Super Bowl commercial fast food winners so far, sending a buzz throughout the fast food industry by introducing the first non-fried fish sandwich to ever be delivered through a drive-thru window. Oh yeah... there's the Nina Agdal part of that commercial that might be part of the reason for the buzz too. So far Hardees and Carls Jr. haven't advertised a companion try-it-buy-it deal for the fish sandwich, which will be an odd marketing choice if one doesn't appear by Sunday when their multi-million dollar kickoff commercial airs sometime during the Super Bowl game.
Fast food chain Taco Bell (YUM) has a Taco Variety Pack which includes 6 Crunchy Tacos and 6 Doritos Locos Tacos in a nifty cardboard container (which may or may not be football-themed) that you can pick up at the drive thru and take with you to the Super Bowl party of your choice. This is only a quasi Super Bowl deal because the Super Bowl commercial that was attached to the Taco Variety Pack offering was pulled after it released online because it was deemed to be offensive to vegetarians.
Personally I'm not buying that Taco Bell unwittingly produced a commercial to run in a Super Bowl slot that cost them $125,000 per second that was so offensive that it had to be pulled prior to the kickoff. Either they produced it for the purpose of being controversial, or they pulled it to be newsworthy.
The main reason why I think the anti-veggie commercial is part of a PR hoax is because I don't really believe that Taco Bell cares about what vegetarians think. If it does care about vegetarians, its menu doesn't reflect the sentiment. It's not exactly the mecca of healthy dining options. In any case, the advertising drama bought Taco Bell extra buzz and news headlines, which is probably just as valuable as the pricey Super Bowl commercial itself.
In general, the Super Bowl XLVII restaurant game may be won by independent non-chain local restaurants which are offering an abundance of super creative, super cheap, and super indulgent Super Bowl Sunday food and drink deals and discounts. If the independent restaurant owners end Super Bowl Sunday feeling like they scored a victory against the largest U.S. restaurant players, that would be just super. The best Super Bowl Sundays always include a good underdog victory story.
More About Super Bowl XLVII on February 3, 2013:
- Take the Super Bowl Super Commercial Super Trivia Quiz
- 2013 Super Bowl Commercial Pre-game Winners
- Super Bowl Retail Spending Predictions and Scores