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Pizza is king on Super Sunday
Big game is big business for delivery
Food Super Bowl Pizza Heal WEB
This Thursday, Jan. 27, 2011, photo shows Tony Gemignani as he removes a pizza margherita from an oven at Tony's Pizza Napoletana in San Francisco. Super Bowl Sunday is coming and pie-makers across the country are bracing for a pizza reaction. - photo by Associated Press

‘Super Sunday' is just a couple of days away; so too is super business for pizza establishments catering to hungry football fans watching the Super Bowl.

As the Steelers and Packers prepare for the biggest game of the football season, pizza restaurants and food providers throughout Statesboro ready themselves for one of their busiest days of the year.

"There is not a day bigger than the day of the Super Bowl," said Montine Crowe, manager at Papa John's Pizza next to Harvey's on Fair Road. "We probably do between 35 and 80 percent more business," she said.

"It's definitely one of our busiest days of the year," said Eric Forgea, general manager at Domino's Pizza behind Zaxby's on Fair Road.

The only days that compare, he said, are Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving and the last day of school. "We see about a 30 to 40 percent increase in sales."

Pizza has taken off as a Super Bowl favorite, according to food experts, for three reasons: it's cheap, it's easy and it's social.

In lieu of sports bars or other dine-in facilities, numbers show most Americans prefer watching the Super Bowl at home and having food delivered to them - most notably, pizza and wings.

All major pizza chains are expecting dramatic sales increases Sunday, and some have projected record tallies.
Texas-based Pizza Hut, the nation's largest pizza chain, expects to sell a record 2 million pies - nearly 20 percent more than last year's 1.7 million pizza estimate.
Domino's and Papa John's expect the number of pizzas sold to surpass 1 million.

The rash of orders means local eateries have to prepare themselves if they plan to satisfy the thousands of people gathering to watch the big game.

"We have to stock more product and bring in additional staff," said Forgea. Even with the added effort, "delivery time will probably be between 30 and 40 minutes on Super Bowl Sunday."

"It just depends on when people call in," said Crowe. "If everyone calls in at one time, delivery may take up to an hour and a half."

Many restaurants are taking orders well before the busy day arrives. According to Crowe, Papa John's Pizza has already accepted multiple orders for Sunday. Both Domino's and Pizza Hut have allowed Super Bowl orders since January.

The Super Bowl feasts are also expected to affect restaurants not delivering pizza Sunday.

Travis Camp, manager at Loco's Grill and Pub, says the big game translates to big delivery numbers for Loco's.

"Seeing as how we don't have Sunday sales of alcohol, the Super Bowl is a pretty normal Sunday for us at the restaurant," he said. "But we have a whole lot more deliveries. It's a much busier night. Most people like to order wings for the football game."

Camp said Loco's "shoots for 30 to 45 minutes on deliveries, but could take up to an hour if many orders are placed."

Ellis Farm Fresh Meats, which will be closed the day of the big game, traditionally experiences a 20-percent increase in sales the day prior to the Super Bowl, says Kenny Ellis, co-owner of the meat market.

"People buy chicken wings, kabobs, tenders and other finger foods," he said. "A lot of people will have low country boils as well."

According to Ellis, the market is offering sales on popular meats in anticipation of the game.

The boost in business for pizza restaurants is not reserved for just the four to six hours the game is on television.

According to Forgea, orders are steady. "We will stay busy all day," he said.

Jeff Harrison can be reached at 912-489-9454.


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