Kingsport Times News Monday, August 31, 2015
Business & Technology

Local grocery stores, pizza chains prep for Super Bowl rush

February 1st, 2007 11:06 pm by KEVIN CASTLE

Stephanie Foster prepares a healthy food tray this week at the Food City on Eastman Road. David Grace photo.


They'll come in droves to stock up for Super Bowl parties, and local stores and restaurants are waiting for them.

"If (the companies) could buy up any more space in the store to catch someone's eye about their product and the Super Bowl, we would have sold it by now," Food City Assistant Manager Danny Gordon said this week.

Millions are spent by corporations like Kraft, Lays and Budweiser, not only during the actual telecast - beginning at 6 p.m. on CBS - but also inside your local supermarket or convenience store, enticing you to take home their beverage, snack or food for Super Bowl Sunday.

Gordon, who co-manages the Food City on Eastman Road in Kingsport, didn't bat an eye when asked what item is the number one seller among party planners or goers.

"It's beer," he said with a laugh.

Approximately 69.3 percent of all those with a hand in direct buying for parties on Sunday will buy beer and other alcoholic beverages, according to a poll conducted by BIGresearch, a consumer market intelligence firm.

Gordon said the game plan for meeting the demand of party shoppers is put in motion about two weeks before kickoff.

"We always make sure we have good volumes of snack food items, like potato chips and things like that, because we know those will sell big," said Gordon.

"From what we've seen, it really varies as to when people start coming in to get their supplies for the party. Some start as early as two days before, and some come in the day of. Around noon on the day of the game, things really get busy around here.

"Our deli department stays pretty busy filling orders for meat trays, veggie trays, chicken and other items, but our meat department is also on the go, because you have those steak eaters and smoked sausage eaters who like to grill out on the day of the Super Bowl."

For people who want the party food brought to them, the pizza delivery driver can be your best friend on Sunday.

In the 10 years that District Manager Sue Keys has been with Papa John's, she says Super Bowl Sunday is their second-largest delivery and pizza production day of the year - second only to New Year's Eve.

"Fortunately for us, Sunday is one of our stock-up days for ingredients, because everything we use is fresh," said Keys.

"Staffing is always important, so we always make sure that everybody who can work - including in the kitchen and on the roads delivering - can work. But we always make sure we have things like more boxes, more supplies and things like that for the Super Bowl. That day is like no other."

Hot wings and breadsticks sell the best on those days, Keys said, but pizza is as traditional for the Super Bowl as turkey on Thanksgiving.

"Our advertising avenues increase the week before the game to let people know what we're going to have as our specials," said Keys.

"We also update our recording while people are on the phone on hold to let them know what the specials are. I couldn't even begin to estimate how many miles our delivery drivers put in, but they are on the go nonstop that day.

"People come to us to make their party a success, and we try to make it the best we can, but it is a demand on us, and we try to be ready a few days out."

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