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How to craft a winning restaurant delivery strategy for game day

Football season officially kicked off in September, drawing millions of fans together to celebrateAmerica’s most-watched sport. Of the $14.6 billion spent on football’s biggest night last February, 79% went toward food and drinks. That means there’s a huge opportunity for restaurants to get a piece of the pie, and with game day restaurant delivery, your menu has an even higher chance of scoring big.

Whether fans are cozying up on their couches or bundling up on the bleachers for Friday night lights, football and food go hand in hand. In fact, football’s biggest night was one of Grubhub’s most popular days for delivery last year. That’s why it’s important to make sure you follow the right steps to guarantee hungry fans choose your restaurant to get their game day grub.

How to craft a winning game day delivery strategy for your restaurant

Like with every good team, preparation is key to making sure your restaurant is victorious on game day. Here are five tips on how you can gear up for game day this fall:

1. Cook up a mouthwatering game day menu

Creating a unique game day menu can turn your restaurant into the go-to spot for football food. Game day menus feature  limited-time  items to satisfy your diners’ cravings. Consider sidelining dishes that don’t appeal to fans and featuring items that get the crowd drooling.

Here are some of the top dishes fans look to order during football games:

  • Wings. Wings are a game day staple. In fact, the National Chicken Council’s annual wing Report estimated that 1.42 billion wings would be devoured on football’s biggest night.
  • Pizza. Pizza is a go-to for any celebration, and makes a great sharable centerpiece for any watch party. The demand for pizza is sizzling as it was Grubhub’s second most popular dinner item in 2021.
  • Tacos. Tacos allow for major customization that can combine a wide variety of flavors. Go the extra yard by creating build-your-own taco kits to make sharing a breeze.
  • Burgers. Fire up the grill for the third-most ordered dinner item on Grubhub in 2021. Localize burger flavors and toppings to celebrate your favorite team. 
  • French Fries. This classic side is a popular football munch. Pile on the sauces to make your fries offerings more unique.

Don’t have any of these game day classics on your menu? Highlighting local dishes could be an avenue into fans’ hearts and homes. Eagles fans go berserk for Philly Cheesesteaks and Packers fans can’t get enough Cheese Curds. See if your city or home team is known for specific dishes or flavors and feature those items on your menu.

You can also take creative twists on game day classics. Do you run a vegan restaurant? Make veggie burger sliders or cauliflower wings. Re-name some of your popular menu items after favorite local players to catch fans’ eyes. Staying true to your brand while incorporating game day favorites can make your restaurant MVP.

For many energetic fans, game day isn’t complete without drinks flowing. Beer is the #1 consumed drink on football Sundays, making it a necessity for your game day menu. When you partner with Grubhub you can add alcohol delivery to your menu so fans can get their favorite brews from the comfort of their homes. See if alcohol delivery is available in your market and learn how you can increase the average order value of your delivery and takeout orders with alcohol delivery.

2. Ensure your staff knows the playbook

If you were to walk into your local pub restaurant on a Sunday afternoon in the spring, odds are it’s pretty quiet. But if you were to walk into the same restaurant in October, the stools might be overflowing with passionate fans excited to gather and support their favorite team. Football season can draw crowds to your restaurant at times that are usually quieter. Preparing for game day rushes will make sure your restaurant is ready to serve the flow of hungry customers.

Keeping up with the game time rush is a team effort. Brief your front-of-house staff on your game day offerings. Confirm that your waitstaff knows the specials, and that your hosts understand where fans should be seated. Your kitchen staff should be prepared for an influx of orders. This may mean increasing your inventory, especially for ingredients that are in your popular game day menu dishes.

When it comes to drawing fans into your restaurant, atmosphere can make all the difference. To make your restaurant the go-to spot to watch the game, consider decking out your space in your team’s colors. You can even upgrade your staff’s uniforms by giving them gameday inspired shirts so that customers start associating your brand with football.

3. Double down on delivery

Wings are a football viewing classic, but preparing the delicious game day dish is easier said than done. As the countdown to kick off runs down, hungry fans may turn to your restaurant to get their game day cravings (or fix their cooking disasters).

Demand for delivery is high on game days. For those who like to support their team from the comfort of their couches, delivery is essential to completing their experience. Loyal fans won’t want to miss any of the game driving to and from your restaurant. This means that your restaurant could see higher in-person pick up orders before kickoff and a delivery rush once the game has begun. Preparing your staff for high delivery demand can help you stay ahead of the rush. 

Look at local game schedules so you know what time it’s going to be busy. While Fridays are typically reserved for high school games, Saturday for college football, and Sunday for professional kickoffs, Thursdays and Mondays can also bring crowds looking to watch professional football. Consider adjusting your hours to account to align with your local schedule to catch the football food rush.

Adding a third-party delivery service like Grubhub can help you tackle the crowd. When you partner with Grubhub you can get your menu in front of more local diners on Grubhub Marketplace. Sign up for Grubhub Delivery to get access to a fleet of delivery drivers so all you need to worry about is getting your dishes out the kitchen.

4. Pile on the promotions

The promotional playing field is large, and it takes more than a Hail Mary to grab fans’ attention. Something all football fans have in common is the love for a good deal. Adding creative and targeted promotions can help your restaurant gain extra yardage on game day.

Game day packages

Game day packages mix and match different dishes so customers can get a bundle of menu items for a fixed price. Packages can make tailgating and house parties easier by pre-determining the menu so all a host has to do is pick up a package to feed a group of hungry fans.

Offer game day themed food packages that will make your customers feel like they scored. You can create a package of things like popular finger foods including sliders, chips and dip, veggies, and fries. Or create a locally themed package with all your community’s favorites. Packages make ordering delivery straightforward for your customers.

Home team discounts

Build connections with your local fan community by offering home team discounts. Promoting discounts that appeal directly to fans like giving a percentage off for anyone wearing team merch will get diners riled up.

Heighten the stakes with deals that depend on the outcome of your home team’s game. You can offer 20% off your menu on Mondays when your team wins. Or get creative and offer a discount based on the score. Bears win by 14? Customers can take 14% off Chicago Dogs on Monday. Offering limited-time promotions motivates fans to place an order before the clock runs down.

You can also offer traditional promotions with Grubhub Marketing. You can list BOGO deals for popular items, give discounts on cart minimums, or create an email marketing campaign to reach your customers directly.


Bring on the spirit of competition on game day with giveaways. You can run interactive photo contests on your social media accounts prior to the game to incentivise fans to order from your restaurant. Run football themed trivia so your diners can show off their knowledge. Creating contests that give diners the chance to win a prize will keep them engaged with your restaurant.

Prizes can include things like free drinks, menu discounts, merch, or even gift cards to your restaurant to encourage fans to visit your place again. Be sure to check your local rules and regulations before you run a giveaway.

Loyalty incentives

The great thing about football season is that it runs all fall, and you want to make sure your restaurant becomes a go-to part in a fan’s game day routine. The best way to build loyalty is to incentivize ordering. Give out coupon books or cumulative points that fans can redeem each weekend throughout the season to encourage customers to order from your restaurant every game day.

When you sign up for Grubhub you get instant access to Smart Promotions to help build customer loyalty. With a well-build restaurant loyalty program, diners can redeem rewards and you can collect data to learn how to best serve your customers. That way you and your customers can both score big.

5. Spread the word

The final play in your game plan is getting the word out. 90% of customers research a restaurant online before visiting. That means having a stellar online presence can be the difference between a hungry fan choosing your restaurant over your rival.

Fans won’t be able to scout out your restaurant if you don’t have a website. Make sure your website includes all the key elements including hours of operation, your menu, game day viewings, and your address. With Grubhub Direct you can create your own branded online ordering website without paying commission.

Update your social media accounts to reflect your game day offerings. Customers are more likely to visit or order from your restaurant if they see your irresistible dishes pop up in their feed. Use game day hashtags to attract football foodies to your account. You can also use your social media accounts to advertise what games you’re showing at your restaurant so people know your place is the go-to spot to support their team.

Feed hungry fans with Grubhub Delivery

Creating a game day playbook can help guarantee your restaurant will clinch football food orders. When you partner with a third-party delivery app like Grubhub, your restaurant will instantly reach more hungry fans. Whether your restaurant is located in a championship city, or in the hometown of a local fan rivalry, catering to football fans is a sure way to drive up orders. Sign up for Grubhub today to reach more customers on game day this fall.

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